This is a fabulous Polynesian adventure with a truly remarkable, brave and memorable heroine at its centre.

Just one of many films that I have been meaning to watch is this colourful and inspiring story of one teenage girl’s fight to save the island where she lives from destruction – with the help of demigod Maui and a helpless chicken Heihei – her name is Moana.

Given the fact that Disney have been focusing so much on recreating their beloved classic films to live action ones, it is always refreshing and exciting when they release something completely new. This film is filled with all the qualities that remind us exactly why the Disney brand is so good at storytelling.

At the centre of this story, Moana covers themes such as family, tradition and courage as seen through the eyes of a girl who loves the ocean but is also prepared to do whatever it takes to save her home – despite her father’s disapproval. It is a bold and confident film, filled with plenty of magic to transport the audience so fully into the story.

Elements such as the way in which Maui’s tattoo’s move and tell individual stories in the their own way, the way in which the whole film feels like a celebration of nature is really refreshing. But it is also the imaginative characters that the audience meets along the way that add an extra bit of fun including the fearsome Kakamora pirates, while the ocean itself becomes a character in itself helping to guide Moana along the way.

The film also features some of the best songs in recent years to feature in a Disney film. Written by  Lin-Manuel Miranda, composer Mark Mancina and singer-songwriter Opetaia Foa’i, each song featured has so much personality and joy that it is a soundtrack difficult not to warm to. In particular ‘How Far I’ll Go’, ‘Shiny’ and ‘Tulou Tagaloa’ are real stand out song and immensely enjoyable to listen to.

Directors Ron Clements and John Musker bring the story to life with great flair and joy, yet ensuring there is still plenty of heartwarming and self-discovery moments that really make a Disney film stand out.

It is a playful and enjoyable adventure with a strong central character who is easy to root for from start to finish. Now Disney if we could have more original ideas like this that would be fabulous.

By Emma Clarendon

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


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