Moana (2016) Poster

(I) (2016)


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In the trailer Maui says he lassoed the sun with a fish hook and pulled the land from the ocean. These are Maori legends detailing how New Zealand came to be. Maui pulled the land up while fishing. He lassoed the sun because the days were too short. There is also a version that Maui lassoed the sun with a net.
Dwayne Johnson is a firm believer that voice-acting is the most difficult career in acting, and is personally annoyed by celebrities being cast in animated films despite their bad delivery in voicing their characters. When Johnson was cast for the film, he repeatedly asked the other voice-actors present if he was indeed giving a good performance.
Lin-Manuel Miranda was signed on to write the music for Moana (2016) before the Broadway stage musical "Hamilton" became a worldwide phenomenal hit. After it did, he would often chat with the rest of the crew through Skype from backstage, sometimes still in costume.
Moana is the second Disney Princess to have a story not based on a fairy tale, nor having a love interest. The first one was Merida from Brave (2012), four years prior.
When Moana first meets Maui, he cocks his eyebrow in a strange way. This is the people's eyebrow, a signature move of Dwayne Johnson from his wrestling career.
With actors/actresses consisting of Dwayne Johnson, Auli'i Cravalho, Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Jemaine Clement, Nicole Scherzinger, Oscar Kightley, and Troy Polamalu, this marks the first time where Polynesians performers are the main focus of a Disney/Hollywood film.
When he first gets his hook and is trying to shapeshift, Maui changes into various animals. For a split second, he turns into Sven the Reindeer from Frozen (2013).
In the October 20, 2014 interview with Huffington Post, director Ron Clements recalls the experience of visiting the islands of the South Pacific to gain artistic and authentic references for the film: "When we visited those islands, John [Musker] and I were especially interested in meeting people who lived on islands where they had grown up surrounded by an ocean. We wondered how that might affect your point-of-view. And we learned a lot. We learned all kinds of things that we didn't know. We learned how the sea and the land are one and the same. How these people think of the ocean as something that unites the islands, not something that separates them. And then we learned about the great migration and how the people of the Islands take great pride in the fact that their ancient ancestors invented this way of navigation called dead reckoning which involved studying the stars and the currents. And way before the European explorers or the Vikings, these people had this very, very incredibly advanced techniques of navigation." As Clements continued, "So many of these ideas in terms of respect for nature, respect for the ocean and the elements - all of these things - really had a huge influence on us and then began to make their way into this film's story," Ron continued. "Which is why Moana is now the most ambitious thing that John and I have ever attempted. There's definitely an epic aspect to this story. Not to mention huge opportunities for comedy and action and adventure. But at the same time, there's also a key relationship at the very heart of this story. An emotional core that - I think - is especially important with this film. But as it is with any of these things, you just hope that - in the end - you can get it right."
This is the fifth consecutive Disney animated feature for Alan Tudyk following Wreck-It Ralph (2012), Frozen (2013), Big Hero 6 (2014), and Zootopia (2016).
Although this is a computer animated film, Maui's tattoos are hand-drawn animated. This marks Moana (2016) as the first full-length Disney animated feature film since Winnie the Pooh (2011) to feature pure hand-drawn animation.
2016 marks the first time since 2002 where two Disney animated feature films were released the same year (Lilo & Stitch (2002) and Treasure Planet (2002)). Zootopia (2016) came out eight months before Moana (2016).
The first baby in the Production Babies credit is Sebastian, Lin-Manuel Miranda's son, who was born during the making of Moana (2016) and is named for the crab in The Little Mermaid (1989).
In Europe and Asia both the protagonist and the movie are renamed to "Vaiana". Not only didn't Disney want to avoid association with Italian porn star Moana Pozzi, but the, lesser known, main reason was actually that there's a cosmetics brand that owns the legal copyright to the use of "Moana" in Europe.

In countries where an English-spoken, subtitled version was released, the name in all spoken dialogue and songs is changed (e.g. the song "I am Moana" changes to "I am Vaiana"). This means the actors had to record twice some parts in order to allow the film to be screened in Europe in English.
Moana (2016) was featured in Zootopia (2016) as a film called "Meowana".
Moana is the first full-length computer animated feature film to be written and directed by John Musker and Ron Clements, who were responsible for directing The Great Mouse Detective (1986), The Little Mermaid (1989), Aladdin (1992), Hercules (1997), Treasure Planet (2002), and The Princess and the Frog (2009), all of which were predominantly in hand-drawn animation. When it was initially rumored that Moana would be made in the hand-drawn/computer-animated technique "Meander" introduced with Disney's short film Paperman (2012), director John Musker said that it is "far too early to apply the Paperman (2012) hybrid technique to a feature. The Meander digital in-betweening interface still has a host of production issues (including color) that need to be perfected."

