I missed Moana when it was in theaters but was thankfully able to catch it in time for awards season. It’s absolutely deserving of its two Academy Award nominations for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song. Beginning with Tangled in 2010, Walt Disney Animation Studios has done an amazing job with all their animated films and have gone cel-to-cel with Pixar in terms of animation quality and storytelling. Moana is their best looking film yet, and it really shines on Blu-ray.
The movie itself is fantastic as Maria highlights in her theatrical review. One aspect that stood out for me the most on Blu-ray was the water, and its stunningly realistic effects. There are moments where I truly believed that they went out to the ocean to film real waves and then just dropped it into the film and animated around it. The colors are vibrant and sharp, highlighting the films Polynesian setting and story.
The songs are amazing too, and I’m not just talking about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Oscar nominated “How Far I’ll Go.” Dwayne Johnson’s "You're Welcome" and Jemaine Clement’s “Shiny” are ridiculously catchy as well, and the others throughout the film will have you smiling with glee. It’s simply wonderful.
Included on the Blu-ray is the animated short, Inner Workings, which played before Moana in theaters and features a brief introduction from the filmmakers. There’s also the Maui Mini-Movie Gone Fishing that shows Maui attempting to catch a fish while Moana has some fun with him.
Voice of the Islands explores the culture surrounding the film and what the filmmakers learned from visiting the Pacific Islands. It’s extremely fascinating and educational. Go behind-the-scenes in the making of Moana with the four-part featurette The Elements Of... that explores the making of Mini-Maui, Water, Lava, and Hair. There’s also a two-part featurette called Things You Didn't Know About… that talks fun facts about directors Ron Clements and John Musker, actors Auli'i Cravalho and Dwayne Johnson, and musicians Mark Mancina, Opetaia Foa'i, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Speaking of music, there’s also the deleted song "Warrior Face” and two videos for “How Far I’ll Go” in addition to a making-of featurette.
Rounding out Moana’s special features are deleted scenes, audio commentary, and a cool Fishing for Easter Eggs segment. It’s quite the well rounded Blu-ray. Moana is fun for the entire family and well worth picking up on Blu-ray. This is one you’ll definitely want to watch again and again at home.