The Ocean Is Calling
We’re about to set sail across the Pacific in what is set to be the 56th film from the Walt Disney Animation Studios. Moana will set audiences on a magical voyage to the deep-rooted sense of community within the people and culture of Oceania. Inspired by larger-than-life iconic characters, beautiful scenery and a story line for the whole family, Moana will open in theaters nationwide on November 23rd 2016. I was fortunate enough to attend an early press day for Moana, all opinions are my own.
The story of Moana is inspired in part by the oral histories of the people and cultures of Oceania. Three thousand years ago, Polynesian voyagers, the greatest navigators in the world, voyaged across the vast Pacific, discovering thousands of islands. But then, according to scholars, for approximately a millennium, their voyages stopped and no one knows exactly why. Inspired by the unanswered reasons for the 1,000 year gap in exploration, this sparked the filmmakers’ imaginations to create a film about a imaginary heroine named Moana. The namesake of the film, Moana, is an adventurous 16 year old girl who sets sail on a daring mission to save her people and is at the heart of the rebirth of wayfinding.
An Incredible Larger-Than-Life Character
During her journey, Moana meets the mighty demigod (half-god, half-mortal, all-awesome) Maui, a larger-than-life character who was inspired by multitudes of varied tales and legends about him throughout the Oceania region. The filmmakers were fascinated by the stories they read and the tales told to them by experts (and the Oceanic Trust) in the region. Maui was larger-than-life, a trickster and a shapeshifter. He could pull up whole islands from the sea with his fishhook and he even had the power to slow down the sun.
Read More: Get An Early Look At Moana
A demigod Of Crazy Agile Power
Once considered the greatest hero in Oceania, in Polynesian Mythology Maui is a demigod of strong, athletic power. His sense of mass and power is astounding. Charismatic and funny, Maui was most well known throughout the region for his long curly hair, it’s one of his most favorable physical attributes. Maui’s charming air of confidence, efficient moves, confidence of a lion, experience of the ages and agile athletic build is perfectly played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the film.
Mini Maui Rules!
Maui’s magical fishhook gives him the ability to shapeshift into animal transformations. An incredibly useful gift in the story of Moana. Quite possibly my favorite attribute of Maui’s is that his entire body is covered in tattoos. These tattoos tell the story of his extraordinary accomplishments. In Moana, one of Maui’s tattoos known as “Mini Maui” serves as Maui’s conscience. The hand drawn 2D animation of “Mini Maui” even serves as a golden hark back to Walt Disney Studios early days of animation.
Maui is responsible for the trouble that threatens Moana’s people. He’s paying a price for his actions and is somewhat of a lost hero. Moana needs him and even goes as far as forcing him to help to right his wrongs and restore what’s been lost for her people. Embarking on an important journey of self-discovery alongside Moana, Maui brings his super strength as well as his super-sized issues to the amazing adventure in Moana.
What Will Happen?
Will demigod Maui be able to help Moana and her people? Will he find himself and restore his good deeds? Only seeing Moana on November 23rd 2016 will tell! We have the opportunity to attend the Moana press conference in a few weeks, stay tuned for more in depth Moana information!
Moana opens in theaters nationwide on November 23rd 2016!
*all images courtesy of Walt Disney Animation Studios