5 Ways Moana Makes Me Go Hmm …

I saw Moana ages ago in the theatre. And then I bought it the day it came out on DVD, and I’ve watched it three more times since then. And I’ve been listening to the soundtrack on repeat for the past few days. I love Moana. (It’s not as good as Tangled, but I it’s better than Frozen in a lot of ways.)

I haven’t written about it here yet because I haven’t been writing much. (I am working to change that!) But it’s just so beautiful. And smart and fun. I think, right now, my favorite line is from “How Far I’ll Go”:

I know, everybody on this island has a role on this island
So maybe I can roll with mine

It’s not even 20 words, but it so perfectly sums up Moana’s struggle in the opening scenes of the movie. Plus it’s got that little bit of homophone word play that makes me smile. It’s just so good.

Dan from At Disney Again and I watched it with MotM contributor Hannah a couple of weeks ago, and as we were gorging on Chinese food and singing along, we noticed a few things that I wanted to draw your attention to …

Moana and Tui = Ariel and Triton

Daughter adores father. Father wants to keep daughter safe. Daughter longs to explore the unknown. Much to father’s horror, daughter strikes out on her own, ignoring his orders and putting herself in danger. In the end, though, father must come to accept that his daughter has made the right decision.

Which father-daughter duo am I talking about? (Not so easy …)

Gramma Tala = Grandmother Willow

They’re both wise and wry and protective. Firm, but fair. They both encourage their “grandaughter” to listen to her heart and follow her truth. But here’s where they diverge: One of them is the self-proclaimed “village crazy lady,” and the other is a talking tree, which might make you think that you’re the village crazy lady. Ha!

Maui ≠ Hans

At the start of Frozen, Hans seems like such a cool dude. He skips and holds hands and shares deli meats with Anna. It’s sweet. And then, seemingly all of the sudden, he’s really, really not cool. He’s, in fact, quite terrible.

At the start of Moana, Maui is sort of a dick. He’s super cocky, and he steals Moana’s boat, leaving her to die on an island. And then kicks her off her the boat, leaving her to drown. It’s really not the best. But slowly, Maui comes around, protecting and teaching and guiding Moana. It’s sweet.

We Know The Way ≠ Let It Go

“Let It Go,” for all the love it gets, is actually a pretty selfish song. Throughout it, Elsa is literally building walls–between herself and her family, between herself and her people, between herself and warmth and happiness and love.

“We Know the Way” is, at its core, about community and togetherness. Throughout it, Moana and her villagers are coming together and breaking down walls–between each other, between the land and sea, between their past and present.

Te Fiti = Spring Sprite

In Fantasia 2000, the Spring Sprite accidentally wakes up a firebird, which destroys the forest with fire and magma, sort of like how Te Fiti renders the lands and seas fallow when she’s in the form of Te Ka.

After the fire, the Spring Sprite is horrified by the carnage left by the fire, and she restores the trees, animals and plant life to the forest, renewing the earth, sort of like how Te Fiti restores the islands and the seas after Moana restores her heart stone.

How much did you love Moana? Did it remind you of another Disney film? Tell me all your thoughts in the comments! 

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