Third in the month!
See? I told you I would do three of these this month. You won’t be getting anymore juice like this for a while so enjoy it while it last, guys.
So today in our Look Forward To… we go back to my geeky, less than mature roots and take on the newest princess movie by Disney’s very capable staff, a Polynesian 3D princess with some amazing powers of her own.
Enter: Disney’s Moana.
Ok, readers of mine, I like Disney. That’s not a secret to anyone. I know all the songs by heart, I have them on a playlist I put on when I’m taking a shower, and when I find a Disney movie while browsing through my cable channels, I normally leave it on (and make popcorn). So sue me!
Moana comes to take the place of the newest princess movie that Frozen last held, and does it with flair by taping into a culture that is both mysterious and familiar for Americans: the far-away cousins from Hawaii we all go to see whenever beach season opens up. I, for one, find it quite the interesting approach. Disney has been trying for a while to appeal to the minorities and portray itself as a multicultural company that respects diversity. Movies like Mulan, Pocahontas and The Princess and the Frog came to help set up that notion. Disney Channel’s series Elena of Avalor, the first Latina princess in Disney history, already started this year’s effort with its July TV premiere, and now in comes Moana.
What is it about?
Moana is a young, adventurous teenager who leaves in Montunui Island, in the Polynesian region. Her father is the chief of their tribe and descendant of a long line of navigator that three thousand years ago traveled around the Pacific, having adventures and discovering all the island of Oceania. So when her family is suddenly put in danger, Moana doesn’t hesitate to sail on a journey to find a mysterious island that holds the key to save them. She will get more than she bargained for, though. Aided by mighty demi-god Maui and her own affinity with the ocean and the creatures that populate it, Moana will live a thrilling, dangerous adventure, encountering scary monsters, impossible odds, and fulfilling the ancient quest of her ancestors while discovering the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity.
Why you should give it a shot?
As casting comes, Moana is hitting the little-known button for the most part. Disney tried to stay true to the film’s premise and featured a voice cast with strong Pacific Islander roots such as 15-year-old Auli’i Cravalho, making her debut with this movie, and Temuera Morrison, supporting actor from Star Wars Episode II and III.
Notable in the cast though it’s the addition of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, portraying demi-god and male lead Maui, who had to reconnect with his Samoan heritage for this part. The Rock has become a Hollywood regular for the last several years, and has won the hearts of the audience with his easy smile, warm humor and amazing charisma that brings a good dose of lightness to the hard action thrillers he normally portrays. It’s bound to be interesting to see how he uses those same assets to his full advantage in this new setting, where his impressive muscles and physical prowess is not even showcased.
With Disney there’s always the controversy of whether the newest movie is going to live up to the standard set up by its predecessors, and being a direct follower of Frozen, Moana has it tough, I must admit. It will take a lot for this new princess to beat the winter blockbuster of 2013 (which also premiered around Thanksgiving) and the almost 1.3 billion green bills it put into Disney’s pockets. However, there’s always hope, and even if it doesn’t manage to get as much traction as Frozen, Moana is sure to be an fun, endearing and exciting experience for the whole family.