Disney attracts both fans and critics alike for its legacy of animated films portraying cultures from around the world with varying degrees of accuracy (and often stereotype). When ambassadors from those cultures are involved in the creative process, the outcome of these popular films naturally feels much more authentic.
Fourteen years after the release of Hawaii-based Lilo & Stitch comes Moana, a tribute to the history of Polynesia’s great sailors and warriors lead by Hollywood titan Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, renown for his pride in his Samoan heritage.
The story line goes that three thousand years ago, the greatest sailors in the world voyaged across the vast Pacific, discovering the many islands of Oceania. But then, for a millennium, their voyages stopped—and no one can find out why. An adventurous teenager named Moana (voiced by newcomer Auli’i Cravalho) sails out on a daring mission to save her people, meeting the once-mighty demigod Maui (Johnson) who guides her in her quest to become a master wayfinder.
Together they sail across the Pacific Ocean on an action-packed voyage and along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity.
Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Princess & the Frog) Moana will be in theaters November 23, 2016.