Director(s): Ron Clements, Don Hall
Cast: Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House (VOICES)
Release Date: March 7, 2017
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 9.5/10
From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes Moana, an epic adventure about a spirited teen who sets sail on a daring mission to save her people. Along the way, Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) meets the once mighty demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson), and together they cross the ocean on a fun-filled, action-packed voyage. Bring home the movie full of heart, humor and oceans of bonus extras!
Gather the whole family for the latest animated masterpiece from Walt Disney Animation Studios, the team behind such modern masterpieces as ‘Frozen’, ‘Wreck It Ralph’ and ‘Zootopia’; ‘Moana’ tells the tale of a young girl; her destiny to stay within the village she’s known her entire life and eventually guide the people along, yet she can’t help but feel her true path lies elsewhere, out on the open sea. After a painful tragedy, she departs home against the wishes of her family and embarks on a quest to rescue the legendary Maui and lead him to replace a gem that he took ages ago which once returned should help to replenish a dying world. Aided by the ocean itself, Moana and Maui set out on a quest filled with adventure, peril and new original music for the entire family.
‘Moana’ is another memorable animated tale from Walt Disney Animation Studios, the team that brought us ‘Zootopia’ among others. Offering a heartfelt, adventurous and powerful tale that introduces viewers to a beautiful new world that is gorgeously animated down to every miniscule detail and brimming with some lovable, strong and memorable new characters that couldn’t have been done better. Passionately guided along its wondrous course by talented directors Ron Clements and John Musker who brought us one of my favorite Disney films of all time, the spectacular ‘Aladdin’, in addition to other classics such as ‘The Little Mermaid’, ‘The Great Mouse Detective’ and more, and ‘Moana’ is only further complimented by the more than adequately selected voice performances from Dwayne Johnson, newcomer Auli’i Cravalho, and many more, it beautifully creates a past era with truly magnificent scenery that is accomplished with breathtaking beauty and never disappoints.
‘Moana’ is yet another fantastic Disney animated feature that family households (and any home with Disney fans residing) will likely want to make certain to purchase a copy of in order to have the ability to revisit all of the adventure, laughter, new original songs and so much more at any time you might desire. The fellow 3D enthusiasts out there interested in the film will want to make sure to pick up a copy of ‘Ultimate Collector’s Edition’ release which includes the Blu-ray 3D edition of the film. The 3D presentation offers a beautiful and detailed 3D presentation with plenty of depth and intricate detail, offering a gorgeous 3D experience that perfectly complements the animated style yet wisely never makes a point of sacrificing the story merely to push unnecessary 3D elements out of the screen. The Blu-ray release of ‘Moana’ should be a true thrill to the fans of the movie with its nearly flawless high definition video and audio presentations, along with hours of notable extras that feature something for everyone and includes a new ‘Maui Mini-Movie’, ‘Deleted Scenes’, a ‘Deleted Song’ and a great deal more (more detailed information regarding the bonus content can be found in the special features section of the technical specification coverage below). Any diehard Disney fan should feel safe dropping the cash on a blind purchase of the release if their primary concern is quality and supplements which it unquestionably delivers.
Overall, ‘Moana’ is a fantastic animated film that is not to be missed. It provides everything that Disney fans will want from unique and lovable characters, breathtaking animation and even a number of new original songs that kids young and old will likely find themselves singing for the foreseeable future. Fans of the film will want to strongly consider picking up a copy of the Blu-ray release which sports outstanding high definition video and audio presentations, along with hours of fun extras, and the fellow 3D lovers will want to make certain to pick up a copy of the ‘Ultimate Collector’s Edition’ release which includes the gorgeous Blu-ray 3D edition of the film. ‘Moana’ definitely comes highly recommended for all of the Disney fans out there, it’s another wonderful addition from Walt Disney Animation Studios and anyone who hasn’t yet had the pleasure of this magnificent film will definitely want to make a point of checking it out. It should undoubtedly be worth the cost of a rental for anyone that might be hesitant to drop the funds on a blind purchase.
The Blu-ray 3D release of ‘Moana’ features a full 1080p High Definition MVC encoded 3D presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The 3D presentation looks wonderful as a whole and offers a clean, sharp, beautifully detailed and suitably immersive 3D experience from start to finish. As opposed to intentionally pushing a plethora of unnecessary elements out of the screen, ‘Moana’ instead opts for subtly embracing the format and allows it to benefit each animated sequence with the boat and ocean appearing to stretch out from the bottom of the screen, in addition to contributing plenty of depth when needed, and never suffering any noticeable faults at any point. Overall, this is a beautiful 3D presentation that never disappoints and looks spectacular around every turn.
The 2D Blu-ray release which is also included in the 3D Blu-ray combo pack features an AVC encoded full high definition video presentation also representing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. As there was a slight delay in my review copy and it didn’t arrive until the evening of street date, I was unfortunately unable to explore the standard high definition presentation too thoroughly, yet from the few scenes I skipped throughout it looks equally fantastic to the 3D presentation in its own right and should have no trouble pleasing the fans who aren’t 3D capable or simply prefer 2D.
The Blu-ray release (both the 3D & 2D disc) features a lossless 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio Soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack sounds fantastic and offers a crisp, clean and notably active audio presentation throughout. It frequently utilizes all seven available channels in order to immerse the viewer within the music, in addition to sending waves crashing, rocks cracking, and plenty more whipping throughout the various speakers when fitting, and never resulting in any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a spectacular 7.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that contributes even more fun to the overall viewing experience.
The Blu-ray 3D release of ‘Moana’ includes hours of enjoyable and informative extras, all of which can be found on the 2D disc with the exception of the ‘Theatrical Short Film: Inner Workings’ (running approximately 6 minutes in length) which is included on both discs and also presented in 3D on the Blu-ray 3D disc. Also included on the release is a new ‘Maui Mini-Movie: Gone Fishing’ (running approximately 2 minutes), in addition to an ‘Audio Commentary with Directors John Musker and Ron Clements’, plus a ‘Deleted Song: “Warrior Face” with an Introduction (approximately 4 minutes combined), and a collection of ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the movie, each also with introductions (approximately 26 minutes altogether). We are also treated to a number of behind the scenes Featurettes and other fun Videos, which feature interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus a whole lot more; the included Featurettes and Videos are: ‘Voice of the Islands’ (approximately 31 minutes), ‘Island Fashion’ (5 minutes), ‘They Know the Way: Making the Music of Moana’ (13 minutes), ‘Fishing for Easter Eggs’ (3 minutes), ‘“How Far I’ll Go” Around the World’ (3 minutes) plus ‘Things You Didn’t Know About…’ (4 minutes in total), and ‘The Elements of…’ (approximately 14 minutes altogether). A Music Video for ‘“How Far I’ll Go” performed by Alessia Cara’ (3 minutes) is also included.