There's a chill in the air, the Starbucks holiday cups are out, and people are readying themselves for holiday travel: it's that special time of year when Disney puts out its princess movies.
No, really! 'Tangled," "Frozen," "Enchanted," "The Princess and the Frog," even "Aladdin," "Beauty and the Beast," and "The Little Mermaid" were all released on or around late November/early December. There is a Disney movie out this Thanksgiving, but the heroine of this story is so much more than a princess.
Disney's "Moana" hit theaters on November 23 and immediately stole the top spot at the box office from "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." So let's learn a bit about our newest Disney Not-a-Princess.
- Moana is from an unspecified Polynesian island (though there are more than a few guesses as to which ones it could be).
- The story is set roughly 2,000 years ago, and relates to the fact that there was a 1,000-year gap where the different peoples of Polynesia stopped exploring the Pacific Ocean. The story is a mythological-ish explanation of why they started up again.
- The word "Moana" means "ocean" in several Polynesian languages.
- This is the first movie Auli'i Cravalho, the actress who voices Moana, has ever been in.
- The demigod Maui is voiced by Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson.
- Famed Alexander Hamilton impersonator Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote many of the songs for the film.
Have these tasty information tidbits got you thirsting for more? Well, here's a few things you can check out from the library related to "Moana."
For kids and adults, here's a list of everything "Moana" you can get your hands on at the library, including the soon-to-be released MOANA (DVD) and a very cool looking The Art of Moana. Interesting fact: the tattoos on Maui are the only animations in the whole movie that were hand drawn.
If you want to find out a little more about the myths "Moana" is built on, check out South Pacific Mythology for kids or any of these mythology books for adults, all of which contain a section on Hawaiian, New Zealand, Tahitian and/or other Polynesian myths.
Also maybe check out the song Maui Hawaiian sup'pa man by Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwoʻole on his album Facing future (Track 12 - The Editor).
For some interesting historical commentary, you could do worse than Tupaia, a biography of the oft forgotten Tahitian navigator who accompanied Captain Cook on his voyages;
or How "natives" Think, a scholarly discussion of whether Western anthropologists can effectively look past their own colonial backgrounds to tell the stories of non-Western peoples, and also whether they have the right to try. (Spoiler: it's all more complicated than you might think.)
So, welcome, Moana! We could all use more awesome women like you!
Wanna talk "Moana"? Leave a message below!