The story takes some agreeably bizarre turns. Moana’s ancestors send her a dream-like vision of their past seagoing travels. Also veering from the script a bit is Dwayne Johnson-voiced Maui, who’s much more a rogue-like foil than a prince-like hero.
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On Motunui, a small island in Polynesia, young Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) is being raised to lead, but dreams of nautical adventure instead. Offhand lines between Moana and Maui flicker with feminism: I am NOT a princess,” she snaps at him. I am the daughter of the chief.” When Maui describes himself as a hero of men,” he’s quick to add, and women.” Small details, perhaps, but for little girls seeing themselves in a Disney heroine, words matter. What’s more, there’s no romantic storyline here, another welcome departure from the someday-my-prince-will-come norm.
Critics Consensus: With a title character as three-dimensional as its lush animation and a story that adds fresh depth to Disney’s time-tested formula, Moana is truly a family-friendly adventure for the ages. Sail the Pacific Islands in search of destiny and the demigod Maui in this retelling of Disney Moana.
The Polynesian island of Motanui is dying. It’s supplied its people with everything they needed for generations, but resources have begun to mysteriously dwindle. Moana, the teenaged daughter of the island chief, ventures beyond the reef to find the demigod Maui for his help saving the island. This is a classic Disney adventure movie, but Moana” manages to encapsulate extraordinary heart and emotion through its fiercely independent heroine, quick-witted humor and Polynesian spirit.
Above all, though, Moana feels like the endpoint of the slow-burn modernization process that Walt Disney Animation started shortly after the Disney Renaissance kicked off. The Little Mermaid revived the studio’s reputation for memorable animation, songs, and stories, but Beauty and the Beast started bringing its old stories into a modern era, by giving its heroines personality beyond the traditional I Want” song, and agency that wasn’t usurped as soon as the bland love interest entered the picture. It’s been a slow road to self-realization for Disney heroines, but the old tropes have steadily been strengthened through films like Mulan, Lilo & Stitch, The Princess and the Frog, Tangled, Zootopia, and Frozen.
They also threw in a little toilet humor when an outstretched Maui tells Moana that warmer water means she’s going the right way Technically pee humor is on level for my 8-year-old, but let’s face it, potty jokes will always be funny at any age.
Also like Frozen, it’s got some mighty music, thanks in no small measure to the involvement of Broadway smash Lin-Manuel Miranda. There are some parallels between this and the musical that made him famous: both Moana and Hamilton involve someone leaving a tropical island to achieve greatness (you could call this Clamilton), and both feature earworming anthems of empowerment (We Know The Way, featuring Miranda himself on pipes duty, is the one you’ll be humming two days later). It’s also hard to resist Johnson singing Miranda‘s You’re Welcome: an ode to egotism that is simultaneously a perfect storm of delightfulness.
Hawaiian native Auli’i Cravalho, 15, has landed the coveted role as the voice of Moana. She’s a newcomer, but get to know the name, because she’ll now have a place in history as the voice of a Disney title character. When she stopped in New York to talk about her role, she offered this clever breakdown about how to pronounce her name.
From the heartfelt humor of Finding Dory” and the thoughtful inspiration of Zootopia” to the visually striking Kubo and the Two Strings” and the kooky cuteness of The Secret Life of Pets,” 2016 has undoubtedly been a banner year for animated feature films.
Now, most folks on Moana’s island would likely insist that outsized tale is nothing more than a silly myth. Of course, they’d also claim that the steady deterioration spreading through their part of the Pacific is nothing either. The fish disappearing, the lush foliage turning brown, the coconuts rotting on the trees—all this has nothing to do with an island god’s missing heart, they would say.
Knowing that, it becomes clear that the prehistory of Polynesia and founding legends (Maui is supposed to have created the Polynesian islands himself and tamed the Sun) will be a central part of the story. Especially when you know that leading theories about human settlements in the South Pacific state that the Polynesian people was born by differentiating from the Lapita civilization around the years 1500-1000 BC. In this period, the Polynesian culture, language and even physical appearance were established.
Moana agrees and takes Reetur with her. Again, After sailing for a few days, they see another island, that is not pictured on any map. It’s called The Lost Island. Just when they get close to the island, a giant crab rises from the water, revealing that the crab is Tamatoa. He whistles and a large boat starts getting close to him. It reveals the Kakamora. They all want to stop Moana from entering the only island with coconuts. Then, Moana and Reetur make it through the two oponents, but the Kakamora boat accidentally impales Tamatoa and the boat along with the Kakamora gets sinked down to the ocean.Moana starts slowly falling in love with Reetur.
