Review of Disney's Moana (Available on DVD, Blu-Ray, and Digital HD)

Disney's Moana is now available for home viewing. We reviewed this movie in our home this week, and -- to be completely honest -- I was not prepared to like it. The story didn't resonate from the previews I saw. I am not a huge Rock fan. I thought the trailers seemed to be a bit lacking. We settled in with the kids to watch it, and I had my laptop with me; I was thinking at some point I might tune out and get a little email catch-up done.

What happened instead was surprising. I loved this film. While the movie, an animated retelling of traditional stories to the Polynesian people, was quite unbelievable to someone from my culture, it wasn't any more so than the story of a wooden boy come to life (Pinocchio) or a princess put to sleep by the pricking of a needle (Sleeping Beauty.) While the story was not familiar to me, it was amazing. I'm so glad that I gave this film a chance!

What made it so special? The music, for one. I can't get half the songs out of my head, and they were sung with such heart and modern melodic qualities, that I'm pretty sure the soundtrack has all the potential of the next Frozen lineup. The song "You're Welcome", sung by the Rock, had all the catchiness of the best Broadway tunes. My second favorite was the eerily seductive "Shiny", sung by the crazy talented monster crab of the movie. (Note: Jemaine Clement plays this character so well. He sings and speaks in such a unique way. I've been a big fan of Jemaine since he's odd role in the quirky indie film Don Verdean -- a favorite of mine.)

While the story gets more fantastic as it goes (Moana's grandma gets reincarnated as a mystical stingray, and the main villain of the story is a lava monster), there are so many real moments that families will adore. Moana's character is lovable, bold, and brave, from the get-go, including toddler moments on the beach. (She has a plump baby belly that all parents recognize as standard for cute kids). She grows into an attractive yet outspoken young woman who can't shake the voice inside to do big things, scary things, and necessary things. Her connection to her ancestors and a desire to restore their legacy is not unique to the culture of this film. I think anyone with a link to the past that they treasure can relate (even for this descendant of Danish farmers.)

Download Moana Island Crafts

The broad themes of exploration, acting unselfishly for the ones you love, and even consequence (which is a theme not as richly covered, but is there), speak well to the liberty-loving heart of me. You make your own destiny. This film echoes these truth. (Whether the ocean chooses you, or not.)

Deep and often heavy themes are broken up most appropriately by the humor of a stow-away chicken. This chicken is about as brain dead as they come. As someone who owns 70+ chickens, I couldn't stop chuckling.

Get the toe-tapping, nail-biting, hysterical movie on DVD, Blu-Ray, and digital HD right now. Families from all backgrounds and beliefs will appreciate the heart and soul of this extraordinary tale. As the movie reveals: The risks are all there... and so are the rewards!

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