[3.5 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

From the non-Pixar side of Disney Animation, a nice movie set in ancient Polynesia. And yet another girl heroine. Aren't they getting tired of that yet? Never mind, it tells an interesting story about likeable characters.

The title character is young and spunky, but under the thumb of her dad, the island chief, who expects her to take the reins someday. Unbeknownst to everyone, the island is about to be the victim of a slow-moving curse, caused by demigod Maui, who stole a green gem, the "heart of Te Fiti". Gradually, Moana gets her mission: she's got to find Maui, he has to reclaim his demigod powers, and together they have to return the gem to its rightful owner.

And yes, you've seen this exact same movie before. There's a wacky animal companion (Moana points out this cliché herself, so thumbs up for that.). There's a wise mentor. Maui is a wise-cracking sidekick. At numerous points in the movie All Seems Lost. But (sorry, spoiler) Moana's pluck, resolve, and bravery triumphs. So yay!

And, sue me, I liked it. I eagerly await Disney's next cookie-cutter movie, because these cookies are delish.