I just saw Disney's Moana for the first time last month. And yeah. That's a whole lot of quirky packed into one movie. I expected a fun family summertime make-some-popcorn kind of movie. And it most definitely was.
But it actually had some great themes to think about.
Here’s the whole deal: Moana, daughter of an island chief, is fascinated with the water. Only problem is, her people don’t go beyond the reef. For any reason. The only reason they even go out to their tiny reef is to get fish.
Dad’s got reasons for the rule (sort of). But there are two problems that are strongly suggesting it might be time for a change.
One: A mysterious darkness is rotting the island’s coconuts and devouring the fish. Legend says it is due to the long-missing Heart of Te Fiti, a glowing green rock that has the power to create life. Unfortunately, it’s been buried in the ocean for years now, centuries, really. And only Moana’s grandma believes in it. Also, the darkness is coming for the natives next.
Two: Moana was chosen by the ocean when she was just a toddler to find Maui (oh, yeah, the guy responsible for taking the heart) and restore the heart of Te Fiti.
Might explain the fascination.
The opening song Where You Are insists that “you can find happiness right where you are” (along with a bunch of random stuff about coconuts that I have yet to figure out). And the movie proves it’s true. Moana loves her island. She might have stayed there forever.
But the ocean called her to something different.
So Moana bravely defies tradition and sails off into the ocean alone. Oh, did I mention she can’t sail? If it weren’t for the ocean's "help" and running into Maui, she might have gone in circles forever.
The more obstacles Moana and Maui run into, the more it becomes evident that Moana is not prepared for this role. Ever-helpful Maui reminds her of this frequently.
The last straw comes when Moana causes Maui’s magical fish hook which allows him to shapeshift to be cracked. Maui, who believes he’s nothing aside from the powers bestowed upon him, leaves her stranded on the boat.
Just Moana and the ocean.
The wave surges up before her. Moana holds out the glowing heart. “I’m not the right person. Choose someone else,” she begs. “Please.”
And the ocean seems to agree. It takes the heart and vanishes.
But, in typical Disney fashion, a song and dance number with her grandma who is also a stingray reminds her of what the viewers have seen all along.
Moana was the only one with spirit enough to dive headlong into the Kakamora pirates to rescue the heart. The only one with determination enough to hold her breath and jump into the Realm of Monsters. The only one clever enough to distract a giant killer crab with bioluminescent algae.
The only one who dared to dream beyond the reef.
The only one who could see past Te Ka’s fiery façade.
Yes, the ocean made the right choice.
We, too, are chosen. By someone much more powerful than the ocean or the legends or a magical fishhook. We are called to something different than those around us. We dream of things others haven’t dared to think of yet.
A darkness is coming for our island as well. And it’s doing far more than just rotting coconuts. It’s taking away the light that our world needs so desperately. We have been chosen to bring life back to our seas.
Sometimes we don’t want to leave our island. It’s perfectly safe and perfectly sound. We love it and we know exactly what our part is there.
Sometimes we feel like all we are our own magical fishhooks. Like we’re nothing beyond the abilities or impressions we give other people.
Sometimes we feel like we’re just bumbling our way through sailing. Like we don’t have any of the skills we need.
And sometimes that makes us feel alone. We watch our best-laid plans vanish into the ocean and take it as more proof that we’re not meant to be here.
But you are the one He chose. And whether or not you have all you need, you have something that makes you the only one to accomplish this mission. You don’t need demigods or magical fishhooks.
You already know the way.
So chart your course for new islands, explorer.
*What did you think of Disney’s Moana? Have a favorite Moana song? Share your adventures in the comments below!*
Hi, I'm Rachel! I'm the author of the posts here at ProseWorthy. Thanks for stopping by!