Skip to content


Now I’m sure when a lot of people heard that Disney was going to make a movie with a Polynesian heroine, they got very nervous. People were worried about how Disney would treat this different culture. I am happy to report that “Moana” is an excellent movie. It tells the story of a young Polynesian girl named Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) whose island home is being affected by this blight caused by the theft of a sacred stone by a demigod, Maui (Dwayne Johnson). She’s told by her grandmother that she must seek this demigod and return the sacred stone to its rightful place. She sets sail to find Maui and to return the stone in order to save her home and her people.

Okay, now I have to return back to why people were nervous. They are worried that this was going to be another “Pocahontas”.  Now I’m not saying Pocahontas is a bad movie; it is gorgeous and well produced. But it told a heavily fictionalized account from what a lot of people would consider a tragic episode in history (feel free to Google Pocahontas and you’ll find a lot of sad websites detailing the sordid story). I was really worried that there would be a repeat of this controversy.  But “Moana” handles Polynesian culture with remarkable sensitivity. It turns out the Disney team created a whole task force of cultural consultants to help them in the filmmaking process. And I think that shows in the movie. As a viewer I think I got a small glimpse into a culture that is not my own. To see some of their hopes, their dreams, their prayers and their beauty in the movie.

This movie is very fun and very touching. Disney has been undergoing a boom lately. A kind of second animated renaissance. The first renaissance provided movies like “Aladdin” and “Beauty and the Beast,” et cetera. They have just been producing a string of hit after hit. This is great because there’s a lot of fun that comes from these movies, particularly this one. Disney gets criticized for adapting fairy tales and myths and softening them for our American palate. It is their style. I’m going to go ahead and say that there’s nothing wrong with that. The original vision of the Walt Disney Company was to make films that moved people to tears and laughter. And while watching this adventure there were times that I was moved to tears, times that I laughed my head off, and I enjoyed the experience of being whisked off to a land of myth and magic.

I think for people looking for movies that are about Native peoples, Moana is an big step in the right direction. This movie is fun and touching. It thrilled and moved me and I think it’ll do the same to you. Go and see it. You’ll probably see me there too!

Be Sociable, Share!

Posted in All Reviews, By Courtland Hopkins.

0 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

Some HTML is OK

(never shared)

or, reply to this post via trackback.