This weekend was opening weekend for the much anticipated new Disney movie Moana. The girls have been looking forward to seeing it and with a long holiday weekend it seemed like the perfect time to do a moms day out with just the three of us. But where should we see it? At a Dolby Cinema at AMC Theatres near our home of course!
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We arrive at our AMC Theater and pick up our tickets for Moana in the Dolby Cinema. The girls were excited to learn that we were also getting backpacks and pins. The Moana pin went on their Disney trip lanyard as soon as we got home.
Up next was the all important selection of snacks. A movie in a theater just doesn’t seem the same without popcorn and candy – and in our case someone loaded up extra butter.
Then it’s off to the Dolby Cinema to pick our seats. The Dolby Cinema experience is so different from many other movie experiences. It’s not only the amazing technicolor of the movie (it’s better than 3D if you ask me and seems like it’s so detailed, colorful and up close) but there’s also the heightened sound affects. The seats are wider, softer, more comfortable and just a few weeks post surgery it has some amazing attributes too. The rows are wider so it’s easier to get in and out of your seats. The seats recline, allowing you to relax – and in my case prop my knee up to stretch and then bend it down to make sure it didn’t become stiff. I was able to do all this without bothering others or being all uncomfortable. Best of all it’s so cool to be able to sit right with the girls.
One of the really cool attributes of the Dolby experience is feeling the vibrations of say the ROAR of the Demigod Maui all the way through. It is more than just watching the movie but actually being drawn right into the adventure.
Based on the Oceania tales of old, Moana is a different kind of princess – and she objects to being called one. Raised by her father the chief of her village, mother (already a departure from many Disney movies – both parents are alive and well), her Gramma Tala as well as the whole village. From the very first she is drawn to the ocean and never understood why her village didn’t travel beyond the reef. She learns of the old ways and her history from Gramma Tala and decides to try to save the village and island by traveling beyond the reef.
Newcome Auli‘i Cravalho is the voice of Moana, and Dwayne Johnson (HBO’s “Ballers,” “Central Intelligence”) lends his voice to demigod Maui. The voice cast also includes Temuera Morrison (“Star Wars: Episode II – AƩ ack of the Clones,” “Once Were Warriors,” “Six Days, Seven Nights”) as Moana’s no-nonsense 3 father, Chief Tui; Rachel House (“Whale Rider,” “Hunt for Wilderpeople,” “Eagle vs Shark,” “Boy,” “White Lies”) as Moana’s trusted Gramma Tala; and Nicole Scherzinger (Grammy®-nominated singer, West End’s “Cats”) as Moana’s playful and strong-willed mother, Sina. Jemaine Clement (“The BFG,” “Despicable Me,” “Rio,” “Rio 2,” “What We Do in the Shadows,” Flight of the Conchords) voices Tamatoa, a self-absorbed 50-foot crab; and Alan Tudyk (“Zootopia,” “Wreck-It Ralph,” “Big Hero 6”) lends his voice to dumb rooster Heihei.
From a young age Gramma Tala (one of my favorite characters in the movie) tells her about Te Fiti the mother island who’s heart held the greatest power ever known – until the demigod Maui decided to take it from her. I admit at this point we were a little surprised. The part of Maui is played by Dwayne Johnson and it seemed like he was a good guy from the previews. The girls looked at me wide – eyed.
Yes, Maui stole the heart and lost it. Moana recovered it and faced Maui head on demanding he take her to Te Fiti and replace her heart. During their voyage Moana learns more not only about her history but about herself. But she also learns why Maui stole the heart. He just wanted someone to love him so he was trying to gain their love by gifting them with the heart.
My youngest LOVED the part of “little Maui” a tattoo on Maui who was sort of his conscience, not that Maui always listened to it. They also blurted out several “Easter Eggs” during the movie, but I won’t reveal them. Hopefully you will have fun finding them with your family.
Don’t miss a moment of the pirates battle scene with the Kakamora, for fun adventure and a fun new villain.
An ancient story with a contemporary feel, Moana was a princess like no other. Strong, confident , listening to the wisdom of the past to help her forge a future not only for herself but for her village. No prince or romantic, grand gestures for this “princess.” She learns to be a voyager with Maui’s teaching and with his courage and selfless act she is able to bring the heart back to Te Fiti and bring about change to her village.
Moana is a story of learning from the history to make a better future. The colors, graphics and music were absolutely magical and no need for 3D to make the most of this movie experience.
The vote here – the best Disney “princess” movie so far by two out of three viewers. The other one refuses to vote until she sees the new Beauty and the Beast. We compromised on “best animated princess” so far because you just never know what Disney will come up with next.
Disclosure: This review is brought to you by Dolby Cinema. All opinions expressed are 100% my own and my family’s.