Besides, the directors also stated that the environment, including the ocean, benefited much more from the use of CGI as opposed to a traditional animation and that three-dimensional computer animation is naturally good at generating the sculpted faces of the people of the South Pacific. Maui's tattoos, on the other hand, are purely hand-drawn animated without the use of the "Meander".
Starting December 2014, Disney hosted a global casting call for the role of Moana (2016). Thousands of girls auditioned for the role through the Internet and actual casting calls in different locations. Nearly a year later in October 2015, Disney officially announced that the lucky newcomer who will voice Moana (2016) is Hawaiian-native Auli'i Cravalho.
First musical film for Dwayne Johnson.
Heihei is voiced by Alan Tudyk, while Pua's vocalizations are sampled from real pigs, making this one of the few animated projects by Disney where neither Frank Welker nor Dee Bradley Baker supply the animal vocal effects.
The first Polynesian-themed Disney animated feature film since Lilo & Stitch (2002).
Dwayne Johnson had always wanted to work with directors John Musker and Ron Clements, having loved Aladdin when it came out in 1992 and his daughter loved both Aladdin (1992) and The Little Mermaid (1989).
The first draft of the screenplay was written by Taika Waititi, who would go on to direct Thor: Ragnarok (2017), another film featuring a mythological deity wielding an enchanted weapon.
One flower that blossoms near the bottom right at the end is the magic flower from Tangled (2010).
Fifth Harmony member and pop star Dinah Jane auditioned for the role of Moana. She was long rumored to be the voice of Moana until the official announcement of Auli'i Cravalho.
The genie's lamp from Aladdin can be seen on Tomatoa's shell.
After directing The Princess and the Frog (2009), John Musker and Ron Clements started working on an adaptation of Terry Pratchett's "Mort", but rights problems prevented them to continue with the project. To avoid similar problems, they pitched three new ideas, and in 2011 started developing the film based on an original idea.
Directors John Musker and Ron Clements put in months of research and even immersed themselves in the Polynesian culture in order to make the film respectful to the culture and mythology of the Polynesian people.
Villagers are seen beating a rug which resembles the magic carpet from Aladdin (1992).
Lin-Manuel Miranda has stated the character of Tamatoa the Giant Crab was a tribute to musician David Bowie.
Young Moana helps a turtle walk across the sand by holding a palm frond over his head. This mirrors a similar image from Lilo & Stitch (2002).
Many of the characters in Moana (2016) are Pacific island language names/ or words. Moana means "ocean" and "blue" in both Hawaiian and Maori (the "Vaiana" name that was used in European and Asian released means "fresh water", so less fitting but still water-based); Hei Hei (Moana's pet rooster) means "Chicken" in Maori; Pua (Moana's pet pig) means "offspring" or "flower" and is also possibly short for "pua'a" meaning "pig"; Maui (the demigod) is the name of a Polynesian demi-god and the second largest Hawaiian island; Tui (Moana's father) is a name of a bird native in the Polynesian islands; Tala (Moana's grandmother) means "story" in Samoan (due to the character telling the legend of Maui, Te Fiti and Te Ka at the beginning of the movie) and is the name of the goddess of the stars in Tagalog mythology; Tamatoa (the giant crab) means "Trophies" in Maori.
Moana (2016) is the first feature film produced by Osnat Shurer, who is currently the Vice President of Development at Walt Disney Animation Studios. In the October 20, 2014 Huffington Post interview, Shurer stated: "And much as I loved all the projects currently in development (WDAS has a very strong development slate and amazing filmmakers at the helm), I particularly resonated with 'Moana' for a number of reasons: Ron and John are awesome. This film deals with a surprising, exciting, and lesser known culture, which is right up my alley. It's a fantastic story. And Moana has this kick-ass, feisty, interesting female protagonist," Shurer explained. "So that when Ron and John asked if I would be their producer, and I said I would very much like to, John Lasseter, Ed Catmull, and Andrew Millstein thought it was a fantastic match."
First Polynesian of the Disney Princesses, and second Polynesian lead since Lilo & Stitch (2002).
One of the Kakamora has face-paint very similar to Baymax from Big Hero 6 (2014).
In the undersea Kingdom of Monsters Godzilla is seen fleetingly.
Moana (2016) was released on lead actress Auli'i Cravalho's 16th birthday. (Due to the newer practice of theaters having late showtimes the evening before the release date.)
Samoan Holler: As Maui jumps into the Realm of Monsters, he shouts "cheehoo." This is an expression of excitement rooted in the Samoan origins, and is often said today in Hawaii. This makes Moana (2016) the first time "cheehoo" is used in a Disney animated film. It can be easily be mistaken for a Goofy Holler, one of the recurring sounds that's shown up in Disney Films over the years.
At one point in the movie, Maui is seen bouncing his tattoo self from one side of his chest to the other and back again as he flexes his pectoral muscles. This is a signature trait of Dwayne Johnson, who voices Maui. One example of this can be seen in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012) when Dwayne Johnson's character "Hank" is demonstrating the "Pec Pop of Love".
Lin-Manuel Miranda has stated that The Little Mermaid (1989) had inspired him to become a songwriter for films like this.
