Ages 11 and under
Male and Female
Disney Princess Musical
Faithful to the tradition of Disney’s renaissance era, Moana takes audiences of all ages on a journey with a resourceful young woman who learns her place in the world. Parents will love the tribute toward Polynesian culture, while kids will love the fantastical journey made complete with a fresh color palette. Other than an inappropriately placed gag about urination, Moana has established itself as yet another family-friendly hit by the Disney studio within their CGI renaissance.
The wide range of animation styles explored here starts with a two-dimensional storytelling of what Polynesian religion believes brought the islands into existence. In what appears to be a moving tapestry, a wise, grandmotherly voiceover tells us of Mother Island, who raised islands out of the sea and then rested among them. That is, until Maui the shapeshifting demigod stole her heart. Along his path away from Mother Island, he lost the heart, as well as his fish hook that allows him to shapeshift.
Then the animation style switches to the traditional computer animation, where an elderly storyteller is speaking to her grandchildren about the story. The one seated in the middle of the pack, the heroine of our story, immediately goes out onto the seashore, where the miraculously animated living water leads her through conch shells to the heart of Mother Island itself: the ocean called her to restore peace to the land.
Then this toddler grows up to become Moana, daughter of the chief who wishes to sway away from their traditional ways in order to explore the world. She’s a typical kid’s movie heroine we’ve seen countless times before, and her motive to defy authority is not a good message for our kids, but the empowering musical voice by Auli'i Cravalho plenty makes up for that.
Her grandmother pushes her to follow the calling by the ocean to find Maui the demigod so that she can help him retrieve his fish hook and return the heart to Mother Island. It follows out of the tradition followed by her people, as they are not voyagers; but their long-forgotten ancestry says otherwise. Therefore, Moana goes out on the quest, with a google-eyed, dim-witted chicken as her sole companion.
Then she meets Maui himself, voiced with a lovable laid-back nature by Dwayne Johnson. He adds the familiar heart and soul expected from any Disney feature, as his tattoos move individually to express his true feelings.
Now with the demigod on her voyage, Moana travels elsewhere to find his hook and get to Mother Island. Such stops include an underwater world of fantasy that houses a giant gold-crazy hermit crab. He is not one of the more tolerable portions of the adventure though, as his modes of dialogue includes rambling without a clear punchline to whatever joke he’s attempting to deliver, and an out of place song sung in the style of Paul McCartney.
This is among one of the other songs that simply sound odd in melody. Even so, there are several hits in the score, including Moana’s single ballad, “How Far I'll Go,” and the catchy “We Know the Way,” both of which are guaranteed Oscar nominations. Yet none of these songs will catch on as one of Disney’s iconic tunes. In addition, anytime the characters are not singing, they are blatantly telling us through not-so-subtle foreshadowing what will happen later on.
Another thing that is difficult to grasp about Moana is the big “so what” of its celebration towards pagan religion. While yes, we should never be afraid to learn about other cultures and their backgrounds, depicting their gods as truth is not the answer to learning about who these people are. I would like for Disney to someday make a big leap in exploring and faithfully retelling the way those of another culture live their day to day lives, as to make up for their poor treatment of non-White races in the past.
I cannot see Moana becoming a celebrated classic like Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, or The Little Mermaid, nor can I see it largely influencing pop culture like Frozen or Zootopia, but it is still a fresh adventure for the young and young at heart to get the ideal expected Disney experience.
Moana is an easily relatable protagonist due to the challenges she meets while going on this journey. At first, she is thrilled to finally take the ocean, but soon realizes, that along with her lack of sailing knowledge, and the difficulty of her demigod companion, that she is less equipped for the journey than she realizes, causing her to doubt if she’s the one the ocean called to complete this quest.
This is a very common mode of inner conflict that most anyone feels during any significant event, be it the first few months of college or the first year of marriage or the first five days after the weekend. There are points when a challenge within the journey makes one feel unequipped for what they’re supposed to do, and they even feel that someone else would be a better fit than them to do whatever job they’re entitled by someone else to do.
There is an extra level of frustration that comes with a challenge when the one facing the challenge has autism. The range of their comfort zone is much stricter than the average person, and they may not always be willing to try new things of unfamiliarity.
Six-Word Lessons on Growing Up Autistic, Major Life Events are Especially Challenging.
I get these feelings all the time whenever a significant change is about to happen, and it almost always involves my living situation. I would get so much anxiety when the change is about to occur that I become completely paralyzed in speech. I preferred to stay in my present situation instead of face any potential inconveniences in a potentially better way to live.
Six-Word Lessons for Dads with Autistic Kids, Lesson #84: Be Patient When Introducing New Things.
If your autistic child is still young, then these types of fears are still common, but often over different problems. A child on the spectrum could get nervous if the time of his favorite TV show moved from 7:00 to 8:00, or freak out when he has to give away some of his old toys at a garage sale. It’s almost always in the little things, but there is always something for children with autism to stress about.
So naturally, when a child with autism becomes an adult with autism, and they are asked to carry a specific duty at work or do a task around the house, it may cause all sorts of concerns for them. They would see all the things that they cannot do, such as speaking to customers or managing a team, and express no enthusiasm for taking on a job that others would be nervous but still optimistic about.
Think of it this way: if you got promoted to a managerial position at work, how do you think you would feel? The answer I know is different for everybody, but the most common answer would be, “Yes! It’s my dream come true! Cash city here I come!” But if somebody with ASD was promoted the exact same thing, the more common reaction would likely be, “No! I can’t manage a team! I can’t talk to them! They’ll just judge me! And I’ll get confused and frustrated! Why me?!” When in actuality, their work ethic, timeliness, and organization proves they’ll do the job just as well as anyone without autism. Yet their flaws are more blaring to them than their strengths.
It’s a natural occurrence to life that change is constant and thus must be embraced. Some are better at handling change than others, and some are more willing to take on new challenges than others. But in the case of autism, greater attention needs to be paid to help them accept significant changes that they feel unqualified for. This includes any changes throughout life that are not work or housing related, such as family problems, all sorts of shifts in daily routine big and small need to be taken into account when helping others manage.
- Don’t enforce too much change at once. I know from experience that taking on multiple challenges at once can get unnervingly tiring. Try to let one significant change happen at a time, and make sure you know exactly what is expected.
- If possible, allow your child with autism to ease into a significant change one step at a time. If he needs to move into a new home, let him spend a night first before moving all his stuff in. Then work on moving on piece of furniture over a day.
- Not all changes can be gradually eased into like this however, so if there is ever a sudden, significant change such as a car crash, simply give him words of encouragement, and inspire him to keep pressing onward.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see reviewed, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Moana. Disney. <http://movies.disney.com/moana>.
Wendroff, Jessica Ariel. Is The Maui Legend From 'Moana' Real? The Demigod Has A History. Romper. 23 Nov 2016. Web. <https://www.romper.com/p/is-the-maui-legend-from-moana-real-the-demigod-has-a-history-23222>.
Zanolla, Leah. Character “Moana” may be coming to Walt Disney World. Digital image. Dis. Werner Technologies, LLC, 15 Aug 2016. Web. <http://www.wdwinfo.com/news-stories/character-moana-may-be-coming-to-walt-disney-world/>.