Hello, hello, hello and a huge welcome to blogmas day 2!
Today’s blogmas will be pretty film-centric since today is a very special day… Happy Moanaversary!
That’s right, it’s been a whole whopping year since Moana was released in the UK and I feel pretty blessed that it exists.
Pre-moana days I was a huge fan of Disney, of course, but still pretty vexed about their lack of representation and few storylines that weren’t lowkey misogynistic, all “when will a strong man come and save me”. HECK. In the words of Amanda Lovelace, “The Princess saves herself in this one.” And the whole island. And the whole of Polynesia. AND, she wasn’t even a princess (satire hinted at by Maui when the two of them first meet).
For this Moanaversary I wil be talking about the amazing Moana itself, what the film and characters mean to me, and other amazing films I adore and why. Indeed it is time for us all to snuggle up by the fire (or radiator- I don’t have a fire but my grandparents’ house is the aesthetic I’m envisioning here) and watch a film with a big ol’ mug of hot chocolate (in my case…sweet freedom’s orange chocolate vegan syrup made with coconut milk. Hot chocolate the vegan way).
Moana (make way, make way)
Moana, meaning ‘ocean’ in Maori and Hawaiian. In European countries, the title was changed to Vaiana, ‘vai’ meaning water and ‘ana’ cave, in Tahitian.
Moana, a girl from an Island in the French Polynesia region, has always been intrigued by water but warned away by her father, the chief. One day she approaches the water and is ‘chosen’. This is dormant in her for years, until her grandmother encourages her to seek the truth about her island: Historically, they were explorers. Upon her grandma’s passing she sets out to explore, herself. The missing heart of Te Fiti (removed by Maui) is to be restored by the Demi-god, so she must find him and convince him to restore the heart.
“I am Moana of Motunui. You will board my boat and restore the heart to Te Fiti.”
Maui, who is stranded without his hook (a gift from the gods), is reluctant and charms Moana. He tries to escape on her boat but the ocean aids her in returning to her boat and keeping him aboard. They face many challenges along the way, but manage to regain Maui’s hook and battle off many others looking for the heart or to stop them.
In Moana’s time of need, her grandmother comes to her in her new life as a stingray (her spirit joining heron the boat) and helps to guide her.
The rest would totally spoil the film for you (if you haven’t seen it already) but it’s all about a strong young woman using her power for good and following the path she desires, not anyone else. By following her own fate, she does such amazing things for herself and… literally the world.
The importance of Moana
Moana does what is right for her, and is not held back by convention and the thoughts of other people. This is phenomenal as so many young girls, women, even boys, men, feel held back by convention and powerful forces (in this case, such would be her father, the chief of the island). Moana is a popular influence to tell us all to act on the feelings of our heart and seek to do what we want with our life.
Moana is also a influential woman of colour. Not only Moana herself, but Auli’i Cravalho, too. As a white woman I have had more than enough influences growing up (not just white people, of course, but there has been little representation at the forefront of the media). I remember seeing many tweets from people of colour taking about there siblings crying at the fact they finally had another strong woman influence who was a WoC, and that a Disney girl wasn’t white, for once.
I also love Moana as I have a huge interest in ancient history and mythology. I admit I did not know much Polynesian mythology, so this was a gateway to teach myself classics and history of the islands.
- Monsters Inc.
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban.
- Beauty and the Beast
- Bridget Jones
- I, Daniel Blake
- The Cat Returns
- Kiki’s delivery service
A rewatch of my favourite TV series’ does it too;
- Doctor Who
- Brooklyn 99
- Literally any comedy series
So, get by that heating source (no excluding us radiator-only guys and gals) and watch your favourite things. Knit. Do what makes your heart warm and empowers you. That is true comfort.
PS. Here’s a mini schedule for the next few days’ Blogmas:
Sunday 3rd: My Pain Day- December week 1 diary.
Monday 4th: The Christmas tag (finally).
Tuesday 5th: Vegan Advent calendar(s) review.