“Moana” was really built up by early reviews and animation fans. Hell, having Lin-Manuel Miranda working on the film’s music was supposed to be like printing money. Did I mention that this was going to feature Dwayne Johnson starring in a decent animated film? Like a lot of sure things of the last few months, “Moana” was supposed to merge classic Disney with a new modern flavor. What happened?

If you go online enough, you know that earnest criticism of a film like this is usually met by thinkpiece spiel. This movie wasn’t made for you or this movie mattered because it was different. Ohhh! It didn’t have a love interest and that makes its pacing problems OK? “Frozen” had Sisters before Misters and that didn’t drag like the first half of this film. You didn’t think it dragged? Well, pop in the disc and plot out the minute that Maui shows up.

It’s old hat to keep bringing up Dwayne Johnson as franchise Viagra. But, the man has an ability to make any material work. Why? Well, because he believes in the character work and tries to fulfill his part of that world. Auli’i Cravalho has an amazing voice, but she’s still a kid doing her best in a lead role. When she gets to be cocky and show attitude as Moana…I believe it. But, she doesn’t have the chops to keep the film flowing.

Let’s not blame Cravalho for editing and plot concerns. There’s a lot of setup to get out of the way to dive into this world. Hell, Lin-Manuel Miranda had to explain rap the film’s Best Original Song nominee at the Oscars. If your kids can handle a ton of exposition, they’ll be onboard. What kept me in the film was the stunning 3D work and ability to play with the frame. You don’t get “Life of Pi” style popping, but the eye grabs are a hoot.

The scenes with the little coconut pirates and infant Moana playing with the Ocean are peak 3D material. If you’re still wanting to show off your setup, I’d recommend it.


  • Maui Mini-Movie
  • Inner Workings short film
  • Deleted Song
  • Featurettes
  • Music Video
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Easter Eggs


  • 2.39:1 1080p transfers (2D/3D)
  • DTS-HD 7.1 master audio track


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