Disney movies has always revolved around accepting your differences and discoviering who you really are, and nothing does it quite as well as Moana does. It is such a pure story, and every single moment and every single song is dedicated to self discovery and that’s such a noble thing to do. Even playful songs like You’re Welcome or Shiny is very pivotal towards the voice of the character who sings it. It defined their characters and told a story of their own past, which was very powerful.
And I love that the story stayed true to Polynesian folklore and their culture of fables and their integrity with culture itself. The whole story is of Moana trying to find her true calling but also staying true to what she’s expected to do as per her culture. It’s a story about identity and being true to yourself and being frustrated and also learning and growing and accepting yourself and being confident with who you are.
There’s a lot of memorable scenes in the movie, but my favorite would definitely be the part where she’s doubting herself and she throws the heart of Te Fiti into the ocean and then the spirit of her grandmother comes and sings to her about identity and integrity and then she has the epiphany of who she is, is a definiteion from deep inside her and not an external force that’s calling her from the outside, and she comes to terms with herself and defines her self confidently and exclaim that she is who she is and she is Moana and then she jumps into the ocean and retrieves back the heart of Te Fiti. It’s such a symbolic moment of discovery and how young she is and how lost she seemed to be and how certain she was at that exact moment. It was inspirational. I loved it so much.
There has to be a reason why the chicken followed on the journey and not her pet pig. Because all this while, the sidekicks has always been someone close to the pritagnoist. Mulan had Mushu who while she didn’t exactly knew prior but still bonded with the expectation of a relationship. Snow white had the forest creatures, cindarella had gus and that other mice. Pocahantas had her racoon, Tangled had that horse. it was a love hate relationship but it was still a relationship. Moana and the chicken literally had nothing in common and didn’t even bond that much, but in its entirety, that chicken itself had a redemption arc when he saved the heart of Te Fiti from falling into the ocean. There has to be something symbolic about that.
But most importantly this was a subtle message of rebellionand how that is important for growth and discovery. Moana’s island is a classic case of conservativeness and how some cultures are not open to changes and the fact that Moana didn’t necessarily want to run away from her home, she wanted to explore, which was something that was against their culture. So in the end Moana had to fight, and it’s such a strong message of sometimes the people around you know what’s best for you… and sometimes they don’t. Doesn’t mean they’re wrong, just means that everyone should be more open to new ideas and sometimes fighting isn’t the wrong thing to do. I wished more girls would have some little fight in them and I hope Moana ignited that.