Disney’s Moana – Everything you need to know

Walt Disney Animation Studios will be releasing their 56th animated film globally on 23rd November 2016. Titled Moana (or Vaiana or Oceania, depending where you live), the film follows a 16-year-old as she embarks on a quest to a mystical Polynesian island to find the demigod Maui and uncover the island’s secrets.

This article should bring you up to speed with everything you need to know.

Who’s directing the film?

The directors are Ron Clements and John Musker, the directorial duo who have been responsible for some of the greatest Disney films over the last thirty years.

Here’s what they’ve made:

That’s a tremendous track record, with two of the films stone-wall classics and the remaining four well-regarded if a little under-appreciated. Their last work – The Princess and the Frog – may well be the best Walt Disney Animation Studios film released in the last decade.

Where is the film set?

The titular character is a native of the fictional island Motunui, which is said to be in the Pacific Ocean.

There is a coastal town in New Zealand that shares its name, and there is also an island just south of Easter Island, but neither of these is the setting for the film. Instead, the inspiration for the setting is said to be Teti’aroa, a different Polynesian island most famed for being bought by Marlon Brando in the 1960s.

This is located about where the pin is on the following map (courtesy of Apple Maps).

Basically, it’s in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean in French Polynesia. By all accounts, it’s a beautiful part of the world to visit and, thanks to the Marlon Brando Estate you can!

I’ll be, erm, saving up my pennies.

Who’s in it?

The lead character of Moana Waialiki is voiced by Auli’i Cravalho, a 15-year-old newcomer to the film industry. The video above shows you how thrilled she is to effectively be the next Disney princess. A huge role and it’s a nice touch they managed to find someone from Hawaii to take on the role.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson voices legendary demigod Maui, the unlikely buddy for Moana to set off on her journey with.

Elsewhere there are contributions from Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger as Moana’s mother Sina, Temura Morrison (Episode II’s Jango Fett) as Moana’s father Chief Tui, Flight of the Conchord’s Jermaine Clement as the crabby Tamatoa, Rachel House (who you may remember as the over-zealous welfare services officer Paula in Hunt for the Wilderpeople) as Moana’s grandmother Tala and Disney regular Alan Tudyk as idiotic bird Hei Hei.

On top of that, there are musical contributions from Lin-Manual Miranda, who has managed to fit this in between the massive success of Hamilton and the preparation for the Mary Poppins reboot he’s just been cast in. Oh, and Star Wars.

There’s a short clip of the song “You’re Welcome” below.

Are there any trailers or clips available now?

Disney have been releasing a slow trickle of scene previews and trailers. Here’s a selection:

Official Trailer


International Trailer 1 (Japanese)


International Trailer 2 (Portuguese)


International Trailer 3 (Russian)


International Trailer 4 (German)


International Trailer 5 (Italy)


Official Teaser Trailer


Clip – Is there something you want to hear?


Song – “We Know The Way”


Clip – Moana meets Maui


When is it released?

It has various release dates. The key one for me is the UK release date of 2nd December, although it will be hitting USA screens a few weeks earlier on 14th November.

Most of Europe will have it before Christmas, apart from Scandinavia who won’t be able to enjoy it until 2nd and 3rd February. The last country to get it is Japan on 10th March, a full four months after its initial release date.

Comic Con – The Best of the Trailers

So this year’s San Diego Comic Con has come to a close for another year. As usual, there were trailers aplenty. Here’s a selection of some of the more interesting ones.

The Walking Dead – Season 6 trailer

I’ve been reading the comic books of The Walking Dead and I’m currently about six comics ahead of the break point of the last season. Whilst the recent stories in the TV show have held pretty true to the comics, I’m hoping they take a divergence from the original stories soon. The trailer suggests this is the case as I’m having difficulty matching it up. Looks absolutely tremendous, with the focus appearing to be a difference of opinion between Rick and pretty much the entire group.

Fear The Walking Dead

On a similar theme, there’s going to be a new spin-off series to The Walking Dead titled Fear The Walking Dead. It follows a completely different set of characters though is set in the same universe. It’s a sort of prequel to the series and focuses on one Los Angeles family as the zombie apocalypse breaks out. It looks very similar to World War Z, but with Robert Kirkman on board it will doubtless have all the magic required to make it work.

Adventure Time stop motion episode Bad Jubies

One episode from the upcoming Season 7 of Adventure Time is going to be stop motion 3D. Looks pretty interesting. Jake, Finn and the gang are facing bad weather and are also made of play dough! Disaster is imminent. Whether it will be canon or not remains to be seen.

Superman v Batman: Dawn of Justice – Extended Trailer

Expanding on the previous trailer and giving us a glimpse of the finer details of the plot and some new characters (including Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luther), this trailer is huge news. I’m willing to give this movie a chance and I think most are. It is the film that everyone has wanted to see for a long time. And, dare I say it, I didn’t think Man of Steel was a bad film at all.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Comic Con Reel

“Real sets, practical effects” opens the behind-the-scenes footage reel for the new Star Wars film. Those four words are all any fan has wanted since the underwhelming Episodes I-III. Well, I guess “No Jar Jar Binks” comes a close second. This is footage that just gets me massively excited. There is finally going to be a great Star Wars film released in my lifetime, knocking Caravan of Courage into second place.

Ash v Evil Dead

Will it be terrible? Probably. The new TV series puts Bruce Campbell back into the thick of it as mankind’s only hope against the Deadite uprising. It looks corny but will be good for some laughs.

Deadpool – Leaked Trailer

There’s some shady footage of the Deadpool trailer doing the rounds. I’m not going to link to it but it looks tremendous. Go seek it out.