Disney artists Ron Clements and John Musker first crossed paths working on 1981’s THE FOX AND THE HOUND, as supervising and character animators, respectively. It was the beginning of one of the most fruitful partnerships in animation history. After making their directorial debuts together on THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE, the two teamed to write and direct THE LITTLE MERMAID; the adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale about a young mermaid who falls in love with a human helped spark a renaissance in Disney animation. The pair’s follow-up, ALADDIN, was an even bigger hit, its Oscar-winning music and brilliant voiceover performance by Robin Williams entertaining millions around the globe.
The latest film from Disney’s dynamic duo is MOANA. Inspired by research trips to the Pacific Islands, the film follows the titular teen as she reclaims her seafaring heritage, sailing from her island home to save her people with a little help from a demigod (voiced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson). It’s Clements and Musker’s first foray into CG animation, but as the film’s memorable songs, sense of humor and appealing characters make clear, it’s cut from the same cloth as the pair’s earlier classics.
Series compiled by Gwen Deglise. Program notes by John Hagelston.