Moana.  Rating:  4 (out of 5).  A spirited teenager sets sail from ancient South Pacific Islands of Oceania, searching for a fabled island. During her incredible journey, she works with her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui, in an action-packed adventure, where they encounter enormous sea creatures, breathtaking underworlds and ancient folklore. The film premieres on VOD on Tuesday, March 7.  The Hollywood Reporter calls this latest Disney animated film “A delight.”

Starring: Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Temuera Morrison, Rachel House, Jemaine Clement, Alan Tudyk, Nicole Scherzinger
Director: Chris Williams and Don Hall and John Musker and Ron Clements
Rating: PG
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Comedy, Animation, Family, Musical



Christian Science Monitor says, “I rue the day when this becomes a Broadway musical.”

USA Today gives the film 3.5 out of 4 stars, and further notes, “The Hamilton creator and the island personalities of Moana make beautiful music together in this charming seafaring epic. While it wears out its welcome in places, the latest from The Little Mermaid directors Ron Clements and John Musker gets a lot of things right, including a memorable soundtrack, a commitment to Polynesian culture and an MVP voice performance from Dwayne Johnson.”

According to Philadelphia Inquirer, “Moana’s great heart and great humor actively subvert the violent, egocentric, macho mind-set that dominates so many popular stories. It can hardly be expected to change prevailing attitudes on its own. But it’s a start.”

Boston Globe thinks, “If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to visit this corner of the world, you’ll instantly recognize the blissful natural grandeur that Moana captures, as well as the Pacific’s intimidating vastness.”

Los Angeles Times finds, “The moral of Moana is that playing it safe can have its limits. It’s hard not to agree, even when this lovely, reassuring hug of a movie doesn’t entirely heed its own advice.”

New York Post observes, “Moana stands head and shoulders above this year’s earlier aquatic animated hit, “Finding Dory”; it’s so transporting it will have your kids begging you to book the next flight to the islands.”

Variety says, “As princess movies go, this one broadens the studio’s horizons, and as Moana herself sings in the film, “no one knows, how far it goes.”“

The Seattle Times gives the movie 4 out of 4 stars, and further notes, “Everything in the picture, from the characters’ clothes and hairstyles to the vessels they sail, bear the stamp of authenticity. But Moana’s greatest strength is the verve in which they move the action along and the sheer joyousness evident in every aspect of their storytelling.”

Chicago Sun-Times finds, “While the overall tone of Moana is uplifting, the story makes room for some pretty deep insights.”

Village Voice thinks, “It’s funny, joyful, and sweet, and yet down below, running beneath everything, is a sad counter-narrative about how the world always throws obstacles in your way, and how you could just turn your back and retreat.”

The New York Times observes, “There are some touching and amusing zigzags on the way to the film’s sweet and affirmative conclusion.”

According to Chicago Tribune, “The film is bright, busy, enjoyable, progressive without being insufferable.”

Wall Street Journal finds, “So too much of a good thing really isn’t too much, and some of the exceptionally good things are the songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. But how will they do the water on Broadway?”

Entertainment Weekly gives the movie an A- rating, and further notes, “The result is a pitch-perfect addition to the animated Disney canon.”

San Francisco Chronicle observes, “A slow start keeps Moana from reaching “Frozen” or “Beauty and the Beast” levels of excellence. But the comic self-awareness, engaging songs and a fulfilling finish are enough to merit a strong recommendation.”

New York Daily News thinks, “Yes, The Rock can carry a tune and his big song-and-dance number “You’re Welcome” is a hoot.”

The Hollywood Reporter calls the film “A delight.”

Washington Post finds, “While the main themes of Moana are identity and self-discovery — familiar territory, to be sure — the film manages to enliven such well-traveled latitudes with a breeze as fresh as the islands.”

Tampa Bay Times gives the movie a B rating, and further notes, “Writer-director Leo Matsuda lays out a comically hopeful path to happiness, simple as a snorkel and a smile.”

Arizona Republic says, “What it lacks is magic, or at least a decent amount of it.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch gives the movie 3.5 out of 4 stars, and further notes, “While Moana’s story is rooted in the past, she’s a modern heroine, a smart, resourceful leader who learns to find her own way.”

Austin Chronicle observes, “The good news is that Moana is a wonderfully animated – in every sense of the word – tale of youthful female empowerment that dazzles the eye with an oceanic kaleidoscope of bioluminescent color, catchy songs, and a perfectly suited vocal cast.”

