Rating: PG, for peril, some scary images and brief thematic elements.
If, for some reason, your kids haven’t already seen Moana, now is the perfect time to show it to them. It’s a great choice for the whole family — a two-time Academy Award nominee for best animated film and best original song for the girl-power anthem “How Far I’ll Go.” The latest musical extravaganza from Walt Disney Animation Studios features newcomer Auli’I Cravalho as the title character, a Polynesian teen who’s next in line to lead her tribe. But she has dreams of leaving the island and traveling the high seas, despite her parents’ wishes for her to stay put. She teams up with the demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson) to return a magical stone to its rightful place, but the two run into a series of obstacles and enemies along the way. Most of Moana is upbeat and delightful. Even some of the villains are downright adorable, including an armada of pirate coconuts with mean, painted faces. But the ultimate enemy is a giant lava monster that rages and hurls fire balls at anyone who comes near. It’s dark and hulking and may be too scary for the littlest viewers. Moana also must deal with the death of a beloved relative, but it’s handled gracefully. But there’s so much here that’s worthwhile for boys and girls alike. Moana is about a strong, curvy girl who’s assertive and independent but also kind and loyal. She puts herself in danger for the well being of her people and, in the process, finds her voice and the confidence to serve as a leader.