Disney’s “Moana” is an out of the box original
By Elizabeth Casella, Managing Editor
The Disney franchise is known for their famous princesses. The first princess brought to life was Snow White in 1937. This is when the world was introduced to the Disney princess fantasy that would then lead to decade’s worth of new princesses stories.
The newest princess to be added to the Disney series is Moana voiced by Auli’i Cravalho. She is the 12th princess since 1937, and her origins remain in question. It was rumored that she was Hawaiian, but it is actually historically accurate for her to be Samoan instead. This makes her not the first Disney princess of color, but builds on that reputation following, Jasmine (Aladdin), Pocahontas, Mulan, and Tiana (The Princess and the Frog). On Nov. 26, viewers were introduced to Moana this Samoan mystery and her story.
The movie opens with Grandma Tala, voiced by Rachel House, telling a story to a group of children from the island about the island Goddess Te Fiti, and how her heart had the power to give life. A demigod named Maui, voiced by Dwayne Johnson, who was a shape shifter, stole the heart. Without her heart, the goddess began to crumble and all the life she had created was overcome by darkness. The Lava monster Te Ka attacks Maui. He looses his hook and the heart, and is stranded on an island.
A thousand years later, Grandma Tala tells how she believes one day the sea will choose someone who will find Maui, his hook, and the heart of Te Fiti, and will return them to the island to restore the creation of life and save the world from darkness.
Moana, being one of the small children hearing this story starts to believe. She has always been drawn to the sea and as a toddler travels to the shoreline where the water reveals the heart to her and chooses her for this adventure. The story then is transported into the teen years of Moana. She is torn between being the chief that will help her people and make them proud, and listening to her heart and traveling the sea. She eventually answers the call of the ocean and travels to find Maui so that they can save the world together.
This movie is a fun and unconventional Disney film. It has new animation features that many are not used to seeing in classic Disney princess films, with dancing tattoos and transporting into imaginary imagery during cute and catchy songs. The theme of this film, like most Disney princess films have, is finding out who you really are and staying true to that instead of trying to fight it and be unhappy. It is very inspiring and uplifting, while still having cute songs for children like a crab that just wants to be shiny.
In the end, the film directed by Ron Clements, Don Hall, John Musker, and Chris William was definitely enjoyable for all ages. It shows an epic journey of a demigod and mortal working together to save the world, while showing that if one sets their mind to something, they can find the power within to achieve it.
Disney’s Moana is rated PG, runs 1 hour 53 minutes, and is currently in theaters nationwide.