Hello! Today, I would like to discuss my thoughts on the movie, Moana. Ever since it came out, it’s safe to say that it has been a success, from doing well at the box office, positive critical reception, to nominations in several award shows. However, I feel like it’s still not as recognized as it should be, compared to other Disney films like Frozen, Big Hero 6, Zootopia, etc. That is why today I am going to go into my thoughts on why Moana, the movie, deserves more in terms of recognition and credit among the Disney canon.
First off, I am going to respond to the criticism that of Moana following the Disney formula too much. I can agree that at the basic structure of the movie, it DOES follow the past formula of Disney movies pretty much. But the story itself is MORE than that. Even though Moana wants to see more in the world, kinda like in Ariel, Belle, etc, it is shown in the movie that she truly wants to help her village. In the sequence of her learning to lead her village and doing her best to solve the problems, something that is RARELY seen in Disney movies, female leads doing their jobs of leaders, we see Moana enjoy partaking in her community and handle things with competence and calm, so it truly makes her struggle with her desire to go to the ocean. Some people argue about the overprotective dad trope in Moana’s father, Tui, but he only has a few minutes of screen time so it is nothing to get too riled up over, in my opinion.
Some people argued that Maui left for no reason but it is understandable why he left. He got mad that his hook, an item that was important to him, was broken and was on the verge of being destroyed for good. He was understandably mad at Moana as she made a reckless choice and to some degree selfish, as seen in the line where she says that she thought that she could make it as well. But we as the audience are meant to know that Maui still was wrong for leaving. Some people argue that we never knew what made him come back but I think it’s insinuated enough that he thought thinks over (possibly with Mini Maui). And he also works afterwards with Moana to help get her to restore the heart of Te Fiti. Everyone seems to forget that he RISKED his life to help buy Moana time. When you watch the movie again, Te Ka was looking at Moana and Maui noticed this. So he gets Te Ka to notice him and Te Ka is about to fireball and kill Maui until Moana shines the heart at her. And Maui does apologize to Te Fiti at the end of it. At first it’s awkward but that'a how it is in real life. He even says that he had no excuse for what he done, so that’s really important to take into account.
The culture in Moana I believe is shown is a beautiful way. They clearly did a lot of research, as seen with the trips and long time spent on it. They also had a voice cast that reflected Polynesian culture. It may not be 100% accurate as they did have to Disney-fy some of it for the movie, but’s safe to say it is a respectful representation that encourages you to look more into Polynesian culture after you watch the movie.
The music in Moana is also PHENOMENAL and it has made its mark on Disney Music History. With talents such as Opetaia Foa'i, Mark Mancina, and Lin Manuel Miranda, you can’t go wrong. The voice performances especially make the music emotionally resonate, especially that of Auli'i Cravalho, whom I’m eternally grateful that Disney got her for the job and hope to see more of her in the future. Dwayne Johnson also does a fantastic job as Maui, both delivering charm and charisma in his singing and voice acting.
There’s also different ways that scenes are done that have a big impact on this movie. Such as the “I Am Moana” scene, when Gramma Tala’s spirit comes back to Moana, but she reunited with Moana in the way that any grandmother and granddaughter would, embracing each other openly. Tala also validates Moana’s emotions at the moment and admits that she never should have put so much responsibility on Moana (something I usually never see in these type of stories). And she fully says to Moana that she and her family support her no matter what, allowing Moana to think and realize for herself who she is and remind herself of why she is on her mission. THIS is what makes the scene so ICONIC.
Moana’s animation is also breathtakingly beautiful and so engaging. When I saw this on the big screen, it made me want to just jump into the water. And the colors are so vibrant and make the movie so full of life! The humor in this movie is also very done well. I love how the water who is personified in this acts as a character and serves its own comic relief. Hei-Hei the chicken is also extremely funny in him just acting like a dumb rooster. His own presence of him being totally unaware and his reaction to him discovering he’s out in the ocean is just plain hysterical.
This movie just has so much to offer anyone and has an inspiring heart of its own. This movie is dripping with Disney heart and I hope Disney brings more of Moana in the future and continue to do so. I recommend this movie to EVERYONE because I believe that this movie is universal and speaks to everyone on its level. I strongly encourage you to continue to support it and I will as well. 🌊⛵️🏝🌺🐚🌸🐷🐔⭐️🌟🐠🐟🐋🦀🐚⛵️
5 headcanons about Lin and Zuko's relationship, please?
