Moana ⭐⭐⭐1/2

The transformation of the millennial Disney Princess after Entangled and Frozen is almost complete here as they co-opt yet another culture and its folklore (Mulan, Frozen again, etc.) into a merchandise and sequel-friendly franchise. Technologically superb, the colours are as vivid as ever and the animation and effects are simply unbeatable (except for Pixar but the difference between the two is more academic than real these days). It is also commendable that the film is willing to incorporate issues, no matter how subtly, of female empowerment, environment protection and cultural diversity in what is essentially a piece of lucrative children’s entertainment. From newcomer Auli’i Carvalho’s confident debut to Dwayne Johnson’s comedic and very kids friendly turn as demi-god Maui (in the shadow of Robin Williams’ unforgettable Genie in Aladdin), there is no denying the fantastic performance of the cast here. The script feels a little episodic at times, and with Broadway ready, aurally catchy and hummable tunes thrown in (think The Lion King), one cannot help but see that line blurring further into non-existence between it being a cinematic animated feature and a blueprint for a future family friendly extravaganza live on stage. The Disney synergy continues to flourish and thrive in this funny and engaging film, and even though it is may feel at times like Frozen 2.0 – the Polynesian remix, no matter how cynical I want to be, there is no denying the smile on the face of the audience, mine included, as we exit the cinema.

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