Moana [2016] ★★★

 csky6rmviaenstq-jpg-largeI’ve been a sucker for Disney animated features ever since my mom took me to see Aladdin back in 1992, and I still approach every new film with a combination of excitement and cautiousness. Will it be as good as the previous one? Disney hit a bullseye earlier this year with the amazing “Zootopia”, and they almost do it again with “Moana”. I say almost because while it isn’t as original as “Zootopia”, it’s still a highly enjoyable entry in a long line of Disney films. With its colorful characters and unforgettable collection of catchy new songs, it evokes the best qualities of a Disney animated feature. When the movie opens, we learn that a demigod called Maui (Dwayne Johnson) caused a major disaster when he stole the heart of Goddess Te Fiti. And then we meet Moana (voiced by a terrific Auli’i Cravalho), who lives on an island where fishermen can’t catch fish anymore and where crops are slowly dying. Now it’s up to Moana to navigate the dangerous sea, find Maui and restore Te Fiti’s heart before it’s too late. Too much for kids to handle? Perhaps. But it still has all the elements of a crowd-pleaser, including a terrific chemistry between the two leads. One thing is certain: there’s never a dull moment in “Moana”, which throws in one impossible task after the other and unexpected character twists that continue right up to the exciting finale. If you’re anything like me, you’ll enjoy every second of “Moana”. It’s a keeper!

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