Moana

A new movie review from The Movie Snob.

Moana  (B).  First we have a short–a cute little story that dramatizes the battle between an office drudge’s fearful brain on the one hand and his excitable heart and stomach on the other.  It’s kind of like a radically shortened and simplified Inside Out.  The main feature is set in a Polynesian South Seas-type milieu.  Moana is the high-spirited daughter of an island chief, and she thrills to her grandmother’s ancient stories of Maui, a trickster demigod who stole a gemstone from an island goddess, only to lose it in a battle with a lava demon.  Could the tales be true?  Lo!  The Ocean itself brings the gemstone to Moana, and she must go on a quest to find Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson, San Andreas) and force him to return the gemstone to its rightful place, lest a looming wave of darkness overwhelm her people.  I give Moana high marks for beautiful visuals, enjoyable musical numbers in the early going, and an appealing heroine.  The adventure plot is a little pedestrian, so I wouldn’t put this movie in the same category as first-tier Disney like AladdinBeauty and the Beast, or Zootopia.  Nevertheless, it’s a solid, family-friendly effort.