1. Toph had no idea what to do with a baby, and there was no way she was going to go to Katara about it. (There was also no way she was going to go to her parents about it, but that went without saying. Going to Katara was unthinkable, but not quite unimaginable, not like going to her parents.) So she showed up six months pregnant on Iroh’s doorstep. Iroh quietly passed her onto Zuko.
2. So Zuko was a part of Lin’s life since before she was born, but for most of her childhood, she was in Republic City with her mom, while he was ruling the Fire Nation. She mostly saw him when he visited Republic City for whatever reason, or when her mother sent her to the Fire Nation during school breaks to get her out of her hair. He always had a present for her, and he took her and Izumi swimming and sailing, and she thought he was just wonderful.
3. The first time she called him Uncle, he almost broke down crying.
4. There were a lot of times, especially as she got older, that she didn’t want to say something to her mother, or ask her a certain question, so she would ask Zuko. When she was little, she used to save them up for when she saw him, but as she got a little older, she started writing him letters instead. Zuko would give her advice and answer her questions, and talk with her about the world and what he had seen, and he was always honest with her, and never seemed annoyed that she would ask something. She learned a lot about honor from him, which might not have been the best, but oh well.
5. Zuko took all of the kids up on Druk at least once. Lin tried to pretend she wasn’t impressed. She was.
I think Toph is both a deeply cool and also in some ways deeply tragic figure. She is really really good at fighting, at earthbending, at helping to win a war, but she never learned so many of the emotional and social skills she needed to exist outside that role. And who can blame her, after a childhood spent in isolation, and then on the front lines of the war. I think she spent so much time trying to prove herself, she never got the chance to figure out who she was trying to prove it to.
What I think is hilarious:
Toph has never forgiven Sokka and Suki for having sex close enough for her seismic sense to pick up.
What is soul-crushing but fun to inflict on friends:
Toph was utterly utterly clueless about what to do with her daughters. She gave them what she had always wanted as a child, total freedom, but this left Lin longing for structure while Suyin ran wild. Poppy Bei Fong, who was still alive, wrote her letters asking if she needed help, but Toph always declined, her own bitter memories of her childhood, stifled and “protected” leaving her unwilling to risk her parents inflicting that on her children. It’s only when Suyin becomes unmanageable that Toph becomes desperate enough to ask for her mother’s help. A small part of her is bitterly jealous, both as a mother and a daughter, over Suyin and Poppy’s relationship.
What doesn’t work but canon sucks so:
This is not so much a matter of canon sucking, as it is something I find too funny to let go of.
Kanto doesn’t exit. He’s the code name Zuko, Toph, and Mai use for the
threesome they will never speak of again. Izumi is also the result of
this threesome, and whenever Toph wants to make Mai and Zuko blanch, she
just says publicly that Lin and Izumi are so close, almost like twins.”
Toph gave her children immense freedom but very little structure. Lin craved structure desperately, and felt anxious and afraid without it. One place in her life that had structure was her Aunt Katara and Uncle Aang’s place. Their Son Tenzin was in many ways similar to her, a person who craved control and order, and this is part of the basis of their appeal to each other as young lovers. They are both a little tightly wound.
What I think is hilarious:
In a black comedy way, I can’t see her first meeting with Lao and Poppy being anything but an epic disaster. As far as they’re concerned, she’s just like her mother, and that’s terrible. Lin is mortally offended. Su is obviously much more like their mom and they like her.
What is soul-crushing:
While Lin used to harbor some resentment that their mother bailed Suyin out of trouble, her long tenure on the police force has given her a lot of first hand knowledge of just how badly Suyin’s life could have gone, if she had gone to prison, if she had gotten in deep with the triads. She now resents the way Suyin doesn’t seem to realize just how completely she was saved and how lucky she was. It makes her furious every time she sees a dead person in an alley who got in with the triads and couldn’t get out, because Suyin doesn’t seem to get that could have been her.
What doesn’t work but I don’t care:
Lin was very close with Iroh before he left for the Spirit World. She reminded him of his nephew when he was younger. Because of this, Lin has an encyclopedic knowledge of tea.