Two years ago on October 20th 2014, Disney came out with an announcement that they are going to have a new princess. With Disney getting more and more diverse, their next princesses is from a small island, she is based off of Polynesian culture and her name is Moana.
I am Samoan, which means I was born (but not raised) in American Samoa (I was adopted when I was about 2 months and brought to the USA). Being Polynesian and seeing that this was going to be Disney's first Polynesian princess, I was excited, but I was mostly excited that they were exploring the Polynesian culture. Below is a "teaser trailer" of Moana and that it is due out in theaters November 23rd.
About this Movie
Moana Waialiki is the daughter of chief that comes from a long line of navigators. She is sea voyager who goes out to sea when her family needs her help. The setting is in the south pacific. Along her journey, she teams up with her hero who is the legendary Demi-God named Maui. As in any Disney movie, she has a cute animal companion named Pua.
The Characters and Voice Actors (from what they have)
Moana (Auli'i Cravalho)
Moana is our first and main character of the movie. As we know, she is a sea voyager, the daughter of a chief and she lives in the south islands. So we know from this, that we will see much of the ocean, since islands are usually surrounded by bodies of water that can be seen as a sea glass green and deep dark ocean blue. We perhaps will see the islands she travels to, and see what comes with them, such as shells, palm trees, volcanoes and the three types of beaches that some islands features such as white sandy beaches, black sandy beaches and pink sandy beaches.
Her voice actress was one of the many that were chosen when Disney was doing a casting call for Moana. Back in 2015 Disney had announced that they were looking for a girl to play Moana that portrayed Polynesian, loved to sing and had some or well acting experience. The voice actress who for won the role is named Auli'i Cravalho. She is new to the acting world and I'm excited to see her bring Moana to life.
Maui (Dwayne Johnson)
Our next character is Maui-the demigod who is Moana's hero. Perhaps there will be a love story between them or maybe we'll just see their friendship grow through out the movie. But to define what a demigod is, they are certain being who partly divine such as a heavenly or angelic like and partly human.
Now it's no surprise that Dwayne Johnson (or the Rock as some people call him) is playing the role of Maui. Dawn Johnson is also Polynesian, and like me, he is also Samoan. Johnson will also be singing in the movie so that should worth be watching or at least hearing.
Pua is Moana's pig. Like any Disney movie, they has to be an animal friend. Pigs are common on islands. There is also chicken, perhaps Maui animal or maybe it's just some animal that tags along like other animals.
Moana's father is another character that has been introduced which his name is Tui. If Moana must go and rescue her family on an island of the demigods, perhaps her father gets stuck and needs help. I'm guessing (because it's the father's role). He teachers her how to sail, and perhaps she got her love of sea voyage from him. Although there isn't a voice actor yet, we should find out in the upcoming months.
Now I'm sure you've seen grass skirts, hand made items, weird shape knives and a bunch of tattoos. This is because its all part of how they live. The skirts and and grass skirts are all hand made, including fans, shell necklaces, fishing nets and even their boats or as this one is called, the raft.
Lets take a look at the tattoos. In Polynesian culture, men get tattoos to mark their man hood. This can be done when they turn 18 or even 16. The designs are designed to represent different symbols. The tattoos that are designed can be tiki heads which represent semi-gods. The sun which symbolizes riches, leadership, grandness and brilliance. A turtle-which can represent harmony, wellness, family, fertility and union. A turtle may be the most common tattoo. The ocean is a final destination tattoo, representing death or the after life, a very common tattoo. And finally, sea shells represent sea shells while there are turtle sea shells that represent similar aspects of the turtle.
The most common place for a tattoo is the shoulder part of the chest. Ready to hear how you can get one? Unlike here in America, Polynesian tattoos are formed with hot oil and two sticks. First of all, they pour the hot oil on your skin and form the design with two sticks. Does that sound painful or what?
Now if you recall in Lilo and Stitch, they had island dancing. Yes, I can do some of the dance and I do have some props they used for dancing. I have a feeling that in Moana, we'll see this because it's a major part of the culture. The dance, hands, and music tell a story like any other dance. Although the women dance with more grace, while the men dance with more aggressive moves and they shout and also stick their tongues out.
The knife of Polynesian is also hand made and designed for hunting, skinning or dancing with. These knifes are usually black and even have designs on the blade just like tattoos designs. These knives are called Nifo Oti. If so chosen, the knives can set on fire as well.
Moana is set to hit theaters November 23rd 2016. So far we can see that Disney has done a great job with getting the culture mixed in and, as always, getting their magic working. The creators of The Little Mermaid, and The Princess and the Frog are in charge of the art work and so far it's beautiful. I am very excited for the upcoming November months, so be on the watch for more updates and other Disney movies coming your way.