Disney’s adventure on the ocean is now available in high definition in your home. The gorgeous animation really shines on the home release, complementing the great story. Come inside to check out our full review!
On the surface, the plot of Moana is pretty straight forward. The titular character must return an ancient stone (entrusted to her at a young age) that serves as an important symbol to her people, to its rightful owner. Despite her father’s objections, she casts off on an adventure that sees her come across a demigod, Maui, who she convinces to help her on the journey.
Along the way, they come across more interesting characters, nefarious supernatural forces, and Moana is forced to confront her own fears and identity. Truly, the idea of “who you are” and what makes a person (something that comes from inside or outside), is a key theme throughout the film. It’s a neat concept that allows the film to bring up other interesting ideas, like how it explores the inherent good inside of people.
This theme has always been one of my favorites in films (something important for kids to understand, I feel), and Moana handles it wonderfully. It has a lot to say about individuality and finding yourself, but I never felt it did so in a “preachy” way either. These themes is what really drives the story forward, making it easy to engage with the colorful cast of characters.
On top of all that, it’s gorgeously animated, features some of the funniest moments in recent Disney memory, and features some neat new songs that will surely be on loop throughout your house (if you have kids). It’s a fun little story, with a lot to say, that’s enjoyable for both kids and adults alike.
Sight and Sound
When you think of Disney, you think of animation. The House of Mouse pioneered the art form and helped make the animated genre what it is today. The transition to three dimensions hasn't been the smoothest (except for Pixar productions), but over the last several years, Disney has asserted their prowess once more in animation.
Moana is the culmination of all they've learned and put into action. Simply put, it's a ridiculously gorgeous movie. From the blues of the ocean, to the colorful indigenous characters/paint schemes, every scene in Moana is a visual treat for the eyeballs. The blu-ray transfer here captures it masterfully, in one of the best the format has seen. The vibrant colors pop on the screen in crystal clarity, with deep blacks that allow for precise lines and depth.
If you thought the film looked gorgeous in theaters, just wait until you check out the blu-ray. The home version really highlights the subtle animation nuances, letting you appreciate all that goes into it. Hair on characters flow with a realistic quality, making it seem as though each strand of hair has been individually animated. The same goes for the waves of the ocean and cracks in the hand carved wooden items. Hands down, this is one of the most gorgeous blu-ray transfers I've seen.
The sound has been given a similar treatment, with a solid 7.1 lossless soundtrack. The background sounds really help sell the world as real (despite being animated), while the dialog is given proper priority. From a technical aspect, it doesn't get much better than the Moana blu-ray.
The Bonus Features
One of the things Disney has always done well with for their home entertainment releases, is loading the discs down with a bevvy of bonus content for veiweres to sift through. Moana is no different and comes with these special features:
Theatrical Short Film: Inner Workings
Maui Mini-Movie: Gone Fishing
Voice of the Islands
Things You Didn't Know About....
Ron, John, Auli'i & Dwayne
Mark, Opetaia, & Lin-Manuel
The Elements Of...
They Know the Way: Making the Music of Moana
Deleted Song: "Warrior Face" with Introduction by Songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda
Fishing for Easter Eggs
"How Far I'll Go" Performed by Alessia Cara
"How Far I'll Go" Around the World
Remember how I was talking about all that gorgeous animation? The bonus features include four featurettes that dive into how they brought certain elements to life for the film, and the rigorous process that goes into it. For film fans, it's a really neat look behind the scenes into the animation techniques on such a large scale production.
Other featurettes go into the culture behind Moana and how it helped to shape the story and central themes of the movie. Along with that, you get some goofy cast interviews (something the kids will enjoy), deleted scenes, a look at all the Easter eggs spread throughout, and two short films that the kiddos will enjoy almost as much as the movie itself (prepare for a lot of re-watches).
It's a lot of content that comes included in the package, making it one hell of a deal. Not only are you getting a fun, and gorgeous, movie you're getting a ton of bonuses to go along with it. It's a stacked blu-ray, that makes it feel like even more bang for your buck.
A Gorgeous Blu-Ray For a Great Flick
Moana on its own is a great movie. The characters are engaging, the songs are catchy and easily get stuck in your head (though some may see that as a bad thing), and it has a powerful message to get across. That alone makes this blu-ray worth the purchase, but Disney has outdone themselves with a seriously impressive HD transfer and a slew of bonus features.