Disney's New Anti-Princess Heroine: Moana
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Disney's New Anti-Princess Heroine: Moana

"Moana" is a feminist, anti-princess heroine, who introduces a new culture and progressiveness that is rarely seen in Disney princess movies.

Disney's New Anti-Princess Heroine: Moana
Hello Giggles

**Warning: Spoilers**

Last weekend, my friends and I decided to make an impromptu visit to the nearest movie theater we could find, to see "Moana". We shared the mutual feeling of wanting to see it, since we previously knew that Lin-Manuel Miranda, the writer and leading man in the Broadway hit "Hamilton", had written some music for it. Being familiar with his work, and fans, we were pumped to see what he did with "Moana". Cutting it close, we arrived with five minutes to spare, and we weren't nearly prepared for the magical journey we were about to experience.

From the vivid animation, to the beautiful constructed music, and to its complex plot--Moana was everything I had imagined and better. In fact, it literally brought me to tears a few times, and made me laugh out loud (which is rare for me because I consider myself to be a pretty stoic person). After seeing "Moana", my friends and I have been listening and singing the songs, and talking about how phenomenal it is. Moana is a feminist, anti-princess heroine, who introduces a new culture and progressiveness that is rarely seen in Disney princess movies. In the realm of Disney movies, Moana is rather progressive as a person of color who is a fierce and powerful young woman.

Our heroine is named Moana Waialiki, a sixteen year old who is born into a royal line of Polynesian leaders. Her father is the chief of the island, and she is the heiress to the position. From a young age, Moana has had a fascination and desire to set off on the water surrounding her island, and explore other destinations. However, her father prohibits this due to the previous trauma he has experienced, as well as tribal traditions that date back generations. Once the island literally dies, and the food supply is declining, Moana wishes to find a way to fix it. Moana soon learns that she is chosen by the ocean to fix the true splendor of the ocean. She is a determined and persistent teenager, who coerces with a demigod and convinces him to help her. Moana's story is full of adventure, and with the help of Maui (the demigod) and with the ocean on her side, the island's bountifulness is restored.

"Moana" is the first Disney movie about Pacific Islanders. It actually starts some Pacific Islanders itself, including the voice of Moana, Auli’i Cravalho, a Hawaiian teenager making her film debut. Polynesian culture was actually carefully researched and incorporated in the film, though debates on its accuracy have been occurring for months. Despite the controversy though, the attempt to educate the audience about the Pacific Island culture is clearly there. For example, the demigod Maui , voiced by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, is an actual mythological figure. He was created using multiple versions of the myth and can be found in the mythology of several islands such as Hawaii, Tonga, Samoa, Tahiti, French Polynesia and New Zealand. Maui's hook that helps his shape shift is completely part of the myth as well. Maui is known to be a trickster, which is definitely reflected in the character.

As well as mythology, other facets of the culture are seen in the film. The ocean and nature are big parts of the characters' lives. The ocean is such an important part of Pacific culture, so the filmmakers decided to make the ocean an actual character. In Pacific culture the ocean is literally the life blood of a community, providing food and acting as the highways for navigators exploring new lands. The music, some written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, is equally as significant. People of the Pacific pass on their traditions and knowledge orally, which was often done in song. While listening to the music, the cultural influences are definitely apparent. Additionally, many of the characters have stunning tattoos. This is because Pacific cultures were some of the first in the world to practice tattooing. "Moana" also addresses the history of Pacific Island pioneers, through the story telling song "We Know the Way".

"Moana" sets the standard for a new generation of Disney movies. With a strong female lead, who is soon to rule an island, without a love interest--"Moana" is incredibly feminist. Her character tells the story of survival, independence, identity, and self-belief. Along her journey, her insecurity grows to confidence and she finds the power she has always had within. Moana saves the fate of her island, all by herself and even defeats the evil lava-monster without the help of Maui. Even when he abandons her, she finds the courage to go on by herself. She sings “How Far I’ll Go, a song about accepting her true strength and potential, which is extremely uplifting and inspiring.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching "Moana", and honestly would see it again. It's absolutely a move I recommend, with it's gorgeous animation, catchy songs, and inspirational story. It's refreshing to see such a different story of a young girl from Disney and I hope young girls who watch it, feel as moved as I do.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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