Two years ago, my obsession with Disney’s newest animated film began. I was always so excited to hear more and more about MOANA. When I got the invite to Los Angeles for the #PetesDragonEvent I was over the moon because I saw that I’d have the amazing opportunity to talk to Moana herself. I posted my interview with Auli’i Cravalho a couple of weeks ago so go back and read that if you haven’t already.
We arrived at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort at Walt Disney World. Of course, my kids were super excited because… Disney. It was the perfect resort to host the outdoor screening of Moana since as I’m sure you know, Moana is Disney’s first Polynesian princess.
Three thousand years ago, the greatest sailors in the world voyaged across the vast Pacific, discovering the many islands of Oceania. But then, for a millennium, their voyages stopped – and no one knows exactly why. Moana is an adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, Moana (voice of Auli‘i Cravalho) meets the mighty demigod Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson), who guides her in her quest to become a master wayfinder. Together, they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds, and along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity.
We enjoyed a dinner at the Luau Cove which had all the sights and sounds you’d expect from Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. I’ve never been to Hawaii but I imagine it was sorta like this. Maybe one day I will be able to compare the two.
During dinner, Jared Bush (Big Hero 6, Zootopia. You may remember him from my Zootopia interview earlier this year), one of the screenwriters on Moana, came up to talk about the film with us before we ventured off to the outdoor beach set up to screen the film.
Yes, there’s a girl. Yes, the movie is named after her. No, she’s NOT a princess. She’s a girl that kids can look up to. Little girls can aspire to be like. Moana is told not to go into the ocean but she feels the pull. She knows she’s connected to the water but can’t understand it. Soon she sets sail to find the legendary demi-god, Maui who she hopes will help save her people. The adventure, the characters, the events that take place along the way. The film had us laughing so much and of course, I cried.
Oh man, this is a big one. I practically live for Disney’s soundtracks (okay, not really but I super duper love them, alright) so when a new movie comes out I listen very closely to the music. Disney always does a great job but in Moana… words cannot explain the joy I feel when I hear the music and sounds during the film.
Mark Mancina, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Opetaia Foa’i have created a musical soundtrack that has completely grabbed onto the Polynesian culture. Instant favorites are “We Know The Way” and even The Rock gets to use his singing chops with “You’re Welcome“. A big favorite of ours. Might as well buy the Moana Soundtrack so you can listen to every song about 100 times like we do. Then you’ll be able to sing along during the movie.
Disney never stops amazing me with their animation. Water, specifically just blows me away. When you can watch a film and forget that it’s animated – that’s true magic. The lighting and colors are breathtakingly real coupled with the stunning water I mentioned. You end up with animation that is nothing like you’ve seen before.
Keep your eyes peeled. Like other Disney Animated films, there are lots of Easter Eggs to spot in Moana. Just a few we saw were Sven from Frozen, Squirt & Crush from Finding Nemo, and Wreck-it-Ralph. I’m sure there are more so find them and let me know!
THE BEST CHARACTER
Out of everyone you meet in the film I’m sure you’re thinking, “really… your favorite character is the rooster?” Yep! This dumb rooster (really, even the filmmakers call him that) is by far, the funniest character. Voiced by Alan Tudyk, HeiHei accidentally stows away on Moana’s canoe. He’s definitely in for the trip of his lifetime.
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