Released in 2016, Moana tells the story of a young Polynesian girl who will become the chief of her people, but who must first heal the ocean to save them. You can watch Moana online through Disney+. It was the first time since 2002 that Disney Studios would release two full-length, animated features within the same year. The movie was a success at the box office, earning more than $643 million, and with critics, who praised the movie’s themes, animation, and music. Families now watch Moana streaming.
The film – which made our list of the best movies to watch on Disney Plus – featured newcomer Auli’I Cravalho and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as the main characters and the music of Lin-Manuel Miranda, of Hamilton fame.
Moana was nominated for two Academy Awards, for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song, and would win 20 awards, including two Annie’s, and a Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media (How Far I’ll Go).
Because of its strong reception in the US and in foreign markets, Disney would also release a Tahitian version, using a Maori language dubbing of the film and a Hawaiian-language version. Cravalho voiced Moana in the Hawaiian-language version as she did in the English-language release. Here’s how to stream Moana online right now:
How to Stream Moana – Exclusively on Disney+
Moana is one of the best new Disney movies of the past decade, and it is streaming exclusively on Disney’s new subscription streaming service, Disney+.
You can sign up for a 7-day free trial of Disney+ HERE, which will allow you to stream Moana and hundreds of other movies and shows on your computer, phone, tablet, smart TV or streaming device. If you extend past the free trial, the service costs $6.99/month. You may also opt for this discount bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ for $12.99/month.
- 1. Sign up for Disney+ here
- 2. Go to Disneyplus.com or download the Disney+ app on your device
- 3. Log in using your information
- 4. Search for “Moana”
- 5. Tap on Moana
- 6. Tap the PLAY button
Disney+ also boasts a vast library of Disney-owned movies and series — plus several new original series coming soon. The service includes unlimited downloads so you can watch offline whenever and wherever you want. The list of compatible devices and smart TVs includes iPads, Apple TV, Amazon devices, Amazon Fire TV, Android, Chromecast, Roku, PS4, and Xbox One.
Is ‘Moana’ on Netflix?
No, Disney’s Moana is not on Netflix any longer. While Moana used to be available on Netflix, it was removed in December 2019 and it’s now exclusively available on the Disney Plus service.
Is ‘Moana’ Available on Amazon Prime?
While Moana is not included with your standard Amazon Prime Video subscription, you can rent it for $3.99 to stream or buy it for $19.99.
Release Date: November 23, 2016
Creators: Jared Bush, Ron Clements, John Musker, Chris Williams, Don Hall, Pamela Ribon, Aaron Kandell and Jordan Kandell
Director: Ron Clements, John Musker, Don Hall, Chris Williams
Starring: Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House, Nicole Scherzinger
Synopsis: A young girl just find a demi-god to return the heart to the goddess Te Fiti in order to save her village.
How Long Is Moana?
Moana has a running time of 103 minutes.
On the Polynesian island of Motunui, the people worship the goddess Te Fiti, who gives life to the ocean. Maui, a demigod shapeshifter, steals Te Fiti’s heart, a pounamu stone, to give the people the power of creation. Te Fiti disintegrates and is replaced by the demon Te Ka, who attacks Maui and sends his magical fishhook into the sea.
A millennium later, Tui, the chief of Motunui, and Sina, his wife, have a daughter named Moana. The ocean chooses Moana, who is fascinated by the sea, to return the heart but Moana is only a toddler and her parents keep her away from the water. When Moana turns sixteen and is being groomed to be the next chief of her island, a great blight strikes, killing their vegetation and taking away their fish.
Moana believes they should look beyond the reef, but her father disagrees and forbids her from going out. Moana goes anyway, but can’t make it past the waves of the reef and returns to the island. Her grandmother Tala, who everyone thinks is crazy, shows her a cave and inside are large, ocean-going ships. Moana realizes her people were once voyagers and is more determined to find a way off the island. Tala tells her she has Te Fiti’s heart and says Moana will be the next guardian.
