Moana Waialiki is a sea voyaging enthusiast and the only daughter of a chief in a long line of navigators. When her family needs her help, she sets off on an epic journey. Joining her on the adventure is her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Mia A. comments, “Moana is a fun and creative movie full of adventure and heartwarming scenes. This is not the typical Disney movie because most of the original plots that are in every Disney princess movie don’t apply here.” Carka P adds, “I like this film because it shows how brave girls can be… Against her father’s permission, Moana has to leave her Village and embarks in an ocean adventure to save her people.” Arjun N. wraps it up with, “Moana is an excellent movie that is a colorful visual treat with lots of creativity. The voice acting, stellar animation and a good message impressed me.” See their full reviews below.
By Mia A, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Moana is a great movie! It is an original and creative movie by Disney and I absolutely love it. Moana is a fun and creative movie full of adventure and heartwarming scenes. This is not the typical Disney movie because most of the original plots that are in every Disney princess movie don’t apply here. For instance, Moana’s parents are still alive at the end of the movie, and she doesn’t have a boyfriend. It has a very unique plot.
Moana is about a young girl named Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) who lives on an island in the Pacific Ocean. She is the chief’s daughter who loves the sea, but she is forbidden to go beyond the reef. She wants to have a better idea of who she is because she is torn between her village and the sea. One day Moana decides to go on a mission to find Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson) a demi-god to help restore their crumbling world.
The animation is right on point. I appreciate the creative and very detailed animation because it helped the audience really get involved in and enjoy the movie. The water is animated incredibly well; it moved and looked extremely real. I also enjoyed the hair because in some animated movies, people’s hair doesn’t move. All the hair in this movie had body and went damp when it got wet. The islands have detailed grass and trees. In far out shots looking at the islands you can see all the trees with their leaves and the ridges on the rocks and cliffs. The animation looks a lot like real photographs.
My favorite character is Moana. Moana is brave and confident. She follows her heart and stands up to people who think she is wrong. She would be a great role model for kids.
I think the moral to Moana is if you believe in yourself you can do whatever you dream. Both Maui and Moana both don’t really know who they are. When they talk to each other and learn to like one another, they develop confidence and they succeed in fulfilling their dreams.
I recommend ages 5-18 to see Moana because almost all ages that like Disney would like this movie. Even my dad enjoyed it and he is 60! There could be some scary parts for smaller kids, but nothing too bad. I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars! Go see Moana in theatres near you!
By Carla Paz, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12
I like this film because it shows how brave girls can be. Moana is the daughter of the Chief of a Village in the Pacific Island who’s destined to become the leader of her tribe. At a young age, Moana was taught by her Grandma to love the sea and she told her stories about how the islands were made. Moana’s father always told her to not go beyond the lagoon in the ocean since it’s dangerous. He was concerned about losing her.
Against her father’s permission, Moana has to leave her Village and embarks in an ocean adventure to save her people. The demigod Maui took the heart of the maker of all lands Te Ka and Moana has to find him to give back the heart to Te Ka, otherwise their land is going to be ruined.
Moana is produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios in a unique CG animation style that looks very realistic, like virtual reality. The voice over actors are all quite wonderful, especially Rachel House. I love how she portrays her character Grandma Tala because her voice delivers such grant emotion. Also, Dwayne Johnson portrays his character Maui very well with a very adventurous tone. I like how they animate Te Ka with extraordinary animation effects. The writers really make this story about an emotional heroine quite a fantastic story. I got emotional when I saw this movie because of the relationship between Moana and her grandma. I commend the directors, John Musker and Ron Clements for delivering such a great film with outstanding visuals and sound.
My favorite characters are Grandma Tala because she has so much faith in Moana. She doesn’t mind that people call her crazy for loving the sea. I also love Moana because she is very brave and courageous. I like how, even though her father is afraid for her she still goes to fight for her people.
The message of this movie is to believe in yourself, follow your heart and fight challenges. Moana believes in herself when only one other person does. I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars because of its inspiring message. I recommend it to ages 6 to 18. This is the perfect movie to see over the holidays with family and friends. You can find this movie at your local movie theater on November 23!
By Arjun Nair, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Moana is an excellent movie that is a colorful visual treat with lots of creativity. The voice acting, stellar animation and a good message impressed me. However, I didn’t care for the slow exposition. Despite this flaw, this movie is still a fun experience to watch.
The story is about Moana (Auli’i Cravalho), the daughter of the respected chief on Motunui Island, wanting to venture out into the sea. One day, danger faces Motunui Island and Moana must go out to save it. Moana is chosen to reunite the Heart of Te Fiti, which was stolen by the legendary demigod, Maui (Dwayne Johnson). Moana teams up with the arrogant Maui in order to reunite the Heart of Te Fiti and both face various dangers.
Auli’I Cravalho delivers an excellent first performance and steals the show as Moana showing her adventurous and determined side, distinguishing Moana from the rest of the Disney characters. It is surprising that this is her first performance because of how well she performs. Dwayne Johnson also steals the show in his charismatic and funny performance as Maui. Dwayne Johnson, as usual, puts his best work into his characters. Rachel House delivers an outstanding performance as Gramma Tala, who is important in Moana’s call to adventure.
John Muskers and Ron Clements’s direction keeps the movie flowing from one place to another whether it is a lush island or the windy seas. The animation is some of the best I have seen, particularly the water effects. The bright colors of the various locations also impressed me. I have rarely ever seen a movie with such good use of colors. My favorite scene in the movie is the fight scene between Maui and a giant crab. I can’t spoil it, but it is uniquely creative. The movie is not all perfect. The exposition showing Moana growing up is a little slow and drags, but this is only 10 minutes of the movie. The rest of the movie is amazing.
The movie has a great message about how Moana never gives up. She is constantly reminded that she can’t perform such adventurous tasks, but she always tries her best to face the challenges. I give this movie 4 ½ out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18 years old. This film opens in theaters on November 23rd , so go check it out.
Credit: KIDS FIRST!