Sunday, February 19, 2017

Moana on Blu-ray

I finally saw Moana yesterday. It may be my new favorite Disney Princess movie. (Yes, I know Moana isn't really a Princess, but as Maui says, "If you wear a dress and have an animal sidekick, you're a princess.") It's beautiful, with memorable music, and a story that takes you on an amazing journey. Caution: Spoilers Ahead 

Images courtesy of Disney
The movie starts with baby Moana listening to her Gramma Tala tell stories about the Heart of Te Fiti. Long ago, the demigod Maui Stole the heart, which had the power of Creation. Without her heart, Te Fiti was overcome by a darkness, which spread throughout all the islands, destroying life where ever it went. Gramma Tala believed that one day, one of their people would be chosen to force Maui to return the heart and restore life to all the islands.

Moana's father, the Chief of Mata Nui, wants nothing more than to protect his people and keep them content to stay on their island. But when their crops begin to fail and the fish disappear, Moana pushes him to see that something drastic must be done. Someone must leave the safety of the island and return the Heart of Te Fiti, and she is the one who has been chosen by the ocean to complete this task. With encouragement from her dying Grandmother, Moana steals a boat which has been hidden for years, a remnant from her Wayfinder ancestors. She searches for Maui with a crazy rooster named Hei Hei for unexpected company.

When she finds Maui, they both are in for a bit of disappointment: Maui is no longer revered as the "Hero of Man", and he wants nothing to do with Moana's quest. With a lot of convincing from Moana, they finally start the long journey to set things right. Along the way, they face many dangers: the Kakamora, who look cute but are quite vicious, Tamatoa, a giant crab with a great love for all things "Shiny", and the lava monster Te Kanan. I won't spoil the journey for you, but it's an incredible chance for Moana to find out who she really is (with a little help from Gramma Tala, which made me cry every time.)

This film is one of the most visually beautiful films I've seen. The attention to detail and respect for Polynesian culture is evident throughout. And be sure to look out for the occasional Easter Egg: Sven from Frozen makes an appearance, as does the lamp and Carpet from Aladdin. And if you watch until the end of the credits, you'll catch a glimpse of Wreck It Ralph, as well as a hilarious scene full of Little Mermaid references.

I truly enjoyed watching Moana, and I can't wait to see it again. The songs, with lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Opetaia Foa'i, are memorable and catchy. You'll catch yourself singing them for days. Both the look and the story are beautiful and draw you into many amazing world for an incredible journey.

Moana arrives on Blu-ray and DVD on March 7. Target has a special Blu-ray/DVD set that comes with a 32-page storybook. And if you pre-order now, you'll also receive a  $5 gift card. If you prefer a Steelbook, there will be two sets available from Best Buy.

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