We were already deeply excited for Moana, the new Disney animated film from Ron Clements and John Musker, the super genius duo behind The Great Mouse Detective, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid and The Princess and the Frog. And then we saw today’s D23 Expo presentation.
Moana is a young woman who sets off to discover her destiny on the open ocean. She encounters a demigod named Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson, otherwise known as The Rock) and battles ancient creatures, including an incredible character made out of molten lava. Oh, and she has a couple of adorable sidekicks in the form of a pig name Pau and an uppity rooster name Hei-Hei. It’s a story that’s totally new and yet utterly timeless, and the presentation, which included a pair of animated sequences (including one where Maui recounts his epic past and another where a young Moana wades into the ocean, who plays back with her), left us speechless (and a little weepy). After the presentation, there was a musical number from the film (composed by the team of Tony-winner Lin-Manuel Miranda, composer Mark Mancina (The Lion King) and Opetaia Foa’i (founder and lead singer of the world music award-winning band Te Vaka). Last D23 Expo, Idina Menzel came out and sang “Let It Go” for the first time, while snow showered down from the ceiling. This time, with a much more tropical spin, an equally magical memory was born.
A new logo for the film was unveiled, which you can see above, as we settle in for the very long wait until the film’s release, on November 23, 2016.