Last week saw the release of Disney’s newest animated film Moana (Musker and Clements 2016), another great addition to Disney’s non-Pixar animated films alongside Zootopia (Howard and Moore 2016) and Frozen (Buck and Lee 2013).
The titular character Moana (Auli’i Carvalho) is the daughter of a chief of a Polynesian tribe, who is being prepared to become the tribe’s next leader. However, she has always had a taste for adventure and wants to explore beyond the island’s shore. Then, when the island is being eaten away by a mysterious, shadowed force that is depleting their resources, Moana takes her chance to travel beyond her island to seek the help of Maui (Dwayne Johnson), a mighty demigod. Together, they go on a journey to bring the heart of Te Fiti, a green gem capable of creating life, back to its owner to restore the islands’ prosperity.
The film's main protagonists have a substantial character arc that shows that the filmmakers put care into writing them. Moana and Maui are both trying to find their respective purpose in the world. Moana’s parents chose her to be the village’s next chieftain while Maui was chosen by the gods to have immense power. Through their adventures, they both learn to use the talents and abilities to save Moana’s village and the rest of the world from the consuming shadows. In the end, they learn that who they are lies in their infallible purpose and not their limited abilities. Moana is an original and enjoyable Disney film with plenty of love and care put into it, and it is a highlight of Disney animation for 2016.
Robinson, Joanna. “How Pacific Islanders Helped Disney’s Moana Find Its Way.” Vanity Fair, 16 Nov. 2016. Date Accessed 29 Nov. 2016. www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/11/moana-oceanic-trust-disney-controversy-pacific-islanders-polynesia