Here's the deal: the question isn't "Is Moana worth watching?" The question is: "When should I see Moana?"Answer: as soon as possible!
Moana (Auli'i Cravalho) is the daughter of a chief on a Polynesian island, which provides for the village everything they need, and so no one ever leaves. Even though she knows she's destined to take over as chief after her father, Moana longs to venture out onto the ocean.
After a tragic loss, Moana sets out for the horizon to find a way to save her family and island from a terrible darkness. On her journey, she befriends demi-god Maui (Dwayne Johnson) and they push each other to become everything they're meant to be, and not just who they've been told they should be.
As a storyline - a young girl rebelling against tradition and social expectations to pursue her dreams, and finding her true path - Moana is nothing new. We've seen it before in The Little Mermaid, Mulan, Brave, and many more. But what sets Moana apart from the rest is how relatable it is.
The lead character isn't anything unusual in that she isn't a mermaid, great warrior, or a medieval princess armed with a bow and arrow who needs to change her mother back from a bear. Moana is just an ordinary human girl with no superpowers like superhuman strength or ability to shape-shift (except maybe Disney-perfect hair) trying to figure out who she is. The movie depicts Moana as a leader, not a princess or hero. Also, there's no mortal enemy Moana has to defeat. Her villain is her own self-doubt and uncertainty about what her place is in the world. Something many of us have gone through, particularly as teenagers.
Moana is increadibly charming and captivating, and completely up-lifting and heartwarming. Like so many other films, it needn't really be in 3D, as the effects only really added to about three scenes in the entire movie. The beautiful animations against a gorgeous backdrop wouldn't have lost anything if watched in 2D. Add to that spunky and colourful characters and catchy tunes you'll be humming as you exit the cinema ... well, Disney magic's still got it!
Moana opens in Hong Kong on January 26, 2017