Book Review: “The Art of Moana” is Highly Recommended for “Moana” Film Fans

Every time a new film from Walt Disney Animation Studios comes out, I look forward to picking up the newest “The Art of” book. From The Art of Zootopia to The Art of Tangled or The Art of Frozen and so many more, I’m guaranteed to always purchase the newest book of concept art from the latest film. And so I did with The Art of Moana, as soon as it lowered in price (the list is $40, the book has been changing price every day this past week, but less than list). The Art of Moana is probably my favorite of all “The Art of” books.

During the summer, I was able to attend a press day for Moana in Burbank. A lot of what we learned during those sessions is in The Art of Moana. From renderings of Moana to the look of the foliage and how Maui was designed – there is a chock full of information here. Concept art is shown on almost every page, and the book emphasizes the research that went into making the film. The cutest chapter includes art of Pua and Heihei. Pua the pig is adorable, soft and round. Heihei is everything Pua is not. The book features different looks that the artists came up with for Pua, who wasn’t quite as cute in initial concepts. Heihei almost didn’t make it into the film at all, but he ended up being a much bigger presence than Pua.

Also shown in the book is how the ocean was brought to life…anthroporphized, an actual character in the film. Water and hair have been much more difficult to animate properly, but Moana took the challenge to do both to the fullest.

Early designs of demigod Maui bore little resemblance to the character that emerged, who has some facial expressions from Dwayne Johnson, who plays Maui in the film.

Tamotoa the crab has 4 pages here, and includes information on what type of crab he is (coconut) and what inspired the character being a collector.

There is a preface by John Lasseter, along with a foreward by Ron Clements and John Musker (they are the incredible team not only behind Moana, but some of Disney’s biggest animated films ever, including The Little Mermaid and Aladdin).

I highly recommend The Art of Moana for anyone who loves the film and wants to learn more about it.

This review includes Amazon affiliate links.