Moana

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Say hello to Maui. As voiced by Dwayne Johnson, Maui is a demi-god of great strength, humor and a beautiful singing voice! When her family is in need of help, it falls on the young Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) to seek out Maui before it becomes too late.

Both brilliant and breathtaking, “Moana” is sure to be the next Disney classic. The characters are beautifully established and the actors behind them are pitch perfect. While much will be made of young Ms. Cravalho – who celebrated her 16th birthday on November 22 – the star here is the man formerly known as “the Rock.” Johnson established his skills for comedy in such films as “Be Cool” and “Pain and Gain,” his performance here is truly award worthy. And what a singing voice! Too bad the film is animated, as I wouldn’t be surprised if he can dance as well.

Like previous Disney animated features, the animation is outstanding. 95% of the film takes place in/on water, and the images on screen – I saw the film in 3D but it’s not necessary to enjoy it – flow by beautifully. Also like previous Disney animated films, there are some cute and funny animal characters that will steal your heart, among them a dimwitted chicken and the cutest piglet you’ve ever seen. Yes, cuter than the REAL Piglet! Other voice talents include Rachel House as Moana’s grandmother and Jermaine Clement as the crab Tamatoa. The songs are all Oscar worthy, with many them written by “Hamilton” scribe Lin Manuel Miranda. When all is said and done, it’s certainly the best way to spend 90 minutes this holiday!