1 thought on “Today’s Movie: Moana


    Sorry, yelling over the sound of waves and gulls and awesome and stuff…

    Seriously, want to see what you thought oh Excellent Disney Fan.

    Don’t read this till you’ve seen it though.. SPOILERS

    I did a bunch of background reading and other research and the thing that impressed me most was:

    A. Disney doing their research, or at least as much as they could. Oceanic Trust.
    B. Kiwi/Poly artists like Opetaia Foa’i putting their foot down when Something Wasn’t Done Right.
    C. Te Vaka in general., They rule. OMG I just ordered four CDs. Without a clue what’s on them. Just… Te Vaka, gee that’s a nice cover…
    D. Lin Manuel Miranda is apparently a genius.
    E. Entire film is a fabulous tropical vacation in the middle of blearghwinterbleargh.
    F. Female hero. Not a warrior. No romance. Future Chief/Navigator (the responsibilities are similar).
    G. Navigator in We Know the Way echoing an illustration from Hawaiki Rising (about the first real voyaging canoe built in centuries).
    H. All the songs. Especially the Polynesian chants and rhythms and things and stuffs. OMG.
    I. The wonderful background characters; diverse in age size, shape, face… just gorgeous and believable.
    J. Want to visit Motenui, want to sail on that ancestral fleet.
    K. The story within the story: in We Know the Way, a young navigator is seen throughout, and at the end he inherits the Necklace of Navigation thing, and gets his own exploratory fleet.
    L. His boat, with fish on the sail, is in Moana’s cavern. His necklace is the one Gramma Tala is wearing. the one Moana inherits and places the Heart in.
    M. As in Kubo, the villain is not defeated by warrior skills, but transformed by a song.
    N. Maui. Just Maui. Despite the problems of doing a mythic character/ancestor/culture hero beloved by half the planet as a cartoon, he is a totally relatable character ( I will not speak of the inordinate number of toys, eh, collectibles…I got). Also I note several male commentators weighing in on the character design and pointing out that he is not fat, he is broad, muscular and barrel chested (also see: Stoic the Vast in HTTYD, and King Fergus in Brave). I note that most of the criticism came from females. I happen to prefer the lean Elvish type, but… I love Maui.
    O. The chicken. It lives. Dumbest joke ever. And somehow most remarkably effective.
    P. That big giant efffffing waka leaping over the waves at the beginning of We Know the Way… the whole song sums up the awesome history of the Polynesian voyagers nicely, but that one shot of the waka… WHHHHHOOOOO HOOOOO!!!
    Q. We see Moana practicing her skills for her eventual chiefhood. We also see her learning skills as a wayfinder. Not just, “oh, hey I picked up this lightsaber and I’m pretty good at it…”
    R. Baby Moana. aaaaaaauuuuuuugggghhhh… no, there is no actual reason for me to buy a baby doll….
    S. Baby Moana listening to Gramma Tala tell tales while everyone else faints.
    T. The chicken is more than a punchline, he points out Moana’s empathic qualities. Also, it’s kind of boring to watch our hero talking to herself on a boat…
    U. Te Vaka means “the canoe”. They are awesome.
    V. Sharing not only the culture and history here, but the languages. How many others are trying to learn the Polynesian lyrics to the songs?
    W. Wakas, wa’as, vakas, it’s all about the boats. there’s nothing quite so awesome as messing about in boats.
    X. Consider the coconut…
    Y. throws coconut in shopping cart, considers how to slay it…
    Z. Wonders how many kids who’ve boarded Hokule’a (our Hawaiian voyaging canoe) have seen Moana and make the connection; here’s this great movie… and here’s this reality… and here we are on Island Earth. What are we gonna do? Malama honua… care for Island Earth.


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