In the film, their vessels resemble Mad Max meets the Tiki Barge,” complete with coconut palms growing on them. Disney’s Kakamora are mean, relentless at getting what they want, and full of sophisticated technology. And utterly silly at the same time.
Moana and Maui proceed to Lolotai, the proverbial underworld and realm of monsters in the movie, in order to retrieve Maui’s magic hook from Tamatoa, a giant, greedy crab who hoards treasure. In order to retrieve the magic hook, Maui sends Moana into Tamatoa’s chamber as a distraction so Maui can sneak in and grab his hook off of Tomatoa’s back. However, when Maui tries to get the hook Tomatoa notices him, and attacks him and Moana. Right as Tomatoa is about to defeat Maui, Moana tricks Tomatoa with a stone which she has made to look like the heart of Te Fiti. Tomatoa springs at the stone trying to add it to his collection, but Maui grabs his hook and escapes with Moana as Tomatoa is distracted.
Part of getting lost in Moana’s world is honestly appreciating the culture at its center, as the film may be Disney’s most committed effort yet to accurately depict the lifestyle of the setting its animators have parachuted into. The studio recruited Pacific Islander talent and researchers, which it deemed the ” Oceanic Trust ,” to aid in its depiction of the region. So characters break into hula or war dances without needing to tell us what they’re doing, and their natural, non-stagey interactions let us feel comfortable among them. The film achieves what the best Disney animated features do: a sense of place that is refined and specific.
Moana’s grandmother Tala shows her a secret cave of ships, revealing that their people were voyagers until Maui stole Te Fiti’s heart; the ocean was no longer safe without it. Tala explains that Te Kā’s darkness is poisoning the island, but can be cured if Moana finds Maui and makes him restore the heart of Te Fiti, which she gives to Moana. Tala falls ill and, on her death bed, tells Moana that she must depart to find Maui.
Aside from the captivating characters, one of the biggest assets of Moana” is the beautiful depiction of Polynesian culture. Rather than being a side note, the traditions and folklore of the Pacific Islands occupy a central part of Moana.” The influence of Polynesian culture is also heard in the music written by Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton”), Opetaia Foa’i and Mark Mancina. For example, the song We Know the Way” is played when Moana discovers her ancestors’ ocean voyages; the dynamic beat combined with singers performing in their native tongue creates a bold, poignant sequence that makes you want to sail from island to island. Indeed, more than any other Disney movie, Moana” pays respect to the culture of its characters without stereotyping.
From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes Moana, an epic adventure about a spirited teen who sets sail on a daring mission to prove herself a master wayfinder and fulfill her ancestorsÃ¢ÂÂ unfinished quest. During her journey, Moana (AuliÃ¢ÂÂi Cravalho) meets the once mighty demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson), and together they cross the ocean on a fun-filled, action-packed voyage, encountering enormous sea creatures, breathtaking underworlds and impossible odds. Along the way, Moana discovers the one thing sheÃ¢ÂÂs always sought: her own identity.
And that’s a story Disney knows how to tell very well. A Polynesian man is shown getting a painful tattoo. Additionally, most of the men in the movie have tattoos (because it’s part of their culture). Maui gets a tattoo to commemorate every adventure he has.
Disney has definitely heard the cry from Millennial parents everywhere , and they’ve started to revamp the traditional image of a Disney Princess. They started with Mulan, Merida, and Tiana, and now they’ve continued the feminist movement with Moana.
The fictional movie takes place 3,000 years ago in the islands of Polynesia, an area that includes Hawaii, Tonga and Tahiti. The star is 16-year-old Moana, voiced by Hawaiian actress Auli’i Cravalho, who goes on an ocean voyage with Maui, voiced by Dwayne The Rock” Johnson.
Aaron and Jordan Kandell joined the project during a critical period to help deepen the emotional story architecture of the film. They are credited with developing the core relationship between Moana and Maui, the prologue, the Cave of the Wayfinders, the Kakamora, and the collector crab Tamatoa (played by Jemaine Clement ). 29 Jared Bush received sole credit as the writer of the final version of the screenplay.
Disney’s Moana is set on the fictional island of Motunui. She is selected to sail and return the heart of Te Fiti, an island goddess, after it is stolen by the demigod Maui to give mankind the power of creation. Te Feti’s heart is symbolized in a pounamu stone amulet which is lost to the depths. After Te Feti’s heart is stolen, she becomes the lava demon Te Ka and curses Motunui a millennium later, resulting in a blight.