Walt Disney Animation Studios have today revealed some awesome news for their upcoming animated film #Moana. The film, which was previously thought to be slated for released in 2018, will be in theaters late 2016!
Moana (which means 'ocean' in many Polynesian languages) is being directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, the team behind films such as The Little Mermaid, The Princess and the Frog, and Aladdin. They had this to say about the film:
John and I have partnered on so many films...Creating 'Moana' is one of the great thrills of our career. It's a big adventure set in this beautiful world of Oceania.
On top of this news they also released some concept art from the film, take a look:
Wow, it looks stunning! But being Disney that's hardly surprising.
Here's the official synopsis for Moana:
In the ancient South Pacific world of Oceania, Moana, a born navigator, sets sail in search of a fabled island. During her incredible journey, she teams up with her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui, to traverse the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous sea creatures, breathtaking underworlds and ancient folklore.
Moana will be the first Polynesian princess for Disney and with the vast mythologies that Polynesian cultures have to offer, I have no doubt it will be amazing! Using the legendary and mischievous demi-god, Maui as Moana's teammate is an inspired choice, the mythology surrounding Maui is begging to be turned into film.
Take a look at these three Maui myths that I think would be awesome to include in Disney's Moana:
Maui slows the sun
Due to the sun moving so fast in the sky the days were very short and the people couldn't do all their chores and gather all their food before the sun had set. Maui and his brothers set off to snare the sun in a big net and beat it with his signature weapon (a club made of the jaw-bone of his ancestor). Begging to be released the sun relented and promises to move more slowly through the sky which is the reason why we now have longer days.
Maui discovers fire
After playing with fire, Maui accidentally puts out all the fires in the village. As a result Maui has to go to the underworld to ask the fire-goddess, Mahuika, for some fire. Maui visits Mahuika and helps her eat and drink, which is difficult for her because everything she touched bursts into flames. As a reward Mahuika gives Maui one of her flaming fingernails.
After the mischievous Maui tricks Mahuika into giving up all of her flames, she loses her temper and throws fire at him. Maui escapes by transforming himself into a Hawk and flying back to the living world. The fire follows him but he is saved by the gods who blow icy rains at the fire, and open up the earth to swallow the flames.
Maui fishes up islands
After sneaking in to his brothers canoe, Maui uses his legendary jaw-bone as a fish-hook to fish up the North Island of New Zealand (the canoe being the South Island). After catching the fish, Maui leaves it in the care of his brothers, while he finds a priest to bless the catch, however his brothers begin to cut the fish to divide it between themselves, as they do the fish writhes in agony and breaks into the mountains, cliffs and valleys seen in New Zealand today.
This myth is also told in Hawaiian mythology as Maui tricking his brothers into repeatedly fishing up sections of the ocean floor creating the Hawaiian Islands.
While I guess we'll have to wait a bit longer until more promotional material comes out to see which direction the movie will go in, I really hope Disney includes some of the amazing legends of Maui in Moana, it would be perfect!