Blu-ray/DVD, Reviews

Disney’s “Moana” Even More Fun on Blu-ray

 

Adding another princess to their family, the movie Disney’s Moana comes to home video and it’s perfect for kids and family. The animated full feature takes place in the Pacific Islands with Fiji in mind. The heroine is a young girl who wants to save her people from becoming extinct due to lack of food. The comical musical adventure shows how courage, friendship and uniting with others can help you achieve your goal.

The teenage princes Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) on the island of Motunui has watched as fishermen have brought back empty baskets of seafood and harvesters find the coconuts rotting. She suggests that they go beyond the reef to catch fish, but her father tells her of bad weather and currents that are too dangerous. Her grandmother Tale (Rachel House) tells her the story of the once mighty Maui (Dwayne Johnson) who stole the heart of Te Fiti and holds the hook that can help her return the heart to its rightful place and end the problems of Motunui. Faced with the task of helping her people, Moana sets out on her own to cross the barrier reef in search of Maui.

Moana sails with Maui in Disney’s MOANA

The adventure shows the strong will of Moana as she presses forward on dangerous voyage. Directors Ron Clements and John Musker do an excellent job of bringing Moana, her villagers, her pet pig and chicken to the screen. The fun film gets an extra touch of darkness to it. It adds the urgency to save the Pacific island of Motunui and giving the film a feeling of adventure only offset by a good measure of comedy.

Adding song to the movie puts the Disney stamp on the heart of those films specifically designed for an enjoyable time at the theater. The songs involve the writing and composing of Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mark Mancina and Opetaia Foa‘I lead singer of Te Vaka. Songs include “We Know the Way” Written and performed by Foa‘i and Miranda, “How Far I’ll Go” performed by Auli‘i Cravalho, “Where You Are” performed by Christopher Jackson, Rachel House, Nicole Scherzinger, Auli‘i Cravalho and Louise Bush, “You’re Welcome” performed by Dwayne Johnson. “Shiny” performed by Jemaine Clement,“I Am Moana” performed by Rachel House and Auli‘i Cravalho and “Know Who You Are” performed by Auli‘i Cravalho, Vai Mahina, Olivia Foa‘i, Foa‘i and Matthew Ineleo.

Gramma Tala tells Moana about the sea in Disney’s MOANA

The voice acting is perfect for the characters and both Auli‘i Cravalho and Dwayne Johnson are to be commended for breathing life into the animation. Cravalho gives us a brave, insightful and courageous Princess Moana who’s determined to complete her quest. She’s strong minded listening to her Gramma Tala rather than her father who has his head imbedded in the past. When she faces danger she questions her ability to cope, but moves on with the thoughts of helping her people survive the problems they are having. Cravalho’s singing voice certainly gives the character a boost as well.

The complete opposite Maui, voiced by Dwayne Johnson, has been existing on an island far from his roots. He’s been admonished by Te Ka the fire God and the many tattoos on him tell the tale. His tattoos also predict the future and guide him to help Moana in her quest. His, singing voice isn’t too bad also and he belts out a resounding song that brings some comedy to the production.

BONUS FEATURES: The special extras are many and all family friendly. They even include interesting facts for the parents and older children as well.

Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray & Digital 3D/HD/SD:

Theatrical Short Film: “Inner Workings” – With introduction by the filmmakers, is the story of the internal struggle between a man’s pragmatic, logical side and his free-spirited, adventurous half. Created by a small team at Walt Disney Animation Studios in a unique, fast-paced style that blends CG and traditional hand-drawn animation, the short explores the importance of finding balance in daily life.
Maui Mini-Movie: “Gone Fishing” – When Maui decides it’s time to take charge of the ocean and catch his next meal, Moana must show him the error of his ways … with a little help from her friends!

“Voice of the Islands” – An in-depth look at how Pacific Island people and cultures inspired the filmmakers to create the story of “Moana.”

“Things You Didn’t Know About” …
Meet the stars of “Moana” in this dynamic Q&A featuring Dwayne Johnson, newcomer Auli‘i Cravalho, and famed animation directors Ron and John.
Meet the musical team behind “Moana” in this fascinating Q&A featuring Opetaia Foa‘i, Mark Mancina and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

“Island Fashion” – Find out how costume designer Neysa Bové took on the unique challenge of creating costumes using materials and techniques native to the islands of Oceania.

“They Know the Way: Making the Music of “Moana” – Musicians Opetaia Foa‘I, Marc Mancina and Lin-Manuel Miranda take us on a personal journey through their involvement in the movie and how it changed their lives.

“Fishing for Easter Eggs” – Dive deep into the ocean and fish for the Easter Eggs hidden by the animators at Walt Disney Animation Studios.

“The Elements of …” – This series of four mini-docs explores the technical achievements behind some of the ground-breaking effects used in the film.

“Mini Maui” – Meet “Mini Maui,” Maui’s tattoo sidekick. Animated by legendary hand-drawn animator Eric Goldberg, we explore how the 2D world collides with CG animation to bring the demigod’s tattoos to life.

“Water” – In the movie, the ocean is a character. This piece explores how the water is given a personality, along with the technical feats of creating a believable ocean landscape farther than the eye can see.

“Lava” – Te K? is a creature made of lava, smoke and fire. This piece dives into the challenges of making an animated creature of massive scale brought to fiery life by character, technical and effects animators.

“Hair” – One of the greatest technical achievements of the film was the animation of the beautiful, curly hair on Moana and Maui. Take a look at the hair-raising detail that goes into animating each strand, adding performance to the movie that has never been seen before.

“Deleted Song: “Warrior Face” – With introduction by songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda.

“Deleted Scenes” – Ron and John introduce the following deleted scenes: Race the Wind/Ties that Bind; Discussing Moana’s Future; Under the Sea; Grandmother’s Warning/Legend of Maui; Education of Moana; Father, Daughter, Boat; and Canoe Race.
Music Video: “How Far I’ll Go” – Performed by Alessia Cara.

“How Far I’ll Go Around the World” – Multi-language reel of the song “How Far I’ll Go.”

Audio Commentary – With directors Ron Clements and John Musker.

DVD:
“Theatrical Short Film: “Inner Workings,”
Music Video: “How Far I’ll Go”
Audio Commentary – With directors Ron Clements and John Musker.

Moana has been rated PG by the MPAA for peril, some scary images and brief thematic elements.

FINAL ANALYSIS: One of the top three animated films this year for families. (5 stars)

Specifications and additional video information:
Cast: Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson
Directed by: Ron Clements, John Musker
Genre: Family, Animated, Adventure, Comedy, Music
MPAA Rating: PG for peril, some scary images and brief thematic elements 
Running Time: 1 hr. 43 min.
Video Release Date: March 7. 2017
Original Theatrical Release Date: November 23, 2016
Language: English (changeable French or Spanish)
Reviewed Format: Blu-ray
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
Video: Widescreen, Aspect Ratio 2.39:1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Number of Discs: 2 Discs in the Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack with Digital HD, also available in 3D and 4K + Disney Movies Anywhere
Distributed by: Buena Vista Home Entertainment

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Film Editor John Delia has been on all sides of the movie business from publications to film making. He has worked as a film critic with ACED Magazine for more than 12 years and earned a Bachelors degree in communications from the University of Florida. John is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association. Follow John on Twitter @staragent1 or send John a message at jdelia@acedmagazine.com