BY THE COMMANDER
3½ (out of 4 Stars)
Dwayne "The Rock "Johnson is on a roll. It seems that everything he touches turns to gold This athlete turned WWE superstar wrestler has truly become an 'A' listed top box office star. His moniker of ‘The Rock’ can easily be dropped since everyone on the planet now knows his name.
His latest role is the new Walt Disney film Moana, an animated story about a young island girl’s coming of age while saving her island from extinction.
If Disney does anything well it's the art of storytelling in animated form. From the original days of black-and-white cartoons of Steamboat Willie staring Mickey Mouse to newer animated films such as The Little Mermaid, Monsters and Brave the key to their success has always been the story. The acquisition of Pixar Animation Studios has substantially improved the animation; as it has become highly sophisticated compared to the early days of Pinocchio. The films are a joy to watch for audiences both young and old. By casting well-known actors as well as newcomers in the starring roles and using modern day language and slogans, it’s much more enjoyable.
The story is quite simple but wonderfully told. A long, long, time ago, a demigod (Dwayne Johnson) named Maui stole an artifact which caused a terrible curse upon an island in the Polynesia. With the islands destruction eminent, a young chieftain’s daughter, Moana (Auli’I Cravalho), answers the ocean’s call to seek out Maui and remove the curse restoring peace and tranquility to the island and its habitants.
This is a fun entertaining film that will bring tears of sadness and joy to the viewing audience. Add in the expected original music, singing and dance numbers and you have a wonderful film. Even Johnson gets into the act singing his way through one of the songs.
I saw this film in 4DX format and for all of you who don't know, that's motion controlled seats along with 3-D. I didn't realize how lifelike these motion seats are, as they function with wind, water, turbulence, heat, cold and everything else in between. Everyone around me was thinking the same thing… where are the seatbelts? And since this was set in Polynesia and on a raft in the ocean as you can imagine there was a lot of water being sprayed all over us. At the end of the movie I left overwhelmed, exhausted and wet. It was fabulous to experience once! Maybe I'll see it again in regular 3-D so I can enjoy the movie even more without feeling that I was going to fall from the sky.