Moana is the very latest Disney movie that is released on 23rd of November 2016 (U.S), and 1st of December 2016, my place.
On Monday, 26th of December 2016, I went to see the movie with my family. I have to say that Moana really captured my interest and it was beyond my expectations.
Being accustomed to the usual Disney princess movies, we are bound to have our very own ideas and expectations, which involve the movie being heterosexual love-themed and having the princess-vibe. It is not foreign if I were to use the term ‘the damsel in distress’, and ‘the knight in shining armour’ when it comes to the typical Disney princess movies that we grew up with.
But Moana is different. It is more similar to Brave than anything else.
However, it is totally different than Brave. In Brave, Princess Emilda is a princess (obviously) but Moana in the other hand, is the daughter of the chief.
“You’re wearing a dress and you have an animal sidekick. You’re a princess,”
Quote Maui. Well, he did have a point. However, apart from not being a princess, Moana is more about restoring the ‘humanity’ rather than saving her family (Brave) or being saved from the evil witch. Although in this case, Moana did somehow save her island, along with her family.
Let me sum up the whole story for you, so that you won’t get confused.
Moana is the daughter of the chief, who lives on the island of Motunui. She is also the heir of her family crown. The people of Motunui, led by Moana’s father, were detained or prohibited from crossing or going ‘beyond the reef’ (you’ll hear this term countless of times when watching the movie). This means, the people of Motunui worked and carried their responsibility only on the island itself which involved, mainly, the plantation of coconut trees, extractions of coconut fruits, and fishing (never beyond the reef, only around the island).
It is a tradition, I presumed, for a storyteller to provide the smaller children with an ancient tale. In this movie, the storyteller is Moana’s own grandmother, Gramma Tala Waialiki, the self-proclaimed crazy lady of the island. She showed the same interest in the ocean, just like her granddaughter, Moana.
The movie starts off with the tale about a demigod named, Maui.
Long ago, there lived a goddess, called Te Fiti, who provided lives to the nature. And Maui was said to have stolen the heart of Te Fiti, and caused the darkness to be unleashed. The darkness had consumed all living things (plants) of most islands, and Motunui was one of those that were left in peace, which explains the existence of its inhabitants.
During his malevolent escape, with the stolen stone, Maui was confronted by a demon named Te Ka. This confrontation had caused Maui to lose his magic hook, along with the stone. Unless the heart of Te Fiti was restored, the darkness would continue to creep onto the remaining islands and engulf the living souls within.
In the process of story-telling, Gramma Tala Waialiki showed the pictures of the named demons to the kids of the island, including Moana, which caused them to scream and recoil in fear – one even fainted. But unlike the other kids, Moana seemed to be fascinated, rather than scared, by the story.
Since she was small, Moana had showed a keen interest in rather odd things, particularly the ocean. I’m not saying the ocean is odd, but living on the island of Motunui, an interest in the ocean is somehow peculiar.
I believe it is fine to say that this movie is somewhat fast-paced, owing to the fact the heart of Te Fiti was discovered in about 25 minutes into the film. The ocean itself brought the heart of Te Fiti towards little Moana when she wandered to the beach alone. And devastated as I was, it was let go by Moana and once again seemed to be missing. But behold, you never know what happens next unless you continue watching, or in this case, reading.
As the year went by, Moana grew up into a beautiful young lady. Sophisticated, bright, outgoing and wise – everything that it takes to be the next leader of the village. However, even though she had grown up, her interest in the ocean had never changed over time. Moana even followed her grandmother’s ocean-dancing ritual.
One day, the villagers faced some strange obstacles. The food supply on the island of Motunui seemed to decrease – the coconut flesh were rotten, and there weren’t any fish left around the island. Moana, being the heir, suggested some helpful comments that had gained her the villagers’ respect.
However, Moana’s latest suggestion had been misinterpreted by her father, causing them to argue. This, eventually, leads to Moana’s mother telling her about her father’s fear. He had once tried to sail beyond the reef, and by doing so, he lost his best friend (they went together and while the boat was caught between the big waves, his best friend drowned. He didn’t get to save him on time.)
Later, Moana started singing the theme song ‘How Far I’ll Go – Auli’i Cravalho‘ and she got caught up within the lyrics. Eventually, Moana went into the ocean and for once, beyond the reef. It was as bad as it could be. The waves were big and strong, slamming onto the sides of the boat, causing it to lose it balance. The impact caused Moana and her animal sidekicks to be thrown off the boat and into the ocean.
In contrast to her father, Moana actually did manage to save her ‘best friends’ from the raging sea and she safely led them all back to the shore.
This is where the real story starts. When she was back, soaking wet with seawater, Moana met her grandmother and asked her not to tell her father anything. In reply, her grandmother made a humorous remark, “I’m his mother, I don’t have to tell him anything.”
And the story goes on until Moana met her grandmother one fine night, and her grandmother told her everything. She gave Moana the heart of Te Fiti – the stone – that she’d kept inside the locket of her necklace since the day Moana dropped the stone.
“The ocean chose you,” said Grandma Tala Waialiki.
She also told Moana that their ancestors were once voyagers. Well, not technically. She asked Moana to go into the cave and see for herself. Anyway, it was that, that made it clear for Moana. She knew what she needed to do.
She went to her father and told him about their ancestors. Her father was outraged at her telling – it was against their norms anyway. Moana’s father tossed the stone away as they walked down the alley, bickering.
Moana found her grandmother’s walking stick inside the forest when she went to retrieve the stone. Her grandmother was dying.
Let me just get it straight to the point.
It was that moment that shaped Moana into the person she was. Her grandmother told her to go, to achieve her dream, to restore the heart of Te Fiti. After urging her, she did go.
Her grandmother died as soon as Moana went on the boat and was sailing on the sea. However, her grandmother would still be around, since her spirit had formed itself in the form of a stingray (like the tattoo she had).
Moana is a great story, because it shows how you can actually achieve your dream, and why you should do so. It also promotes positivity.
During the way, Moana did give up, as she was dumped by Maui (caused by their failure during the first attempt of restoring the stone, but Maui came back guys dont worry).
What really inspiring about this film is that, Moana’s determination didn’t seem to waver or decrease at all. Well, being a human, of course, we all have our breaking points and so did Moana, but she didn’t let it consume her – her emotion. Her perseverance is really strong, which earned her the rights to be a role model, or someone we don’t mind our children to look up to.
This film shows how important it is to keep going, how crucial it is to say no the hands that pull us back to our starting points. We should never give up, especially when we’re so close to the finishing line.
That is exactly what Moana did. She kept going (with the persuasion and advises from her ancestors’ and grandmother’s spirits).
Following 2013 Frozen film, Moana is another Disney original animation princess that does not need a knight-in-a-shining-armour to save her. Instead, she went to find the man (Maui). And in this case, Maui was more of her companion than a ‘boyfriend’ or a ‘husband-to-be’.
Maui gave her hard times, and also, knowledge, for at first, she didn’t even know how to sail. But with the help of Maui (after much persuasion and threats), he taught her stuff she needed to know.
The journey of these two is both intriguing and entertaining, especially with the presence of Moana’s peculiar pet chicken.
I guess that is all I’ve got to say about Moana (2016) film. I would totally recommend this motivating film to anyone who will listen.
I’d rate this film 4.9 stars.