REVIEW: MOANA sails home with impressive assortment of extras
Although MOANA did not get any Oscar love at the recent Academy Awards, it’s no secret that we absolutely adored this film. We have a soft spot for Disney Princess films and while Disney has certainly found a certain magic with castles and magic, they’ve broken the mold here with this tale of a Polynesian princess whose kingdom is the far reaches of the entire Pacific ocean.
Auli’i Cravalho is the perfect Disney princess. She is equal parts lovingly sweet girl and tenacious go-getter. While her personality may at this point seem slightly derivative next to all of her other strong-minded princess-folk, she is a tough cookie and spends no time worrying or waiting for a prince to come around.
What helps to temper a predictable “tough but determined” princess was also the fact that despite striving to chart the way to save her people, Moana is also also completely filled with self-doubt. Still, she pushes on, figuring out her next move as she goes and that adaptability is what helps make her character so likable.
As a musical, the songs and score here are impressive, rich, and engaging. From meaningful solos to catchy upbeat numbers, the soundtrack runs the gamut of emotions. Sure, for a Disney picture it’s not very hard for that to happen but there’s something distinctly special about the music in MOANA. And that’s what makes exploring all the bonus features here so exciting. A lot of new ground was broken (or should we say new islands explored?) to bring this picture to life and all the behind the scenes material are a fascinating dive into bringing it all together.
The bonus release includes a wealth of goodies that will keep fans occupied for hours. Here’s a recap of the goodies per Disney.
- Theatrical Short Film: “Inner Workings” – With introduction by the filmmakers, is the story of the internal struggle between a man’s pragmatic, logical side and his free-spirited, adventurous half. Created by a small team at Walt Disney Animation Studios in a unique, fast-paced style that blends CG and traditional hand-drawn animation, the short explores the importance of finding balance in daily life.
- Maui Mini-Movie: “Gone Fishing” – When Maui decides it’s time to take charge of the ocean and catch his next meal, Moana must show him the error of his ways … with a little help from her friends!
- Voice of the Islands – An in-depth look at how Pacific Island people and cultures inspired the filmmakers to create the story of “Moana.”
- Things You Didn’t Know About …
- Meet the stars of “Moana” in this dynamic Q&A featuring Dwayne Johnson, newcomer Auli‘i Cravalho, and famed animation directors Ron and John.
- Meet the musical team behind “Moana” in this fascinating Q&A featuring Opetaia Foa‘i, Mark Mancina and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
- Island Fashion – Find out how costume designer Neysa Bové took on the unique challenge of creating costumes using materials and techniques native to the islands of Oceania.
- They Know the Way: Making the Music of “Moana” – Musicians Opetaia Foa‘I, Marc Mancina and Lin-Manuel Miranda take us on a personal journey through their involvement in the movie and how it changed their lives.
- Fishing for Easter Eggs – Dive deep into the ocean and fish for the Easter Eggs hidden by the animators at Walt Disney Animation Studios.
- The Elements of … – This series of four mini-docs explores the technical achievements behind some of the ground-breaking effects used in the film.
- Mini Maui – Meet “Mini Maui,” Maui’s tattoo sidekick. Animated by legendary hand-drawn animator Eric Goldberg, we explore how the 2D world collides with CG animation to bring the demigod’s tattoos to life.
- Water – In the movie, the ocean is a character. This piece explores how the water is given a personality, along with the technical feats of creating a believable ocean landscape farther than the eye can see.
- Lava – Te Kā is a creature made of lava, smoke and fire. This piece dives into the challenges of making an animated creature of massive scale brought to fiery life by character, technical and effects animators.
- Hair – One of the greatest technical achievements of the film was the animation of the beautiful, curly hair on Moana and Maui. Take a look at the hair-raising detail that goes into animating each strand, adding performance to the movie that has never been seen before.
- Deleted Song: “Warrior Face” – With introduction by songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda.
- Deleted Scenes – Ron and John introduce the following deleted scenes: Race the Wind/Ties that Bind; Discussing Moana’s Future; Under the Sea; Grandmother’s Warning/Legend of Maui; Education of Moana; Father, Daughter, Boat; and Canoe Race.
- Music Video: “How Far I’ll Go” – Performed by Alessia Cara.
- “How Far I’ll Go Around the World” – Multi-language reel of the song “How Far I’ll Go.”
- Audio Commentary – With directors Ron and John.
MOANA is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital.