When the first full-length trailer for Moana was released in June, the hearts of Disney fans everywhere were captured in a minute and 30 seconds. I even called it the new Frozen. But after watching the movie today, I can now confirm that the end of the "Let It Go" days are near and that this will be the movie your kid will want to watch again and again.
I know you're probably shaking your head right now. But seriously—Moana will defrost your kid from the icy year that is 2013. Here's why:
1. It's full of adventure. Moana (voiced by Hawaiian actress Auli‘i Cravalho), the first Polynesian princess—well, actually, she's the island chief's daughter—is a free spirit who longs to explore what's beyond Motunui, the island where she has spent her whole life. With some encouragement from her grandma, she embarks on a journey that will not only set her on the path of self-discovery, but that will save her island. Part of this journey involves finding Maui, a demigod played by Dwayne Johnson. Together they sail the uncharted waters of the South Pacific islands of Oceania.
2. The characters are lovable (and hilarious) Maui has got to be one of Johnson's best characters to date. He shape-shifts into animals like a bird, shark and lizard, and finds himself in some hilarious situations. He's also decked out in tattoos that represent different stages and encounters in his life—including mini-Maui, a tiny tattoo of himself that moves around his chest and back and acts as his conscience. Kids will also love Hei Hei, a kinda' dumb chicken that becomes Moana's unexpected sidekick. I mean, come on, look at him:
There are also these tiny-but-mighty pirate coconuts that travel in packs as though they're straight out of a Mad Max film. TOO CUTE TO BE EVIL.
3. The music! The music is seriously catchy. Composer Lin-Manuel Miranda, who has won a Tony, Grammy and a Pulitzer Prize for the hit Broadway show Hamilton, co-wrote the score with Opetaia Foaʻi of New Zealand Pacific-fusion band Te Vaka, and Tarzan co-composer Mark Mancina. So step aside "Let It Go," because Moana's song "How Far I'll Go" is seriously amazing. It's also performed in the end credits by Canada's very own Alessia Cara!
4. The movie has more than one useful lesson. Moana is a fiercely independent character from the moment she's a tiny tot to when she's sailing in the ocean with Maui. Even in the darkest times, she never gives up and always takes matters into her own hands. There's a lot to be learned about self-acceptance and self-discovery, too.
5. The setting. The animation is seriously beautiful. From the glistening ocean to the vibrant colours of the flowers, the characters' clothes and even Moana's hair—the details are incredible. You also get to learn a little bit about ancient Polynesian traditions, like the role of community, storytelling, dancing and tattoos, which is pretty cool.
Moana hits theatres Nov. 23, so save the date!
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