[UPDATE: I have removed the image by request. I have been told that it wasn't, in fact, for Moana, though I can certainly tell you appropriate it is to the film. And you can trust the story details below, they're bonafide, verified and direct from my own personal sources.]
While the studio doesn't seem to have settled entirely on the look for Moana, this next film from John Musker and Ron Clements, the directors of Treasure Planet and The Little Mermaid, is expected to try some new, ambitious techniques. Remember how Paperman tried a new blend of the hand-drawn and the digital? The artists behind Moana have been playing around with similar, though notably different, cutting edge software and systems, seeing how much is ready for application to a full-length feature.
There's no evidence of the tech here in this concept art, of course, but it's still an interesting tease of some of the style, if only in an early development phase.
REMOVED BY REQUST
That seems to have started doing the rounds on a Mexican blog but actually seems to trace back to the website of its artist, Sue Nichols. We previously mentioned Nichols when discussing Disney's aborted film of Terry Pratchett's Mort.
[UPDATE: Credit to Animation Heroine for finding the above image]
We're a long way out from Moana, with its release unlikely to happen before 2018. The look of the film could change an awful lot in the meantime, and that's always worth bearing in mind.
And the story could change too, so for now, I'll sit on most of the fine detail I have about this film's narrative. I will tell you, though, that it's an epic, or even mythic, adventure set around 2000 years ago and across a series of islands in the South Pacific.
The lead character, Moana Waialiki is the only daughter of a Chief in a long line of navigators. She's really a bit of nerd, but a nerd about sea voyaging, and when her family need her help, she sets off on an epic journey. Some of the other characters are demi-gods and spirits drawn from real mythology.
I think Moana is shaping up to be really quite tremendous. Stay tuned for more… over the next five years or so.