I wasn’t going to write a post on why I am Really Into the Disney movie Moana, but I have to. I just can’t quit it & I don’t want to.
The reason I have to write this post is that there are people that have not seen this movie. I will admit it. I did not see Moana in the theaters.
Disney movies are wonderful, but I was still in a Frozen hangover. Several months back, one of my Facebook friends said she loved Moana more than Frozen & I thought she was out of her mind. No way could Moana be better.
Moana is better than Frozen
Frozen was a total game-changer for Disney. Neither of the main female characters was chasing a man & when the main character did find her true love, it was her sister. That’s why I loved the Angelina Jolie movie, Maleficent too. Aurora was Maleficent’s one true love instead of some unknown prince.
This summer, my friend brought a few movies and she was exasperated I had not seen Moana yet. She too is really into the Disney movie Moana.
We watched it on a warm summer night in the backyard & I liked it, but no way was it on the same level as Frozen.
Two weeks later, my daughter asked me if I would watch it again with her. We grabbed a bowl of popcorn, put it on Netflix & gave Moana another go. During this second viewing, I realized I had missed a few very important parts.
Moana: The Beginning
I can’t believe it, but I missed the beginning of the movie – I must have been too busy mixing up a daiquiri or something. Moana’s grandmother, Tala gives us a nice background of Moana, her people & their island, Motunui.
The Ocean Chose Me
Moana feels a pull to the ocean & her Dad wants her to ignore it, but luckily for the people of Montunui, Tala encourages Moana to follow her heart. The ocean has chosen Moana & we know this because the ocean welcomes her & helps her, even as a baby.
When parts of the island begin to die, Moana brings her plan to voyage past the reefs to restore the heart of Te Fiti & set things right. Her Dad immediately tells her no. Moana braves the night & leaves anyway. I love how this clip shows her mother helping her pack.
We Are Descended from Voyagers
So, this young girl takes off beyond the reef & towards the ocean. Moana doesn’t know how to sail & she’s scared, but she is determined to get the heart to Te Fiti. I won’t give you a play by play, but as the story progresses Moana begins to doubt herself. She’s taken on this huge responsibility to team up with a demi-god, venture across uncharted waters, take on a Lava Monster, survive coconuts with blow darts & enter the realm of monsters. She does all of this with the goal of helping her island.
Moana, Do You Know Who You Are?
One night everything falls apart & her grandmother’s spirit comes to visit her. Yall, this is where I lost my mind & bawled like a baby. Moana tells her Grandma that she can’t finish the journey. Tala tells her she can go home & she apologizes to Moana for putting so much on her shoulders. The song, ‘I am Moana’ appears in this part. During the song, Tala tells Moana what she sees within her & asks Moana what she sees within herself.
Sometimes the world seems against you, the journey may leave a scar. But scars can heal and reveal just where you are. The people you love will change you. The things you have learned will guide you and nothing on earth can silence the quiet voice still inside you. And when that voice starts to whisper, Moana, you’ve come so far. Moana, listen. Do you know who you are?
You are Moana. I am Moana. We are all Moana.
What this song tells me is that I can face anything. Life gives us all more than we can handle & often we don’t know why we are dealt the hand we are given. Moana feels this way too. She begins to question why the ocean chose her, how is she going to make this journey & she wants to turn around & go back home. Then, her most loved family member visits her & confirms that she’s on the right path, that she’s the chosen one, she is Moana.
And the call isn’t out there at all, it’s inside me
It’s like the tide; always falling and rising
I will carry you here in my heart you’ll remind me
That come what may
I know the way
I am Moana!
Once the plot, the meaning & the symbolism kicked in, I was a bucket of tears. Moana is out on the ocean by herself & can find the strength to keep going.
Y’all, I’m not even kidding. I bawled like a baby. We’ve watched this movie over 50 times & I’ve teared up every time I’ve heard this song or seen the movie. It should have won the Oscar last year.
A Lava Monster & A Young Girl
To get the heart to Te Fiti, Moana has to go through the Lava Monster, Te Kā. If you haven’t seen the movie, please stop reading here. Come back & read once you’ve watched it, but I don’t want to ruin it for you.
Moana sees the spiral from the heart on Te Kā. She then tells the ocean to, “let her come to me.” I’m watching and all of a sudden a load of bricks is on my chest. Tears flood, my throat gets dry & I realize that after the heart was stolen from Te Fiti, she turned into the Lava Monster.
I have crossed the horizon to find you I know your name. They have stolen the heart from inside you, but this does not define you. This is not who you are. You know who you are.
This beautiful, goddess, mother island was taken advantage of & mistreated by man & it ruined her. She became a violent, lava spewing villain that was feared by all. Then a young girl was chosen by the ocean & she saw the true heart, the true version of Te Kā.
When I see her small little body walking calmly towards that Lava Monster I am in awe. Moana is so brave in that moment. Moana is able to return the heart to Te Fiti after it was ripped away from her. We then get to see the transformation of Te Kā into Te Fiti & Moana returns to her island.
Who You Truly Are
There are several blogs with the opinion that Te Kā is a metaphor of PTSD, sexual violence & abuse. I can easily see how these comparisons are made. What this transformation means to me is that it only takes one person to see into our hearts & change us forever. Moana was able to see past the rough shell of the Lava Monster & restore the kind, giving & gentle heart of Te Fiti.
I was a Drab Little Crab
Although it may sound like Moana is a really heavy story, there are some really funny parts as well. The best comic relief is my man, Tamatoa. He’s a large crab who lives at the bottom of the realm of the monsters. His shell is adorned with shiny, metallic treasures, so you can’t miss him. Moana is such a bad ass. She’s in the realm monsters & she never flinches. I love when he tells Moana she can’t get away from him, only to find out she can. “You keep surprising me.”
I was a drab little crab once
Now I know I can be happy as a clam
Because I’m beautiful, baby
Moana is such a bad ass. She’s in the realm monsters & she never flinches. I love when he tells Moana she can’t get away from him, only to find out she can. “You keep surprising me.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda does much of the music & it’s a bit different than most other Disney films. It’s more creative, takes more chances & has some fantastic instrumental songs. It’s been on repeat since we fell in love with the movie. And who knew the Rock/ Dwayne Johnson could sing?
Open your eyes, let’s begin. Yes, it’s really me, it’s Maui: breathe it in! I know it’s a lot: the hair, the bod! When you’re staring at a demi-god
A New Kind of Princess
Elsa, the Snow Queen was our introduction to a strong, determined princess from Disney. Sure, Belle was undeterred by the buffoon, Gaston. Mulan ran away during the night to take her father’s place in the military, but both Belle & Mulan were not ‘princesses’, right? Well, Moana is a princess & she’s a game changer. Disney is going to have a hard job topping this strong-willed, confident, loving, gentle character.
Do you have a favorite Disney movie or character?
Have you seen Moana? What did you think of it?