The latest Disney animated feature, Moana, popped up on Netflix late last month, which means that my kids have watched it (and I've heard it) about 738...739...740...741 times over the past three weeks. So I'm exceedingly familiar with its charms at the moment (which is always risky). But I'm still trying to be fair, even as my ears are ringing.
I find myself enjoying the setting and individual sections of it quite a bit more than the overall package. Mostly, I'm looking at you, Jemaine Clement and "Shiny;" and you, Dwayne Johnson and nearly every moment of your screen time; and you, Lin-Manuel Miranda and your lyrical gymnastics in such charming, ear-wormy songs as "Opetaia Foa'i (We Know The Way);" and you, Crazy Alan Tudyk's crazy rooster; and you, entire first act. So, yeah, lots of things to enjoy.
Somehow, though, something seemed to be missing overall. It was exceedingly clever (and not just because of L-MM), but it just wasn't as cinematically/visually memorable as Walt Disney Animation Studio's best work, and it felt too predictable to me (story-wise and theme and message-wise) for true transcendence.
It's still a lot of fun, though, and I definitely recommend it. Especially if you've got little kids, who will latch onto Miranda's contributions with a frightening tenacity. (You've been warned.)
From NETFLIX INSTANT:
A Polynesian girl destined to be her island's chief makes a perilous trip with a boastful demigod to undo his mistake and save her people.