Yesterday I saw Moana, the new film from Disney that has a different female hero. I must say that I didn’t expect much from the movie, but it surprised me greatly. Since it’s an animation film, I went alone to the cinema. My sweetheart doesn’t like Disney or animation very much. But I don’t mind going alone to the cinema. I’ve done it since I was a teen. For some reason, there are always titles that I want to enjoy, and others find weird.
This movie is pure gold! Forget the other Disney princesses because Moana beats them all! She’s independent, resolute, stubborn and smart. She embarks herself in a hero’s journey, and she is successful. And, there’s no love involved whatsoever!
[SPOILERS: from here onwards there are massive spoilers from the movie. I can’t write a proper review without giving parts of the movie away, so stop reading from here if you haven’t seen it yet. If you’re okay with spoilers, please be my guest.]
Moana is a super cute baby when she is chosen by the sea to be our hero. She saves a turtle from being eaten by ugly dark crows. She is very sweet. The sea starts playing with her, and soon they become best friends. Soon, the sea tries to give her a stone, but her Dad finds her and picks her up. The stone is the key to a great adventure. But it remains in the water.
We see Moana grow up, but her heart is always away with the sea. Whatever her Dad tries to do, she is always dreaming of going away. The inhabitants of the island have a prohibition: they can’t leave the reef barrier.
Fish start dying and crops and coconuts too. Moana knows the reason: she must go away and return the heart to the Goddess. She has the moral help of her Grandma, who has told her the stories of Maui and his battles. She must find Maui and make him return the heart of the Goddess.
Rebelling, she sets herself on the quest of finding Maui. But, when things seemed to go quite well, she finds out a guest in her ship: a chicken. From all the sidekicks ever, this is the dullest, silliest of them all. I’m pretty sure Disney did this on purpose so we can realize the real value sidekicks usually have: none. The chicken realizes there’s nothing else around him but water and he panics.
And when I say a lot, it means A LOT.
When she finally finds Maui, we discover what the demigod is all about: high ego, wanting to please his audience, and a little bit of a chicken. He doesn’t want to go on the quest Moana has for him. In fact, he is reluctant to the bone and tries to rid himself of Moana. But he can’t. The sea is on Moana’s side, and he better help her or else.
Their relationship grows as they navigate and he finds how courageous Moana is. However, he has his doubts and only wants his weapon to shape shift and continue the fun. Maui’s conscience is on his skin in the form of tattoos. So prepare for the fun when he talks to them!
When Maui chickens out from the quest, Moana decides to continue after speaking with the spirit of her Grandma. (Yes, her Grandmother dies). So, even if she is alone, she’ll end up what she set herself to do. Well, not exactly, she had to go with the ship to help Maui. See what Disney did here? We are so used to see female characters helping male characters to finish the job. Who gets all the credit? The guys! But Disney, in making Maui chicken out and Moana stubborn, they reversed the stereotypes! It is Moana who finishes the job, and Maui who helps her achieving it!
This is a great movie that smashes outdated stereotypes and gives girls a mirror where to look themselves and be proud. The sidekick is a simple chicken who eats rocks, and while we thought she was helping Maui, we finally discover her real value: she was helping herself, her family and everybody else in being herself.
I just can say well done Disney! Well done!