The first trailer for Moana is here and it does plenty to impress. Disney Animation Studios has been on a roll as of late, with hit films like Zootopia, Frozen and Big Hero 6 and I have little doubt that Moana won't be able to deliver just as well. The talent involved certainly helps.
Dwayne Johnson is obviously the biggest star on the roster and he is certainly just as much vocal charm as he does in person. He's one of the most charismatic movie stars in the world and it should be fun to see him lend his talents to an animated Disney feature as the demigod Maui. Perhaps more notable is Auli'i Cravahlo, the young actress chosen out of thousands to voice the title character. We only get a brief glimpse and hear just a little of what she has to say, but Disney is doing it's part to make unique choices.
It's a good reflection of what we are seeing in the overall choices in how to keep making original animated features. The story concerns an adventurous teenager from the South Pacific facing incredible odds to save her people. She gets caught up with various forms of mythology brought to life, let alone has a chance to participate in musical numbers and more.
Despite the huge success that it was, I really didn't know what I was getting into with Frozen, when it was first coming out. The adds (the few that I saw) didn't do much to highlight that it was a princess story or a musical, yet that's what I got and it did it very well. Moana makes it very clear that this is a story of a new Disney princess and the film is very much a musical.
Moana is coming from directors Ron Clements and John Musker, who have made Disney classics such as The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. It also features the musical talents of Lin-Manuel Miranda, among others. I'm also happy to point out Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows, The Hunt for the Wilderpeople) as one of the writers involved as well.
There's a great mix of talented folks here and the film looks stunning, as far as the animation is concerned. This is one film to be really excited for.
MOANA arrives in theaters November 23, 2016.