Discover a deeper understanding of Polynesian culture and how the story of Moana came to be. Post sponsored by Disney. All opinions are my own.
I am in awe of what I learned about the Polynesian culture. I remember when I went to Hawaii several years ago. When I returned home, I remember missing the island culture. Their laid back and relaxed way of life.
I had no idea how much research, love and collaboration went into creating Moana. Every little detail was perfected, including: every dance, colors used, the way Moana’s hair moves in the wind, the voices and music were all carefully chosen. You will be just as surprised as I was at how detailed and accurate Disney wanted to be. They wanted to respect the culture as well as capture the true message of Moana.
Have you seen the movie yet? Be sure to stop by our review of Disney Moana. I saw the Disney Moana as a perfect movie for both boys and girls. Moana is a strong and determined young girl. Maui doesn’t take life too seriously, resourceful and brave. Both Moana and Maui find themselves balancing their leadership abilities and rely on each other.
Did you know?
Moana means ocean in Hawaiian. The creators wanted every detail of Moana’s look to be authentic and meaningful all the way down to her necklace. The colors represent the ocean and the sand.
Before we were treated to a presentation behind the creating and designing of Moana, Producer Osnat Shurer introduced herself. Directors Ron Clements and John Musker went into depth as to what they learned while visiting the islands to learn the culture. They spent 5 years researching and learning about each island. They collaborated with experts in each culture, choreographers and elders.
We had the opportunity to interview: Producer Osnat Shurer, Directors Ron Clements and John Musker and “Mini Maui” 2D Animation Supervisor Eric Goldberg.
Question: So, what is each one of your favorite deleted scene from the movie that we’re gonna get to see on the Blu-ray?
Osnat Shurer: There was a deleted scene called, “Warrior Face.” And it happens to also be a deleted song. It’s a duet between Maui and Moana, and he’s sort of trying to teach her the kind of anti-theme. Like it’s all about the face you make, not how you feel inside.
Ron Clements: There are many scenes. There’s a scene I like a lot, I think that’s a short scene that is a scene between actually Gramma Tala and the chief, her son. They don’t really have a lot of interaction in the movie, but this scene, there’s sort of arguing about the future of Moana, and you get a really strong point of view of each one of them. I also like that scene because it was the audition scene that we cast both Rachel House, who does the voice of Gramma Tala, and Tem Morrison, who does the voice of the chief.
Osnat: There’s a closing line where they’re arguing and the chief says, “You’ll stop filling her head with these kind of ideas, so says your chief.” And she says to him, “This is small thinking and fear talking, so says your mother.” I love that line.
John Musker reveals in the first version of the story, Moana had several brothers and she realizes she’s the only girl in the family full of brothers. As the story evolved, the brother went away because they wanted to focus on gender not being her problems but rather Moana trying to find her own voice within herself.
Osnat Shurer revealed they did eight different version of the movie.
Eric Goldberg: I can tell you like my favorite line that got cut from the movie. When Gramma Tala was saying that she was going to come back as a ray. And she lifts her arm and bats the skin, and goes, “I’ve already got the wings for it.”
Question: What was one thing that you saw from the culture that’s still living within that region that you wish that we over here sort of would embrace?
John Musker: The idea of knowing your mountain is a cool thing, which basically has to do with looking to the past and to the future. That you, you’re the soul of everything. That you had sometimes in our culture, it’s all just about what’s here now, or what’s coming. But they had a real respect for their ancestors in the past. I think we could take a cue from that in terms of moving forward. That’s one of the things I really liked.
Ron: There’s a big emphasis on connection and interconnectedness. They’re again, connecting to the people around you, the people that were before you, and the people who will come after you. And connecting to nature and that sort of sense I think that people on an island have very strongly this kind of, we’re all in this together, sort of attitude .
The most insightful thing I learned about the Polynesian culture is they believe:
“You don’t own the land, the land owns you.”
The islanders respect the land. They make use of every part of the coconuts and trees. They use the coconuts for food, the husk fibers to make clothing and rope. They also use every part of the tree, including the leaves and stems. When they need supplies or food, they make it. Everything they make comes from the land.
If you’ve seen Moana, who is/are your favorite characters? What are your favorite scenes in the movie?
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