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Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from director Ron Clements and John Musker along with Don Hall, Chris Williams and Walt Disney Animation Studios comes MOANA.

This film tells the story of Moana (Auli’I Cravalho), daughter of Chief Tui (Temuera Morrison) and drawn to the ocean. Growing up with village expectations continually keeps her away from the waves that she loves. Listening to her father about taking her responsibilities seriously she stays away from the water.

But one person knows of Moana’s love of the sea and desire to see what is beyond the waves is Gramma Tala (Rachel House) who shares the secret of the people. Deep within the island are boats once used by Moana’s people who were explorers.

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When the island harvest isn’t producing what it normally does and the fish are disappearing from the cove, Moana knows she must do something to help. Along with rooster Heihei (Alan Tudyk), Moana takes a boat and hits the seas searching for demi-god Maui (Dwayne Johnson).

They work together to reunite the heart of Tehiti and save the people of Motunui Island.

Cravalho as Moana is strong willed, filled with ocean-guilt, loved by her people and carries a lovely tune. Knowing that the responsibilities come with the job of being the Chief’s daughter, Moana tries to fill the shoes. Cravalho has a lovely voice giving Disney another winning soundtrack and every time she announced that she was “Moana!” Cravalho gave us a determined and strong cry!

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Johnson as Maui is absolutely everything one would want in a demi-god! He’s big, he’s hilarious, he has wavy black hair and a tattoo that literally is his conscience. Adding his vocals that are brilliant to this character, there is absolutely no one else that could have pulled this off.

I have to take this moment to talk about Heihei the chicken and yes Alan Tudyk is the sounds of this bird but you need to be prepared because I love this chicken. Yes the pigs are cute and the fishes of the sea are awesome but Heihei is the most unusually funny animal I have seen in Disney films.

MOANA is Disney at it’s best with the themes that family’s have come to expect from this amazing company. There is love, family, humor, friendship, suspense, adventure, a serious level of cuteness with characters that kept me laughing.

Of course you can’t have The Rock in a film where his character not only is a little narcissistic but has tattoos that remind him of that fact, a cockeyed chicken, an ocean with attitude and a young girl with determination bigger than the demi-gods pecks and not have fun.

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The animation is absolutely stunning and I have to admit that I truly loved everything ocean with its life and beauty. The songs are filled with story telling and carried mainly by Moana’s character.

It’s time to gather the tribe as the holidays start to see an animated film that embraces everything family!

In the end – the ocean is calling!

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