When Tala falls ill, she urges Moana to go and gives Moana the heart so that she can save their people. Moana takes a camakau from the cave and goes into the ocean. She is met with a typhoon and washes up on the island where Maui has stranded since loses to Te Ka, and demands that he return the heart. Maui traps Moana in a cave but she escapes and he lets her onto the boat. They are attacked by Kakamora pirates but get away. In their fight, though Moana realizes Maui has lost his powers.
She convinces him to help her so that he can redeem himself and win his powers back. They go to the Realm of Monsters, where Tomatoa has hidden Maui’s fishhook because Maui knows he must have the hook to fight. They defeat Tomatoa and continue on in search of Te Fiti’s island. There, they are faced with fighting Te Ka, and Maui is certain he will lose and afraid. He turns away.
Moana asks the ocean to find someone else because she doesn’t think she can fight alone. The ocean agrees and takes the heart from Moana, but Tala’s spirit appears, giving Moana strength. She dives into the water, recovers the heart, and starts sailing toward Te Ka just as Maui returns to the fight, too. Together, they face Te Ka, but Maui’s fishhook is destroyed. Moana makes it through the lava only to find Te Fiti is gone completely.
She then realizes that Te Ka is a corrupted Te Fiti and meets her in the middle of the ocean , offering the heart. This restores Te Fiti and saves the ocean and islands. Te Fiti restores Maui’s fishhook, and gives Moana a new boat. Moana and Maui part, and Moana returns to her people to become their chief and lead them in an ocean voyage as their wayfinder.
See Also: Best Moana Toys
The primary cast for Moana are of Polynesian descent; they are led by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and newcomer Auli’i Cravalho. Troy Polamalu, the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2010 and retired Pittsburgh Steeler, made his acting debut in the film. Here are the primary actors from Moana:
Auli’i Cravalho as Moana
Moana will become the next chief of her people, and is fascinated by the ocean, though many in her village fear it. She sets off to return Te Fiti’s heart to save her people. Auli’I Cravalho’s big break in Hollywood came when she was chose to star in Moana; she provided the voice for Moana in both the English and Hawaiian language versions of the film. Auli’i was born and raised in Hawaii, and since starring in Moana has picked up several other notable roles including Ralph Breaks the Internet, the TV series Rise, and she will star in the live-action TV movie of The Little Mermaid in 2019.
Dwayne Johnson as Maui
Maui was a human who was abandoned by his parents and taken in by the gods. He loses his fishhook, the source of his power, when he steals Te Fiti’s heart, and must help Moana save the people. Dwayne Johnson, also known as The Rock, began his show business career as a professional wrestler before making the leap to films. He is the star of several films, including The Fast & The Furious franchise and its spin-off Hobbs & Shaw, as well as the rebooted Jumanji franchise and San Andreas. He has appeared in more than 100 films and TV series.
Nicole Scherzinger as Sina
Sina is the wife of the Chief, Tui, and Moana’s mother. She tells Moana to be brave but worries about her. Nicole Scherzinger is a singer/songwriter, actress and dancer who si best known for her appearances on talent shows such as The Masked Singer, Australia’s Got Talent, and The X Factor: Celebrity. She began her career as one of The Pussycat Dolls. In addition to Moana, she has appeared in films such as Burlesque and Men in Black 3.
Rachel House as Tala
Tala is Moana’s grandmother and was once a keeper or protector of Te Fiti’s heart, but she was never able to return the heart. She encourages Moana to save their people by finding Te Fiti and returning the heart. Rachel House is a native New Zealander of Maori descent; in addition to Moana, she has starred in Thor: Ragnarok, the TV series Stateless, and The Lion Guard.
Temuera Morrison as Tui
Tui is the Motunui chief and Moana’s father. He once tried to make it past the reef but didn’t make it; he is now certain their people are never supposed to leave the island and tries to keep Moana away from the ocean. Temuera Morrison is also a native of New Zealand and of Maori descent. No stranger to Hollywood, he has appeared in more than 60 films including Aquaman and The Osiris Child and TV series including Tatau and Frontier.
