This is a film I have been excited for since the word go, because as brilliant as they’ve been; Disney has had a high surge of remakes and sequels in recent times, and not only that – there hasn’t been a female led “Princess” film since Frozen in 2013. (Except, she’s very much the “modern-day” princess…) Therefore I was overjoyed when I realised Cineworld were doing an Unlimited Screening. Here’s what I thought…

First of all, I want to start by saying it begins with a short film called “Inner Workings”. To give you a visual, the character looks a little bit like Carl from Up, and the theme of the story isn’t a far cry from Pixar’s Inside Out. However this short shows the battle of what it’s like in deciding whether to follow your head or your heart, and it’s a really quirky, fun and comical short with an underlying seriousness. Here’s a teaser trailer: 

As for the film itself, Moana is a story somewhat difficult to explain to others without giving too much away. Though in simple form, Maui (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) is a Demigod, who in Ancient Polynesia times accidentally lays a terrible curse across the sea and it’s islands; and young voyaging enthusiast Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) is chosen by the Ocean to seek out Maui and set things right.

I personally found the story and characters to have several elements similar to existing Disney films; for example the character of Moana reminded me of a cross between Lilo (Lilo & Stitch), Merida (Brave), Pocahontas and Mulan due to her character traits of being brave, strong, independent and determined; however I think that is the general makings of a modern-day Disney female heroine. Meanwhile, elements of the story took me back to the underrated classics of Brother Bear and Hercules.

Despite that, it still felt fresh and new. I found the characters really easy to fall in love with (I mean if you don’t leave the cinema wanting a Pua and Hei Hei or wishing you were as cute as baby Moana, then we have issues) and the story is gripping filled with immersive drama/action, plenty of laughs and it will take you through many emotions. It should also be noted that Auli’i Cravalho is making her acting debut at just 16, and even though it may only be voice work her talent shines through, and I love that she is of the same origin of her character too. It’s a really talented voice cast.

In addition, in the way Disney always do, they’ve created another stunning animation world; and as this is also showing in 3D I reckon it would work well as there’s lots of movement and action and I imagine the well-sculpted seas look even prettier.

As for the music, I am hooked. I cheated a little as I couldn’t resist downloading the album during the week but I think Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mark Mancina and Opetaia Foa’i have created a masterpiece here. If you’re familiar with Lin’s style (Come on now, you’ve heard of Hamilton right?) then you’ll already know how fresh his sound is; therefore that mixed with traditional sounds you’d find in that corner of the world and elements of the music that are almost epic like something from the Lion King – it really is a truly original score. I can’t say anything more than simply go and listen to this wonderful music!

Overall, even with my high anticipation, it didn’t disappoint as I thoroughly enjoyed this film throughout. I loved how there was a nice balance of traditional Disney elements, yet still feeling new and original. It’s a heartwarming film, that will remind you to never give up. It’s one that the whole family can enjoy, as there are elements in it for everyone. Go and see it! ★★★★

Out now in the US / Out on 2nd December in the UK. For now, here’s the trailer: 

Now, who’s joining me on my next my visit?! Don’t forget to let me know what you thought if you’ve seen it already, or if you’re planning to see it!