Moana is set somewhere in the Polynesian Islands and is the ultimate animated film about girl power. Its heroine (Moana, voiced by Auli’i Cravalho) is daughter of a tribal chief. Things are not going well fro the tribe as a goddess is angry that one of the islands has been desecrated by the demigod Maui (playfully voiced by Dwayne Johnson. There are no fish to be caught and the people of Moana’s village, once mighty voyagers, are afraid to venture outside the reef that surrounds the island. The ocean chooses Moana to find Maui and set things right, and her perseverance and upbeat personality help to achieve those goals. Maui has his own catharsis but in spite of the fact that he’s a real scene stealer, looking something like an animated version of conductor Gustavo Dudamel, it’s Moana’s journey that really counts. Humor and song are used to propel the plot in a delightful manner and there are just the right number of zany subsidiary characters to keep one interested.
The video and audio transfers on this Blu-ray disc are state of the art and then some. Animation techniques using computers have come a great way. Look at the detail in the elaborate hair designs of the main characters. Or the sand all over Moana when she is shipwrecked toward the middle of the movie. The Blu-ray faithfully conveys these details and every other, often creating astonishing scenes. Color plays a big part, too. The bright primary colors used literally seem to jump off the screen and into one’s consciousness and the softer, psychedelic hues used for spiritual oceanic scenes add mystery and intrigue. Overall the video on this Blu-ray is of demonstration caliber. The dts 7.1 sound is also magnificent, exemplary in reproducing music, dialogue, and sound effects. There are also plenty of entertaining extras on board, including the riotous short film Inner Workings.