Jermaine Clement as Tomatoa
Tomatoa is the crab who found Maui’s fishhook and stole it, keeping it atop his treasure at the bottom of the ocean in the Realm of Monsters. Jermaine Clement is another New Zealander who starred in Moana; he is also of Maori descent. In addition to Moana, Clement’s most notable roles include the TV series Legion and the Avatar series of movies.
Moana Songs and Soundtrack
The film’s score was written by Mark Mancina, who also collaborated on several songs. Also collaborating on the film’s soundtrack were Opetaia Foa’I and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Lyrics are in English, Samoan, and the Tokelauan language. The soundtrack would peak at number two on Billboard’s 200 chart. The premiere song, How Far I’ll Go, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song, and won a Grammy for Best Song Written for visual Media.
Moana at the Box Office
To date, Moana has grossed more than $643 million, and is the 12th highest-grossing film of 2016. It is the fourth consecutive animated film from Disney to reach the $500 million and $600 million mark in earnings; the other films to reach that milestone are Frozen, Big Hero 6, and Zootopia. In addition to the typical US and European film versions, there were also versions of the film made in the Hawaiian language and a Tahitian version using a Maori language.
Moana Reviews – What the Critics Said
Both critics and audiences were fans of the film, praising both the animation and the story telling. Much of the film was CGI animated because of the difficulty of hand-drawing ocean scenes; critics were also fans of the story, which pits a young girl against a monster in the fight to save a people.
Where Moana Fits in the Disney Movie Pantheon
Peter DeBurge, writing for Variety magazine, called Moana a ‘return to Disney’s Renaissance’. In all, the film would be nominated for 88 awards, including to Academy Awards, and would win 20, including a Grammy for the song How Far I’ll Go. Moana is the first fully computer-animated film that directors Ron Clements and John Musker would complete; Maui’s sentient tattoos are one of the only parts of the film to be hand-drawn. It would take five years to develop and create the film with 90 animators working on the end product. The primary cast all are of Pacific Island or Maori descent. Though a live-action film has not been announced, Moana does make appearances at Disney’s theme parks and at the Aulani Resort and Spa, and there is a rumored sequel in the works.
Moana Trivia: 5 Fast Facts
Moana is the first Disney film to be cast primarily with actors of Polynesian descent. Here are a few more fun facts about Moana:
1. Animators use Maori Symbol for Moana
The spiral shape of Te Fiti’s heart, which is also shown on the sail of Moana’s boat, is called a Koru, Maori for loop or coil. The Koru symbolizes perpetual movement, new life, growth, and strength. It is a key feature of many Maori works of art, from tattoos to carvings.
2. Songwriter Writes ‘Shiny’ as Davie Bowie Tribute
Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote several songs for Moana, but as he was working on the song for the villain Tomatoa, he did so as a tribute to rock legend David Bowie. Miranda has said he was listening to a lot of Bowie music as he was working on the music for Moana, and it made sense to him for the ‘Shiny’ song to have a David Bowie feel.
3. Animators Draw Parts of Moana by Hand
Although the bulk of Moana is computer-animated, there is one part that is hand-drawn. Animator Eric Goldberg worked on hand-drawing Maui’s tattoos, marking the first time since the Disney release of Winnie the Pooh (2011) that a Disney film used hand-drawn animation.
4. Polynesians Did Stop Voyaging for 1,000 Years
According to historical records, as discovered by directors Ron Clements and John Musker as they were researching the film, Polynesian people were voyagers, exploring the world around them by boat up until about 900 BCE. At that time, the voyaging stopped for 1,000 years before they began voyaging once more. It is not known why the voyages stopped or what made the people begin voyaging once more after such a long time.
5. Moana Villains Resemble Fantasia’s Sprites
Both Te Fiti and Te Ka harken back to a Disney classic. In the film Fantasia, released in 1940, there are sprites in the ‘fire bird’ segment. Both Te Fiti resembles the sprite in the film and Te Ka resembles the fire-bird that is awakened by the sprite.
Will There Be a Moana 2?
Yes, there will be a Moana 2, as Disney announced in October 2019 that a sequel has been put into production. However, don’t get too excited just yet; the sequel likely won’t release until 2022 (although that has not been confirmed).
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