I cannot help but feel like I’ve already written something about Moana, that I’ve gushed about it somewhere…
But I can’t find it, so clearly I must do it again.
Let’s start with: I was not expecting such an epic Disney princess to emerge last year, which is silly of me, because aren’t all Disney’s princesses epic? (Even the ones who aren’t considered official princesses! Moana is the chieftain’s daughter, after all.)
Moana of Motonui has been chosen by the Ocean to play a very special part in Disney’s film: the Hero. She’s not waiting for a hero to come find her and rescue her, and Moana (the movie) isn’t about that at all. Moana is about Moana rescuing herself. Well, rescuing everyone else– and rescuing herself by proxy. About growing up, and doing the right thing even though the right thing is hard. About being stubborn, and sticking to your guns, and believing in yourself.
So much of this movie is about believing in yourself.
Born the chief’s only child, Moana stands to inherit leadership of her tribe. He’s been training her for that role her whole life. There’s just one little problem: she’d really rather… not stay on land for it. She doesn’t want to. She tries really hard not to not want to, but she doesn’t want to. It works about as well as expected. Which goes over about as well as anybody could have thought it would. Because nobody goes beyond the cove, and nobody truly leaves the island.
The whole thing is set in Ancient Polynesia, and I’m no expert in the culture, the location, the mythology– but I understand the people who crafted the movie and plot went out of their way to learn those things from the people immersed in them. I know that they also collected local talent for the voice acting, which boosts it to an A+ for me.
One of the interesting things was the music. There’s at least one entire song that never got translated to English, which gives the whole thing very much a more realistic feel to it, and I was very proud of that fact. All too often I feel that I’m not invested enough in things, but that one song being beyond me– I don’t know the words, but the words didn’t matter. I didn’t have to know the lyrics to get drawn up in it.
Also “You’re Welcome” is going to haunt me for years.