Directed by: Ron Clements, Don Hall
Cast (voices): Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House
When I saw the trailer of this latest animated flick by Disney, my first impression about it was to be just another candy floss Disney animation with the age old theme of an underdog overcoming all odds and becoming a hero (or heroine in this case!)
After watching the movie, I had no doubts that this might become for the kids of today what “Snow White & Seven Dwarfs” and “Cinderella” have always been for their parents.
If the buzz has not hit you yet, all you need to know before watching the movie is what IMDB has to say about it…
In Ancient Polynesia, when a terrible curse incurred by Maui reaches an impetuous Chieftain’s daughter’s island, she answers the Ocean’s call to seek out the demigod to set things right.
What works for the movie
Casting: The voice artists behind the characters bring life to them. Casting “Dwayne Johnson (The Rock)” for the voice of “Maui” is an absolute masterstroke; one look at the character and you believe that no other voice could’ve come out of its mouth.
It must’ve been a huge gamble to cast a debutante as the voice of the title character. But “Auli’i Cravalho” proves to be the perfect choice to voice “Moana”. Being an island girl herself, Auli gives exactly the right texture to Moana’s voice.
Story: The “Underdog factor” hits the bull’s eye in this story. The flashbacks and the character development work wonders to make a strong case for the heroic voyage and when it gets underway, the adventure takes your breath away.
Screenplay: The screenplay fully complements and enhances the story. It engages its audience to a level where every twist in the adventure simultaneously creates anticipation and satisfaction.
Visual Effects: The engaging narrative is fortified with spectacular special effects. The ocean, the forest, the fire-breathing monster and the ultimate destination of the journey are all awe-inspiring.
Soundtrack: A classic Disney adventure can never be complete without exceptional soundtrack and this one is not an exception. Each and every song fits the narrative like a gem.
What doesn’t work for the movie
Déjà vu: Though the setting of the movie is entirely new, yet at times the characters and situations give a feeling of being inspired by previous Disney classics with similar themes.
Fear of a Sequel: This was a complete fantasy tale and the moment the end credits start rolling, you start fearing that a sequel (if made) might spoil all the fun. This fear is empirically supported with the fact that all the old-time animated classics have acquired the status because their sequels were never attempted and the sanctity of the original was never brought at stake. One can only wish that Disney is able to avoid the commercial temptation to make a sequel to this “deserves-to-be-classic” tale.
This one is far above most of the recent animated extravaganzas; as this doesn’t only please your eyes, but also touches your heart.
I would urge you to take your kids along to watch this on 3D. Chances are that you would end up liking it more than your kids. Or you can go alone; the kid within yourself will not only wake up but will also fall in love with this beautiful piece of animated cinema.