Is it too soon to say that #Disney is entering a new golden age? The release of Moana this week follows Zootopia and Finding Dory, the former in particular achieving the rare feat of warming the heart and saying something smart, to cap a brilliant 2016 for the studio the world associates with its favorite childhood movies.
If you're tempted to see #Moana, you should. The songs, co-written by Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda, are instant winners, The Rock is ridiculously good fun as the demigod Maui, and the visual world is simply breathtaking. But, if you already have, you might be wondering what else you could watch with the family to recapture the spirit of adventure. Where better to start than with another Disney classic?
As perfectly demonstrated by Moana, Disney's occasional explorations of cultures far removed from the West often result in movies that stand out among the studio's vast canon of classics. Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Elsa are all kind of cut from the same cloth, but Disney has no other heroine like Mulan, a warrior with a mission far more important than finding herself a prince.
A live-action remake is on the way, but it'll have a hard job matching this brilliant-animated action-fantasy.
Spirited Away (2001)
So long as subtitles aren't an issue, you'll find the stone-cold Studio Ghibli classic Spirited Away a worthy follow-up to Moana. It's difficult to condense the story into a simple premise without underselling it, but after 10-year-old heroine Chihiro crosses into a magical world and sees her parents turned into pigs, she finds herself on a mission to reverse the changes and get back home.
Finishing 4th in the BBC's list of the best movies of the 21st century this year, Spirited Away is a fantasy adventure truly unlike any other.
King Kong (2005)
The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit director Peter Jackson took the reins of King Kong in 2005 for a remake of the 1933 monster adventure, and the result was a three-hour epic (again set in the '30s) which shimmered with old Hollywood beauty, enhanced by very modern technology and breathtaking VFX.
Naomi Watts, on superb form, plays a struggling actress (not for the first time) who travels to Skull Island to shoot a movie. While there, she encounters the titular gorilla, a beast she first fears but soon befriends and comes to love. As you'd expect from Jackson, King Kong is an absolute assault on the senses, gorgeous to look at, joyous and, ultimately, heartbreaking.
The Secret World of Arrietty (2010)
Back to Studio Ghibli for The Secret World of Arrietty, in which Shō discovers a family of Borrowers, miniature human beings, living beneath the floors of his great aunt Sadako's home; soon, Shō befriends Arrietty, the youngest of the Borrowers. While the concept is cute, though, it's the intelligence of the young characters and the themes of confronting death which make Arrietty such a winner.
There are two dubbed English-language versions, one with an English cast and one voiced by Americans. The former with Saoirse Ronan is probably the better of the two, but the latter has Amy Poehler and Will Arnett, so you really can't go wrong.
The Jungle Book (2016)
122 years after Rudyard Kipling published his collection of stories inspired by his own time in India, Disney turned The Jungle Book into a live-action/CGI hybrid with a truly killer voice cast of Scarlett Johansson, Jon Favreau, Bill Murray and Idris Elba as the fearsome Shere Khan, sticking closely to the source material and delivering a genuinely enchanting adventure for a whole new generation. Adults, too, will be transported back to their childhoods by this superb remake.
Is Moana another Disney classic, or just a fun family film?