Charlotte Observer says, “Cravalho shows spunk and a generically lovely voice, though she’s saddled with assembly-line anthems Disney has done better elsewhere. Johnson has exuberance, deft timing and a passable singing voice.”

The Globe and Mail gives the movie 3.5 out of 4 stars, and further writes, “The world needs more films aimed at children that go beyond saying that they can do anything they set their minds to. Moana is the rare empowerment fable that kids might actually feel emboldened by.”

The Guardian thinks, “Its cultural setting is fresh; its storytelling, less so. It navigates the reefs but it doesn’t discover a whole new world.”

Consequence of Sound observes, “Even allowing for its recognizable traits, Moana is as much a treat to watch as any recent Disney outing.”

A.V. Club gives the movie a B+ rating, and further notes, “Occasionally, the movie’s combination of formula and tweaks makes it play like a one-blockbuster-fits-all reconciliation of a standard Disney checklist with a second list of corrective measures. For the most part, though, the movie feels more heartfelt than calculated.”

Indiewire writes, “Visually dazzling and loaded with charm, the movie is also blatant in its quest for cultural sensitivity.”

Movie Nation gives the movie 4 out of 4 stars, and calls it “A moving, hilarious and stunningly-animated adventure epic.”

According to ReelViews, “Moana is an entertaining and worthy way to close Disney’s 2016 animated roster.” gives the movie 3.5 stars, and further writes, “Sure, you could go see “Moana” for its dazzling visuals, catchy tunes, enjoyable performances, clever running gags and overall sense of fun. It’s all there, and—except for a few scary moments—it’ll delight viewers of all ages. But for some of us older folks in the crowd, it’s hard to shake the feeling of wistful possibility in seeing a woman assume the leadership position for which she was destined.”

Rolling Stone says, “Sound plays as crucial a role as visuals in replicating an authentic culture to drive the storytelling.”

Total Film gives the film 4 out of 5 stars, and further notes, “Despite Dwayne Johnson’s solid scene-stealing, the wave-taming Moana gets a true hero’s journey in this South Seas stunner.”

Screen International writes, “The perfectly pleasurable Moana boasts vivid animation, a handful of catchy songs and a sweetly sunny disposition — all suitable compensation for a story which is not particularly inspired or original.”

ScreenCrush finds, “Despite a few fantastic deviations (including the lack of a love interest to hinder our hero’s development), Moana is still very much a paint-by-numbers narrative.”

Empire Online gives the film 4 out of 5 stars, and further writes, “A crowd-pleasing oceanic musical with big tunes and beguiling characters, Moana is likely to thwack a big smile on your face. And did we mention the idiotic chicken?”

Slant Magazine thinks, “Compared to your average Disney princesses, Moana is neither selfishly rebellious nor simplistically innocent.”

Slate finds, “That a princess movie filled with brown faces and absent a love interest will be a slumber-party staple for decades may be its most important legacy.”

The Film Stage says, “This is one of the better-directed CG films in the Disney canon. But next to all the solid noisy bits, Disney still demonstrates trouble in slowing down properly.”

The Playlist gives the movie an A- rating, and further writes, “Made all the better by snappy, contagiously catchy new tunes from Opetaia Foa’i and Mark Mancina, as well as Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Hamilton”), and fantastic voice performances from Cravalho and Johnson, “Moana” is a completely enchanting boost of warmth to the heart.”

The Verge observes, “All the beats proceed exactly as expected, but they hit with admirably precise timing, amid a strikingly beautiful landscape where every leaf is rendered with loving clarity. The humor, the wonder, and the awwww moments all hit home comfortably. This is such a perfect execution of the Disney formula, it feels like the movie the studio has been trying to make since Snow White.”

According to TheWrap, “Moana does what it does so well that you wish its makers had imbued it with some X factor that separates the classics from the merely beloved.”

Time Out New York says, “Along with the film’s hippy-ish musings on the relationship between humans and the elements, it gives the film a moving, supernatural touch.”

We Got This Covered gives the movie 4 out of 5 stars, and further notes, “Moana beats the drum of female empowerment for so many young girls who deserve it now more than ever.”



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.


HereisTV Newsletter

TV and VOD Picks delivered fresh to your inbox, everyday!

What I’m Watching



New on VOD