All About Moana

Disney is successful once again with their Thanksgiving debuts with their newest box office hit, “Moana“! It grossed over $56 million on their opening weekend and is now at $104 million lifetime worldwide with expectations to reclaim the top spot again this weekend.  Although the movie fell short of the $85 million expected in their 5 day debut in comparison to the $93 million “Frozen” brought in 2013, “Moana” in 3D was exceptional!
Although the movie is named after the main character, “Moana” (voice of Auli’i Cravalho) which means, “ocean” in Hawaiian, the movie was not focused on the island state at all. It actually incorporated pieces of different cultural heritages to create it’s own fantasy world following the Disney style. It has always been my fear, from past experiences, that when movies take on a cultural theme that a few things happen which disappoints and loses viewers: 1. Many times the cultural vocabulary chosen for a film are usually too difficult for anyone to pronounce or even remember, but this did NOT happen here! The creators did a great job by using identifiers like “Grandma” to precede the simple name “Tala”. In addition, they selected names that seemed fun for a child to say like, “Tui” or “Tamatoa”.  2. It has happened more than a handful of times that when a film takes on a specific cultural theme, it is not interpreted correctly and/or out right offends the viewers of that specific ethnicity. That did not happen here! Awesome job of being culturally sensitive and setting the tone early on that this is a Fantasy world as you will see while watching this in 3D.

As the movie opens, the audience is introduced to an adorable toddler “Moana” being playful and very comfortable near the ocean. The scenery invites the viewer into her world with such a real feeling through 3D.  The “honu” (in Hawaiian) or “sea turtle” that will glide past you and baby “Moana” will be the treat that pulls you into the movie and keeps you there until the end! The animation was excellent and the musical numbers are fun and balanced with the movie’s pace where the audience would not be subjected to listening to a thousand songs. A few musical numbers with a strong message added value to the film.
Now for the storyline. The journey you will take with Disney’s heroine is one of empowerment. As you see her grow and develop from a child to a strong leader. “Moana” is born a chief’s daughter and is expected to take over as a leader of her village one day. Our main character struggles with doing what is expected of her versus what she feels is the right thing to do. In the eyes of her parents and the villagers, she is expected to stay on the island, place her rock at the top of the mountain, and assume her role as their leader.  However, the island begins to face challenges of famine and natural destructions which she learns from both the ocean and her grandmother “Tala” (Voice of Rachel House) that they are cursed because of what the demi-god “Maui” (voice of Dwayne Johnson) did many years ago.  He stole the “Heart of Te fiti”.  She expresses her ideas of how she would handle the problems by leaving the island to her father, but he dismissed it as just her excuse to satisfy her longing to sail on the ocean.  “Moana” exhibits the typical growing pains all teenagers face as she challenges her parents. She then runs off following her own passion to be faced by a tough, cruel, and unforgiving world on her own.

Although “Moana” does team up with “Maui” the journey is all her own! She demands him to take back the “heart of Te fiti” to make things right so her village can thrive and survive again. In the end, the audience realizes that the strong, handsome, charismatic demi-god “Maui”(voice of Dwayne Johnson) is like many of the men young women will come across in life who will steal their heart like he did to Te fiti.

However, the lesson learned is that with other strong women to support her, like “Moana”, the beast that Te fiti became without her heart can still be softened with a simple apology from the one who turned her into the mean beast by the charismatic “Maui” (voice of Dwayne Johnson) stealing her heart.
The subtle messages in this story that is being spoken to the subconscious minds of all young little girls are positive and strong. All daddys need to take their little girls to see this movie! The struggles that “Moana” face are real to life for all, from identifying who they are, what is expected of them, and how to be confident in the decisions they will make in life.

I believe this movie is one to own.  The story hits the heart of us all and inspires our young. 

My assessment of this film is a no brainer, “MUST SEE”! This is Loyal Bloodline, blogging for “Your friendly neighborhood nerds”. You can learn more about us and our clothing line at Loyal Bloodline Clothing.

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