Moana Movie Review

Originally posted 2017-01-10 20:00:42.

Title: Moana

Director: Ron Clements, Don Hall, John Musker, Chris Williams

Release Date: November 23, 2016 (US)

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy

MPAA Rating: PG

Running Time: 1hr 47 mins


  • Auli’i Cravalho as Moana
  • Dwayne Johnson as Maui
  • Rachel House as Gramma Tala


Kid Friendly Rating: Moana is an animated Disney adventure about a Polynesian island chief’s daughter who sets off on a quest to save her people. With Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson voicing demigod Maui. Scary, perilous scenes include run-ins with frightening, violent monsters (one made of lava, the other a giant crab) and run-ins with ocean storms and waves.

Parents say 6+ Click here for the Parent Rating Guide

Personal Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: There was a terrible curse put on the island by the goddess Te Fiti, because Demigod Maui stole her heart (a small pounamu stone). He planned to give it to humanity as a gift. He ends up being attacked by a lava demon named Te Ka, causing the heart to be lost in the ocean along with his magical fishhook. A millennium later, a young Moana , daughter of and heir to a chief on the small Polynesian island of Motunui, is chosen by the ocean to receive the heart. Her father, Chief Tui, insists the island provides everything the villagers need, but as time passes, because of the curse that Te Fiti put onto the island, the fish become scarce and the island’s vegetation begins to die. Moana proposes going beyond the reef to find more fish. Tui rejects her request, as sailing beyond the reef is forbidden.



Memorable Quotes :


Moana: I am not a princess.

Maui: If you wear a dress and have an animal sidekick, you’re a princess.


Tamatoa: [Last lines, post-credits scene] Can we be real, if my name was Sebastian and I had a cool Jamaican accent you’d totally help me. You would, you know you would.


Moana: Are you gonna tell Dad?

Gramma Tala: I’m his mom. I don’t have to tell him anything.


Maui: [Using Heihei’s beak to sign Moana’s oar] When you use a bird to write with, it’s called tweeting.

Gramma Tala: In the beginning, there was only ocean. Until the Mother Island emerged: Te Fiti. Her heart held the greatest power ever known. It could create life itself and Te Fiti shared it with the world. But in time, some began to seek Te Fiti’s heart. They believed if they could possess it, the great power of creation would be theirs. And one day, the most daring of them all waged across the vast ocean to take it. He was a demi-god of the wind and sea. He was a warrior, a trickster, a shapeshifter who could change form with the power of his magical fishhook. And his name was Maui.

Fun Facts:

In the trailer Maui says he lassoed the sun with a fish hook and pulled the land from the ocean. These are Maori legends detailing how New Zealand came to be. Maui pulled the land up while fishing. He lassoed the sun because the days were too short. There is also a version that Maui lassoed the sun with a net.

Moana is the second Disney Princess to have a story not based on a fairy tale, nor having a love interest. The first one was Merida from Brave (2012), four years prior.

When he first gets his hook and is trying to shape shift, Maui changes into various animals. For a split second, he turns into Sven the Reindeer from Frozen (2013).

When Moana first meets Maui, he cocks his eyebrow in a strange way. This is the people’s eyebrow, a signature move of Dwayne Johnson from his wrestling career. ( I thought this one was very interesting, going back to my days watching him as The Rock. )

Final Thoughts:

This movie was the second movie we took our daughter to see in theaters. I wholeheartedly enjoyed Moana. It was colorful and had a couple catchy songs. My favorite being “You’re Welcome “, a song that Dwayne Johnson sings, and he does such a great job, that you can picture him actually dancing and singing the song. It’s catchy and it is one that sticks in your head. He really was a perfect fit for Maui. I love the messages behind this movie and the lore is interesting as well. Some boundaries are meant to be broken, and  having patience is always beneficial. Te Fiti and Te Ka intrigued me, and my daughter enjoyed them, referring to Te Ka as the fire monster. I loved Moana’s Gramma Tala as well, she and was very wise and laid back. This movie is definitely worth watching with your children. It will surely be a favorite.

Have you seen Moana with your children? Let us know what you think.

[Azeroth Mommy]