Moana Sets on an Adventure With VFS Grads

By VFS Web Team, on November 23, 2016

Moana opens in theatres today, offering audiences a beautiful, animated escape from everyday life. Who doesn’t want to embrace the warmth of a Pacific island in this chilly Canadian weather of ours? Or sing along to catchy songs composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda? If you think Disney is just for kids, you’re plain wrong.

Moana follows a conventional formula – not that there’s anything wrong with that -- but there are some alterations at play. Reviewers have noted that Moana’s figure is more rounded than previous Disney princesses, offering a better representation of what a 16-year-old girl might look like. Moana is also without the typical love interest driving her every whim. She’s motivated by one goal: saving her island home. When the sea gifts Moana with the stone heart of goddess Te Fiti – the same one stolen and lost by demigod Maui -- she sets sail to find Maui in hopes of restoring what has been lost. *Cue adventure music!

Like every other Disney film, Moana has a standout cast. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson plays demigod Maui, a character who is uncommitted to helping Moana execute her plan and suffers from a lack of confidence since losing his magical fishhook. There’s plenty going on, providing Johnson with more than enough to reel in a witty and vibrant performance. In the titular role, young Hawaiin actress Auli‘i Cravalho delights in her first film ever. Not a bad launch into the acting sphere, huh? We saw a behind the scenes feature and caught a glimpse of Auli’i in the recording booth. She’s wonderful, channeling her youthfulness like a pro and WHOA can she sing.

Part of the fun of going to see Disney films in the theatre is getting to experience the original short film that plays before it. Continuing the tradition is “Inner Workings.” Here’s a sneak peek:

Congrats to the Vancouver Film School grads from 3D Animation + Visual Effects and Sound Design for Visual Media who helped bring the visual splendor of Moana to life. They are:

Maia Neubig (Character TD)
Andrew Lawson (Animator)
Jonathan Borland (Sound Effects Editor)

Congrats, all! We can’t wait to see it!

*If we've missed any alumni in this post, please email us at and we'll be happy to update!