FSM Media

by Dianna Ranere

Review | Moana – Not Your Typical Princess Story

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Disney’s newest animated feature, Moana, is more than your typical Princess coming of age story, it is a movie about a heroine and her journey to be who she is meant to be…

Moana is Not Your Typical Princess Story

From the moment Moana starts you are captivated by the rich and colorful images of a lush tropical world. We meet a toddler Moana (Auli’i Cravalho), who is called to the sea but doesn’t quite know why until she grows older and the sea continues to call to her and her destiny is revealed.

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Her parents,  Chief Tui (Temuera Morrison) and Sina (Nicole Scherzinger), however, have different plans for her, she is to become the Princess she was meant to be and to help guide her people and take careof the island.

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As Moana grows into a headstrong teenager, she is faced with a challenge, she learns the food supply to the island has been threatened and it is up to her to find a way to restore it.  She seeks guidance from her Gramma Tala (Rachel House), the self-professed “Village Crazy Lady” who is aware of Moana’s destiny in life, and she begins to realize what she was born to do.

She must tap into her ancestors legacy and sail “beyond the reef” to bring her island back to life and save her people.

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This adventure entails finding the Demi-God Maui (Dwayne Johnson) and elicit his help in restoring the island. This leads to adventures that are rife with charismatic characters, humor and some danger. Dwayne Johnson plays this role to perfection, even lending his singing voice to a very catchy song called “You’re Welcome.”

You and your children will fall in love with the characters Pua and HeiHei, HeiHei is a wobbly-eyed chicken that steals most of the laughs, but all of the characters are all quite endearing, even the Kakamora, who are coconut pirates but you will find quite cute, believe me ….. no role in this film is a small role.

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The movie is also filled with music that will ignite your soul. With original songs by Opetaia Foa’i who sings lead for the Polynesian group Te Vaka, and the original score by Mark Mancina and of course the genius stylings of no other than  Lin-Manuel Miranda, Moana is the next Frozen in terms of the songs you and your children will be singing.  You can pre-order it today or pick it up tomorrow when it releases.

I think the film is great for both boys and girls since it is more of an adventure film than a gender specific tale. If you have really small children (5 and under , they may be a little scared when seeing a few scenes featuring a lava creature but other than that I think the movie is fine.

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My takeaway from Moana is to be who you are meant to be by listening to that little voice inside of you that is always guiding you to your purpose in life. It is also about being proud of who you are and where you came from…..always.

See Moana in theaters November 23rd. 



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 See the Disney Animation short, Inner Workings before the theatrical release of Moana.

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We had the pleasure of attending a presentation about Inner Workings with Director Leo Matsuda and Producer Sean Lurie who gave us some insight about the short.

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Inner Workings follows Paul, a stuck in a rut kind of guy who muddles through his daily life doing everyday mundane things. We get to peek inside Paul and see how his insides react to his choices, with a literal tug of war between his brain and his heart. In the end, his brain wins and he goes about his day until something snaps and he starts living life and doing everything is heart wants him to do, to the joy of all of his organs.

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“Inner Workings” opens on Nov. 23, 2016, in front of Disney’s “Moana.” ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.


This short spoke to me in a  way that I am not sure I could explain.  It made me take a look at myself and how I’ve been viewing life and realizing what holds me back….fear. I love how a short, with no dialogue, made me come to this conclusion and take a good hard look at myself. That is the power of this short.

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Again, be sure to catch Inner Workings before the theater presentation of Moana, in theaters November 23rd.

Disclosure:  I am being provided with an all-expense trip to LA by Walt Disney Studios to attend the Red Carpet Premiere of MOANA. All opinions are 100% my own.