Directors: Ron Clements, John Musker. Voices: Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House. USA 2016. 113 mins.
On the mythical and mystical island of Motuni in the South Pacific lives the titular Moana (delightful newcomer Cravalho), daughter of the tribal chief and last in a long line of navigators. Her family have long since abandoned their fabled oceanic adventuring, but with encouragement from her grandma (House), the teenage Moana sets off to sea in search of a mysterious island, accompanied by a spiky demigod (Johnson) and a pet rooster. In their first digital animation – which involved much specially written software – and with a starry voice cast including actors with Pacific island roots, legendary Disney directors Clements and Musker (Aladdin, The Little Mermaid) have created a visually stunning work, adding music and humour to the tale of an unlikely but endearing friendship.
Directors: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane.
Voices: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Hayden Rolence. USA 2016. 103 mins.
Following on from 2003’s hit animated aquatic adventure Finding Nemo, the amnesiac regal blue tang Dory (voiced as before by Ellen DeGeneres) unexpectedly recovers some childhood memories, prompting her to set out to find her family. Accompanied by her friends Nemo (Rolence) and Marlin (Brooks), she swims to California’s Monterey Marine Life Institute, where she meets bolshie octopus Hank (Ed O’Neill), beluga whale Bailey (Ty Burrell) and whale shark Destiny (Kaitlin Olson), who agree to help her in her quest. With Finding Nemo writer-director Andrew Stanton also returning along with his Wall-E and Toy Story colleague Angus MacLane as co-director, this magical, beautifully rendered tale of rediscovery also affirms the importance of family.
Gratuity ‘Tip’ Tucci (Rihanna) is a canny teenager who managed to avoid capture when the world was conquered by an alien race known as the Boov. She accidentally befriends Oh (Parsons, The Big Bang Theory), a rascally young Boov outcast who has annoyed many of his Boov peers.
Having become firm friends, the pair set out on a fun, action-packed road trip which might well help to make the Boov-run planet a far better place.
Famed for such animated classics as ANTZ and SINBAD, director Tim Johnson applies cutting-edge visual technology to Adam Rex’s bestselling novel The True Meaning of Smekday, and adds star names such as Steve Martin and Jennifer Lopez to what will surely be another digital blockbuster for DreamWorks.
This Pixar's computer-animated story evokes the classic fairy-tale formula of Disney's early hand-drawn gems. Set in the rugged, emerald wilds of the ancient Scottish Highlands, BRAVE follows a young princess named Merida as she challenges tradition and faces her destiny head on.
A skilled archer and a feisty free spirit, Merida is determined to break free from the patriarchal shackles of her father's kingdom, and causes a stir among the citizens when she participates in a long-established archery contest. Amidst the ensuing commotion she turns to an eccentric old Wise Woman and is granted a wish that will plunge everyone she holds dear into danger. With a dark curse unleashed, Merida will have to muster all of her strength and courage to restore harmony to the land.
With big dreams of becoming a musician, 12-year-old guitarist Miguel (Gonzalez) sets out to solve the mystery behind his family’s age-old ban on music. His adventures take him and his trusty dog Dante to the dazzlingly colourful Land of the Dead. Here, the young hero is met by a trickster skeleton Héctor (Bernal), and together they work hard to lift the musical curse. But will Miguel manage to make it back to the real world intact and will he solve the ancestral mystery? Pixar brings us another stunning family animation, masterfully directed by Lee Unkrich and co-directed by Adrian Molina. This time it’s Day of the Dead-themed and packed with magical skeletons, vibrant Mexican tradition, mischievous dogs and raucous celebrations. A truly captivating coming-of-age film with the family and a sense of humour at its heart.
Nominated for the Best Animated Feature Oscar at the 2010 Academy Awards, THE SECRET OF KELLS is a charming, traditionally animated comedy adventure with an impressive voice cast. The action takes place in ninth-century Ireland, where Viking marauders have forced inhabitants of the Abbey of Kells to erect a huge wall to defend their land. Abbot Cellach (Gleeson, PERRIER'S BOUNTY) expects his nephew Brendan (McGuire) to continue protecting the township, but a mysterious manuscript illuminator (Lally, ALEXANDER) rolls into town with unfinished scrolls and urges Brendan to embark on a quest with him. Filled with peril, their trip takes them far and wide to an enchanted forest where mythical creatures dwell, and here Brendan learns that in order to complete the book he must first face his greatest fears.