Moana is an animated family film that promotes working as a team over working alone. It espouses the ideal that people are basically good, and portrays the idea that fears within and without must be faced in order for the individual to grow.

The story used for these messages begins with the demigod called Maui who steals a special jewel from a beautiful island goddess. The goddess turns into a terrible monster and, slowly but surely, sends corruption out into the region’s idyllic island paradise.

Across the ocean on a small island (that looks like a Mauritian holiday resort), a young girl called Moana feels strangely called to the ocean. Moana is the daughter’s chief and every time Moana talks to her father about going to sea he expressly, and fearfully, forbids her. Eventually the goddess’s desecration reaches Moana’s home and, against her father’s wishes, Moana pushes out to sea in a hidden boat.

Moana meets up with the self-absorbed and rather silly Maui and eventually persuades him to return the stolen jewel to the island goddess. This is the only way to reverse the deterioration evident all around them.

Of course it’s no easy task and both Moana and Maui must draw on their inner resources, face their fears and inadequacies, and rise above them to conquer the monster. The animated visuals are lovely, and the story trajectory simple and easy to follow. Moana is a feisty but realistic heroine and is someone young children will want to identify with. The humour that the ridiculous Maui brings to the story is fun to watch.

Moana opens at cinemas in South Africa on Friday 2 December and will be enjoyed by families with schoolgoing children.


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