“I am Moanaaaa!”

AKA some scattered thoughts on a few of the character’s from Disney’s ‘Moana’.  Many thanks to my good friend, Jessica Prescott, for inspiring me to write this and giving me some of the thoughts that I incorporated into this post.

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To say ‘Moana’ is visually breathtaking is a gross understatement.  It may be the most beautiful animated film I’ve ever seen, not to mention films in general.  But no matter how beautiful the movie is, how catchy/amazing the songs are, and how interesting the story is, it’s the characters that keep tugging at my heart.  There are so many amazing character moments throughout Moana (with one of my personal favorites being when Moana’s mom gives her silent approval of Moana’s journey by helping her pack <3).  And I want to discuss some of those characters right now.

First of all, there’s Moana herself.  Normally I roll my eyes at a lot of Disney’s ‘girl power’ stuff because so often the female characters are kinda annoying when they go all ‘I can do this better than any guy’.  BUT.  That moment when Moana realizes that she can take the heart back instead of relying on Maui to do so?  *CHILLS*

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Then there’s the fact that even though Moana yearns for closer contact with the ocean, she doesn’t angst and whine and sulk about it.  She recognizes that even though her dreams might differ from the status quo, life on her island is good and even wonderful and that she’s surrounded by people who genuinely love her.  She doesn’t have much to complain about and she doesn’t complain.  She is both able and willing to take over the role of the village chief when it’s time.

So here I’ll stay.
My home, my people beside me.
And when I think of tomorrow
There we are.

I’ll lead the way.
I’ll have my people to guide me.
We’ll build our future together.

You can find happiness right where you are.

-‘Where You Are’

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Rapunzel has always been my favorite Disney princess, followed by Belle, but Moana might unseat both of them.  She’s a great leader and she only leaves her island, her people, and her family because she knows that unless she does, everyone will eventually die.  The stakes are incredibly high and I don’t think she would have left the island for anything less than an emergency.  In all likelihood, had the heart not been stolen from Te Fiti, Moana would have never left her island and would have been quite happy to stay.  But when a crisis arises, she goes out to solve it as best she knows how.  It’s just a coincidence that her life-long dream gets fulfilled at the same time. *grins at the perfectness of it all*

Then there’s Maui.  I was thinking about him yesterday, and I realized that his backstory is a LOT like a Typical Villain Backstory and he could have easily spiraled downward in that direction.  Being abandoned – literally thrown away like garbage – by his parents would have given him ample justification to turn against humankind and wreak havoc among them (especially after being turned into a demigod + being given all the power that comes with his hook).  Instead, he rose above his past (something I admire so, so much) and turned out to be really helpful to people and generally awesome. ❤

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The final character I want to talk about is Moana’s dad, Chief Tui.  He is SO GREAT.  Unlike the typical stern, tyrannical animated movie dad (well, he is stern, but not in a bad way) he’s a well-developed character and person in his own right (complete with a backstory, for once).  He was probably just as adventurous as Moana when he was her age, so I’m sure he understands where she’s coming from.  But at the same time, he knows the dangers of the ocean better than his daughter and it has to be hard for him to rebound from his best friend dying.  Tui is just trying to protect his family and his village in the best way he can.  And I know it’s a cliched motivation for movie dads, but that’s because it’s true.  That’s what dads do.

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So, that’s about all I have to say about the characters of ‘Moana’ for right now.  Do you have any insights to add concerning the three characters I analyzed?  Who is your favorite character in ‘Moana’?

Eva

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10 thoughts on ““I am Moanaaaa!”

  1. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. *hugs* I’m so happy to know I inspired you, friend ❤

    (I really did want you to see this movie, and I'm SO GLAD you loved it!!)

    I agree. Moana exhibits a very healthy and admirable type of "girl power"–not "I'm BETTER than you and I don't NEED any help," but rather, "I'm equal to you and we can help each other to achieve our goals.” The whole I-can-do-this-completely-alone attitude would’ve just turned her into a Bitter Loner hero, and I don’t care for bitter loners (whether male or female). But instead, Moana is a good, cooperative friend and teammate, and it’s awesome.

    [Diana in Wonder Woman is the exact same way. She never pushes Steve aside or says she doesn’t need him. Theirs is a 100% equal partnership; OTP goals, literally.]

    Her relationship with her dad was perfect. She was angry at him for restricting her, but at the same time, she respected his authority and learned to understand him better (even though she eventually broke away because she NEEDED to, once she was old enough to realize the seriousness of the danger they were all in). Plus, she comes back in the end!!! And then THEY GO OUT TO SEA TOGETHER AND MY HEART CANNOT TAKE THE FEELS. It’s beautiful. *sniffles*

    I think Gramma Tala was my favorite character. Either her, or Te Fiti (it’s a close call, definitely). I loved how much wisdom and understanding her grandmother had; her perspective on life was just so broad and I really admire that. “Sometimes the world seems against you–the journey may leave a scar–but scars can heal, and reveal, just where . . . you . . . are . . .” That line means a lot to me.

    And Te Fiti’s story makes me want to cry. In a good way. I don’t want to spoil it for anybody who hasn’t yet seen the film; but HOLY COW.

    Beautiful post, Eva ❤

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    • Thanks for your lovely long comment! Love those. 🙂

      Okay, I officially need to see Wonder Woman. Female characters like her and Moana are so rare, and therefore so refreshing.

      SO MANY FEELS. And so much amazingness.

      Te Fiti’s story was heartbreaking and completely unexpected. ❤

      Thanks!

      Like

  2. I loved hearing your thoughts about each character. My favorite character in this movie would have to be Moana. She was able to see that the monster was also good, and I love that about her. I guess that’s also kind of why I like Belle. She was able to see good in the beast 🙂

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  3. My only real complaint about Moana is that she doesn’t go through that much of a personality change in the movie. She starts off a bit defiant in that she wants to explore the ocean despite her father’s wishes. She started off as fairly smart and brave, and a competent leader. She does grow in confidence as the movie goes on, but her main development comes in the form of learning how to sail.

    With all that said, Moana is a really good movie. Like you said, it’s visually breathtaking, but a great looking movie with bad characters is still a movie with bad characters (just look at the Transformers movies). Moana doesn’t suffer from that problem.

    Also, the Rock’s performance with Maui is kind of like the genie from Aladdin, but toned down a bit. That’s a good thing. The genie is hilarious, sure, but there are times when his humour got in the way of emotional moments. Maui lets emotional moments happen.

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    • Yes, I remember you said the same thing about Moana in your review of the film. To be honest, it doesn’t really bother me. There’s so much going on in the film – including Maui’s character arc – that I never really felt the lack of character growth in Moana. She’s great the way she is. 🙂

      For me, Frozen is one of those movies that’s gorgeous to look at but has a really forgettable plot/characters.

      Dwayne Johnson did a perfect job voicing Maui, in my opinion. He (Maui) will end up being one of Disney’s more iconic characters in years to come, just like the genie.

      Like

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