It’s fair to say that Disney are enjoying a decade of unsurpassed quality in their animated films, and this renaissance looks set to continue with the astonishing ‘Moana’.
When her island home is threatened, teenage heroine Moana is chosen by the ocean to sail into the unknown, find the demigod Maui and restore the heart of the goddess Te Fiti.
Auli’i Cravalho’s Moana is simply magnificent; a compassionate, resourceful, self-assured young woman who explicitly rejects the princess archetype and, unencumbered by token romances or unwanted suitors, shines as a landmark female role model and arguably Disney’s most inspiring protagonist to date.
Dwayne Johnson’s Maui provides an excellent counterpoint to Moana, and his character arc of a swaggering narcissist forced to confront his weaknesses and learn humility encapsulates another of the film’s many positive lessons.
A Disney hit needs music and Lin Manuel Miranda and Opetaia Foa’i have outdone themselves in crafting a beautiful, earworm soundtrack that ranges from funny to sinister and is always deeply moving.
‘Moana’ is a modern classic. You’ll laugh like an idiot and cry like a baby, and if this is the shape of kids’ role models to come, perhaps there’s hope for us after all.