We asked Disney for more diversity and Disney answered. Three years after the release of Frozen, Disney’s first Polynesian princess movie, Moana, set sail on Thanksgiving, and we are all thankful for it.
Fans crazed about the movie since the first rumor appeared just over six months prior to the release of the first official trailer, and ever since the hype has not died down.
According to Forbes.com, Moana made $82 million dollars in its debut weekend, earning it a spot in the 10 highest debut films.
This story takes viewers through the life of Moana, a Polynesian princess who is called to the water despite her father forbidding her to do so (alongside her partners in crime, Pua, her faithful pig, and Hei Hei, her deranged chicken).
It starts off with the story of Maui, a demigod, who stole the stone of life and cursed the islands. Baby Moana (who everyone just fell in love with) hears this story and is captured by the tale and adventure. When Moana grew older, she saw her own island starting to slowly lose life as a result of Maui stealing the stone, and decided to start a journey to find Maui and put the stone where it belongs.
With help from native Hawaiians and multiple trips to different islands to capture the myths, Disney truly did their research in making this animated tale. They even casted the two main characters, Moana and Maui, with island actors: Auli’i Cravalho and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Disney also added a song in full Hawaiian to accompany the ethnicity of the movie.
This family fun movie incorporates themes present in other Disney movies as well (Maui is similar to the Genie in Aladdin – shapeshifting, sarcastic helpers of the protagonist. Moana is similar to Ariel from The Little Mermaid – both wide eyed girls who seek more from life than the village they’re in, and whose fathers have forbidden them. The water, who protects Moana, is like a fairy godmother in Cinderella. And the useless, crazy chicken that seems to survive everything that the producers have thrown at him… well he reminds audiences of the lucky cricket in Mulan).
This adventurous tale is an extremely entertaining, funny, touching, and all-around incredibly made film that leaves audiences rushing back to theaters to see it just one more time.