A while back I reviewed a trailer for a little movie called Moana. I was worried about the lack of early advertising the movie was getting—I hoped that the hype among my own age group and demographic would translate to ticket sales, so that Disney couldn’t use a less-than-successful premiere to justify avoiding nonwhite Princess stories for another decade.
Turns out I needn’t have worried—Moana opened this weekend to a phenomenal box office take, only barely failing to unseat Frozen as the #1 Thanksgiving animated film opening of all time, and I’m honestly pinching pennies in the hope of seeing it again soon. To me, it was a sweet, empowering, and well-made movie; however, some native Polynesian critics felt that it played too fast and loose with their culture. Let’s get into it after the jump!
It seems like we’ve been hearing this and that about Moana forever without any hint of an actual trailer. And while this is just a teaser, it still gives me a lot of hope about what the movie itself will be like.
Disney has a lot of problems. At this point, I doubt anyone’s going to argue with this. While ranging from the topics within their films (such as the possible glorification of Stockholm syndrome in Beauty and the Beast) to issues spanning across many films (most notably the fact that characters of color end up spending a majority of their movies in animal form), many have come to understand that big name animation studios are not infallible, no matter how many wishes on a star they make. Recently, Disney has come under well-deserved scrutiny once more as more information comes to light on their upcoming movies, Coco and Moana. While there are many who are rightfully excited to see Disney branch out, adding a more diverse cast of characters to their repertoire, the machinations behind the scene paint a much more problematic picture—one that they themselves need to take a step back from and recognize is kind of fucked up.