This is a post I wrote in very early 2017, so about 3 years ago. I am currently diving back into the world of Moana and falling in love with it all over again. What I was talking about in this blog post in 2016 is even more relevant now (cough, cough, The littlest mermaid is not white in the live action remake! Cue outrage and controversy, cue my shouts of approval!). I thought I would share my thoughts from then and soon I will revisit the topic and give my current thoughts on it in a new post. Enjoy and let me know your thoughts in the comments!
January 28th, 2017:
Has anyone seen the movie Moana?
If you haven’t you should. Yes I am an adult, but occasionally I like watching animated movies and let me tell you, Moana is worth watching! Not only does it have a kickass musical soundtrack that I am totally listening too while writing this, the movie has a fantastic message and the main character isn’t your stereotypical skinny white female. Way to go Disney!
The diversity movement is getting some momentum in pop culture(though still not nearly where it should be) and I love seeing that! Yes I am a white female, which some will say makes my opinion on the subject unneeded (why is that?) but I am who I am and I love getting to know other cultures and beliefs and I try my best to respect other people and celebrate differences because it brings so much more richness and beauty to the world. Anyways, I am going on a tangent here which means I probably will have to make a separate post on this issue later… but back to my point. Moana is a character that was so refreshing in the world of repetitive images of ideal and stereotypical females.
This was one of those movies that left me feeling all good inside but also left me motivated to create change as well as motivate me to make some art because, come on! Those graphics are insane!
Anyways, I am going to spoil the movie here so skip ahead to the before-last paragraphs if you don’t want that. To a child, this is probably just a cool movie about a demi-god and a cool girl who helps save the world. To me it had so many other hidden meanings, maybe this is my university education rubbing off on me and making me analyze little details that weren’t really meant to express anything. But who cares, this is my interpretation, it doesn’t mean everyone will see it this way but who knows maybe it will park some thinking onto you, the dear reader.
So the story starts with the story of a man who steals the heart of a goddess or a mountain, something like that, and the world slowly starts dying. Now if this doesn’t ring some bells, I saw this as a clear link to today’s society. We are cutting down this insane amount of trees and not planting even a fraction back into our forests. Those this seem like a valid long time plan uh … no. There’s been a million articles and studies on global climate change and how if our environment goes caputka (slang for in the garbage) so do we. All my Profs talk about this and it seems that, apart from a few non-believers, climate change is widely accepted. Yet, we are still doing this? Why? I understand this issue is much much much more complicated than waking up and saying today we stop using fossil fuels and destructive toxins and create a sustainable plan for ourselves and our planet. Yay!
To create change we need everyone to pitch in with ideas, research, plans, actions etc. it’s not a one man or women job. This is why I loved how Moana subtly talked about the importance of the environment You take away the goddess’s heart/you cut down our trees and ransack the environment then the big bad evil (that monster) and the following consequences of our actions falls on our land. The way it was presented also gave people hope that even faced with a big issue there’s always solutions, even if it’s not always the obvious ones.
Now all this seems good, a man’s actions that were not done for evil (much like us and the impact we have done unintentionally to our environment) realizes his mistake and goes to fix it. But what I loved is that that ending just brought the whole thing that much farther! In this scene, Moana goes and see’s that this evil death creature is just a representation of Mother Nature wanting to get her heart back. She gives her heart back and the most stunning graphics of a world reborn comes on screen. What does this represent? Us. We have the power to give life to nature which in turn will give life to us, but if we take it away we will cause destruction of the thing that allows us to live. The fact that the big evil creature was just Mother Nature trying to get herself back in one piece says a lot too in a different way.
The best way to describe this would be to draw a parallel with an example: climate change is slowly causing all sorts of problems in our environment that, if not stopped, will have serious consequences. But nature isn’t trying to kill us. If we give back it’s heart (aka stop destroying nature at an alarming rate) it will gives us back things we need to live on.
Last point I will mention is the grandma character, which is so symbolic in my opinion of our connection to nature. The people of the village find her crazy for thinking outside the box and wanting to explore the water, little did they know she was more right than any of them. The fact that when she dies she lives on in the nature as a sea creature really represented to me how humans, like it or not, are really tied to the nature … ok maybe not as much as being reincarnated into animals and trees, though if you believe in that it is an interesting philosophy. But in other ways, our existence is tied to nature in a unbreakable way. One can’t live without the other.
There’s so many more interesting aspects to this movie that I could over analyze, like Maui’s character and his interesting past, Moana’s character, and how people sometimes need to go outside their comfort zones to find themselves, and that following your dreams and your gut can lead to great things.
But since this post is already on the long side I’ll sum up my points in this slightly long phrase, which is go see Moana … or at least take a minute to listen to the track “How Far I’ll Go”, which I think is just awesome sauce and such a feel good song. After that, make your own conclusions on the movie and it’s message(s) and hopefully it will encourage you to become part of a powered crowd and spread the word that our environment is important in so many ways. Who knows maybe it will spark you to think of new solutions that will permit humans to live a life that is in harmony with nature.