Moana, Disney’s newest animated feature film introduces the powerhouse’s latest princess or rather newest chief. In this story, that echoes similar themes as predecessors like Mulan, Moana (voiced by Auli’i Cravalho) must learn how to balance familial and cultural duty with rising up to do what is right, even when these things  may contradict each other.

‘Moana Blu-ray Review

As the successor to the chief, Moana is expected to learn her role on her tribe’s island, which mainly consists of staying grounded and learning the in and outs of the island community. Yet, as a curious teenager, she is continually excited by the ocean that surrounds her. She feels a special bond to it, and feels that it holds the key to the declining state of her home which has been plagued by dwindling food supplies and a black-like containment that seems to decay the land itself.

Grandmother Tala is  the only supporter of Moana’s curiosity. She reveals crucial information to Moana about the islands true history as a nation of wayfinders, navigators who explored the seas. According to Grandma Tala (Rachel House), the key to saving the island lies in the legend of Te Fiti, a god who had her heart ripped out by the demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson).The heart, presented to Moana by the ocean when she was a toddler and kept safe with her grandmother, is then presented to her. This is the start of Moana’s journey. She must find the demigod who began all this and together restore Te Fiti’s heart.

The journey is full of breathtaking visual elements. Despite being one of the most difficult elements of animation, the ocean is not only an environment the protagonists find themselves in but a character that guides Moana. Another graphically complex and stunning character is the main villain of Te Kā, who can be best described as an anthropomorphized volcano.

One of the film’s biggest charms is its soundrack developed by composers Lin Manuel Miranda, Opetaia Foa’i and Mark Mancina. Moana delivers one of the best and diverse musical experiences to come out of Disney’s featured animations. Not only are the songs catchy and moving, they have narrative power. They’re not there simply for the sake to fill space, but add to depth to the characters who sing them or to the characters they are directed towards.

The DVD Blu-ray includes special features that will enhance your movie experience. They include insight into the creation of the music and costumes, and the research that went into them. More about the culture that inspired the film can also be seen. Also included is a mini-film and a few animatics of deleted scenes and songs. Moana is a film both adults and children will find enjoyable.