I had the pleasure of watching Moana. It was easy to relate to. The elements of the story are familiar, but the way they’re presented is quite unique.
It does remind me of Zootopia in that you have a female character drawn to a purpose that is different from how her family is used to living. In Zootopia, Judy wanted to be a cop when her family was resigned to working on the farm and there were no bunny cops…anywhere. Ever. In Moana, she wanted to travel beyond The Reef although her tribe was forbidden to go beyond its borders.
Now, I find something very interesting. Judy and Moana failed when trying to go against the grain. They were physically hurt, emotionally drained, and mentally about to crash. So, they both tried to go back to the normal life, following in the footsteps of tradition. Yet, that nagging feeling to break from the mold never went away.
Ultimately, in Moana, the fish left, the coconuts started going bad, the land itself seemed to be dying. Circumstances would push them to go eventually. And so she left…
Maui is another interesting character with a surprising backstory. His parents didn’t want him at birth; they threw him into the sea. I know. Wow! That is harsh. But the gods gave him a magic ‘hook’ which allows him to change form into various animals. Cool ability. He became a demi-god. Still, he used his power to buy the approval of people and, in his words, “…it was never enough.” It never is…
Moana and Maui make an awesome pair, eventually, when they learn how to get along. The little pig, Pua, was so cute, but needed more screen time to compete for the best sidekick.
I must say, the googly-eyed ‘chicken’ stole the show. Oh my gosh, it was hilarious. Lacking any semblance of sense, HeiHei would do random things out of the blue that escape logic. And how the other characters interacted with it made this even more funny because everyone had a look on their face like, ‘Wow, you are a stupid chicken.’ 🙂 That chicken only progressed the story one time during the entire film! Everything else, it interrupts intense conversations, critical moments, it just shows up.
I think the most interesting character in all of this was the Ocean. The Ocean was alive and intervened when it felt good & ready. Sometimes, the Ocean could have saved the day and chose not to. Characters were left wondering why do you help sometimes, but not all the time. We ask the same question about God.
It feels like a partnership to me. If you are chosen, you have to do the work. The Ocean, in this case, only helps when the situation has gotten so dire, you can’t resolve the problem on your own. So, do all you can do, but understand that’s not going to be enough to succeed. You’re going to need some sort of help or ‘divine intervention’ to make it. Otherwise, even your best efforts will ultimately lead to failure. 😦 Why? Because the task you’ve been chosen to complete is bigger than you can handle, which leads to my final point…
Isn’t she the cutest thing? This is when the Ocean chose Moana to be the first of her people in generations to return to exploring beyond The Reef. Yes, she noticed a wave rising up and looking at her. Odd, isn’t it? But it’s the same for all of us. We were all toddlers and our purpose in life was already given to us by… in this case, the Ocean.
For Moana, the years after this moment were spent trying to figure out why she was chosen for this specific task and if she was really chosen in the first place. Why are you drawn to a specific thing? Why do you have a strong passion for one thing and despise something else. Moana could not find peace until she decided to follow the nagging feeling she’s had since this moment…
Everyone needs a Gramma Tala. She was the one crazy person in the village who kept pushing Moana to follow her gut feeling. Telling her that she was chosen for a reason, she had a purpose to do something beyond the norm. Of course, Moana’s parents disagreed, but Gramma did not care. When Moana was ready, Tala gave one more nudge and left it to Moana to decide what she would do.
Now, it’s our turn. It’s your decision. It’s my decision. What’s your nagging feeling that you can’t get away from? It’s there for a reason and if you don’t follow it on your own, Life has a way of getting you to move.
Follow your dream.
Eric Christopher Jackson