Disney is back with one it’s best animated movies yet! Moana released on Digital HD/3D and Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA) on Feb. 21, and will become available on Blu-ray 3D™, Blu-ray, DVD and On-Demand on March 7.
Moana tells the story of the strong-willed daughter of the chief of a Polynesian tribe, who is chosen by the ocean itself to reunite a mystical relic with a goddess. When a blight strikes her island, Moana sets sail in search of Maui, a legendary demigod, in the hope of saving her people.
One of the first things you notice, after the beautiful animation is that the voice cast is insanely impressive and do a phenomenal job in their roles. The voice cast includes newcomer Auli’i Cravalho alongside Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Jemaine Clement, Nicole Scherzinger, and Alan Tudyk. Cravalho really shines out among the rest though. Her singing voice is amazing and she brings such life to the character of Moana that isn’t quite as present in the other characters. This isn’t an insult to the other voice actors, who are great, but a huge compliment to Cravalho who comes out above such heavy hitters as Dwayne Johnson and co. (Though I hold a very special and very shiny place in my heart for Clement and his giant bit.)
However, past the story and the voice cast, the animation style was my absolute favorite part of the entire film. It is one of the best we have seen from Disney yet. I found myself totally immersed into the surroundings of the world created around Moana and Co. The environments, the ocean, the islands, everything was just so pristine and beautiful with such intense detail that I kept getting distracted. Not to mention, whoever animated the hair of Moana alone deserves every award. Look at it! So amazing.
And the ocean! C’mon! I could post a million gifs to prove my point but really you should just watch the whole movie and relish in its beauty.
If you buy the Blu-ray for your home collection, you will get some awesome special features to keep the adventure going. My favorite was definitely “Inner Workings” and “Voice of the Islands” but I think most kids watching will enjoy the mini movie, “Gone Fishing” or the music video featurette that goes behind the scenes.
The complete list of special features includes:
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 Kā 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 and John.