Over Thanksgiving Break I not only had the chance to stuff myself with my mother's lovely home cooking, but I also was able to take a break from college life and release my inner child. I made time to go to the movie theater and experience the new Disney heroine Moana in all her glory. Hearing about the inventive genius Lin-Manuel Miranda producing all of the music for "Moana," along with my favorite actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson being one the leads sealed the deal for me. It was mandatory that I go to see this movie.
With those two, the movie would be nothing more than wonderful. However, this movie exceeded all my expectations for a Disney movie. This movie promoted diversity in such an advanced and inventive way that for two hours my eyes remained glued to the screen, waiting to see what would happen next. This movie had such a lasting impression on me. I felt influenced to write on why this movie was truly impactful.
Many Disney movies do their best to promote diversity through different princesses. Whether it is learning about Louisiana and the rich influence of Creole from Tiana or the Asian culture of dynasties from Mulan, Disney manages to enlighten their audiences with new influences worldwide. However, "Moana" defied boundaries with the infusion of Polynesian culture in the movie. The two leads, Dwayne Johnson and Auli'i Cravalho, both being of Polynesian descent, along with some of the songs being in the language native to the Pacific, added on to the importance of the culture. The movie was filled with anecdotes of their ancestors as well as their lifestyle. This movie went above and beyond to shed light on Polynesian culture, that before was not truly recognized and acknowledged as it should be.
Such infusion of culture also allowed for Moana to be the fifth Disney "princess" of color. In a changing world in which diversity is much more accepted than it was before, it has become imperative for large, influential platforms such as Disney to spearhead female characters of all races and ethnicities.
The introduction of another Disney female lead of color definitely got me excited. Growing up, there were not many characters who looked the same as me. However, Disney further expanding the representation of their female leads made me ecstatic. It is finally allowing younger girls of color to look up and the screens and see characters who look like them, making them further relatable. "Moana" further represents the diverse population we live in.
The incorporation of Polynesian culture also led to an unforgettable story line. For me, Moana strays away from the typical character, and instead becomes independent and chooses to go out and fight, not only for herself, but for her village. She was selfless in her quest and understood the importance completing it had on her village. Moana found the courage to defy her parents and understand she is capable of doing what she loves while helping those she loves.
"Moana" was a movie which got me a bit teary-eyed. Although it takes much for me to cry, this movie got to me. I love learning more about culture of any kind. It allows me to expand my viewpoint on people and have a richer understanding of the world. The movie had its sentimental moments, but they wouldn't have had such significance without the culture behind it.
I truly encourage anyone who has not seen this movie to take the time once our hectic next couple of weeks are over to go and watch this movie. If you love Disney movies, "Moana" is definitely another one you can add to your list of favorites.