In the October 20, 2014 interview with Huffington Post, director John Musker said of the film's inspiration: "I grew up reading the novels of [Herman] Melville and [Joseph] Conrad. And the South Seas, the exotic world that a lot of their stories are set in, was extremely intriguing to me. Just looking at the art which comes out that corner of the globe - the carvings, the statuary, the sculpture - I thought that it all begged for this bigger-than-life treatment that you can only get with animation," John remembered. "So to expand on that idea, I then began reading up on the mythology of this area. Which is when I came across these incredible tales about Maui, who's one of the great cultural heroes of the South Pacific." It was, then, Musker felt that a film it could be found amid the promising potential. After when the potential adaptation of Terry Prachett's "Mort" got canned, he and longtime collaborator, director Ron Clements, pitched the project to WDAS CEO John Lasseter. "So Ron and I developed this very simple storyline. I love this arena. I love the bare bones of the story you've got. But this really begs for research. On the ground research. So we were forced, as it were, " Musker said jokingly, "to go to the South Seas two years ago. We've gone twice now. Two big research trips. And those trips have been revelatory and kind of life-changing in a way. In that it made us take our very simple outline and rework the whole thing."
When Maui transforms into shark head Maui, we can see that his stomach tattoo changes to him with his shark head holding his hook
First film directed by Ron Clements and John Musker not to feature Corey Burton, Jim Cummings or Frank Welker as part of the voice cast.
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This is Dwayne Johnson's second animated movie. His first animated movie was Planet 51 (2009), seven years prior.
Moana (2016) is the first film directed by John Musker and Ron Clements to have to an oceanic setting since The Little Mermaid (1989).
In Tamatoa the crab's song, "Shiny," he mentions Moana's granny saying "listen to your heart," and describes himself as dazzling "like a diamond in the rough." These may be references to previous Disney animated films, Pocahontas (1995) and Aladdin (1992).
There is a fallen statue of Maui on a desert island that seems to be an allusion to Percy Bysshe Shelley's classic poem Ozymandias. Ozymandias being a egotistical ruler from ancient times, but all that remained of him was a fallen statue with a broken nose.
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This is Jemaine Clement's fourth animated film. His first one was Despicable Me (2010), where he voiced minion Jerry, and the other two times had been in Rio (2011) and its sequel Rio 2 (2014), where he voiced Nigel the Cockatoo.
Auli'i Cravalho makes her acting debut in Moana (2016).
Jemaine Clement's 3rd Disney Film. The other 2 being Muppets Most Wanted (2014) and The BFG (2016).
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This is the fourth film from Walt Disney Animation Studios after Big Hero 6 (2014), Brother Bear (2003) and The Lion King (1994) to feature the title of the movie appearing at the end.
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This is the second time Dwayne Johnson has played a demi-god. His first portrayal as a demi-god was Hercules from Hercules (2014). Disney had previously released its own animated version of the story of that demi-God: Hercules (1997).
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Moana (2016) is the most ambitious motion picture ever attempted by directors John Musker and Ron Clements, surpassing their previous films The Little Mermaid (1989) and Treasure Planet (2002).
This is the 20th Disney animated feature film to simply be named after the main protagonist(s). The others were Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Pinocchio (1940), Dumbo (1941), Bambi (1942), Cinderella (1950), Peter Pan (1953), Lady and the Tramp (1955), Robin Hood (1973), Oliver & Company (1988), Aladdin (1992), Pocahontas (1995), Hercules (1997), Mulan (1998), Tarzan (1999), Lilo & Stitch (2002), Chicken Little (2005), Bolt (2008), Winnie the Pooh (2011) and Wreck-It Ralph (2012).
Moana's father has a tattoo that is reminiscent of Dwayne Johnson's Samoan tribal tattoos on his left pectoral muscle and left arm.
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This is Dwayne Johnson's third Disney movie after The Game Plan (2007) and Race to Witch Mountain (2009).
This is the second Disney animated feature film that's computer animated to use brief traditional animation at some point, mainly Maui's tattoos and the last verse of the "You're Welcome" song sequence. The first one was Bolt (2008), where it used in the first half and at the end the closing credits.
This is the first film from directors John Musker and Ron Clements to be in 2.35:1 aspect ratio.
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Jemaine Clement and Nicole Scherzinger work together in Men in Black 3 (2012).
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Due to copyright issues, this movie is called Vaiana in the Netherlands. This led to having the voice actors come back to record some of their lines again.
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The voice for Tamatoa, Jemaine Clement, also voiced another vain lamentful character in Rio (2011), a cockatoo by the name of Nigel, who much like Tamatoa is the Secondary Antagonist of his film.
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Director Trademark 

John Musker, Ron Clements: [cartoon caricatures of the directors in their own film] The characters of Hei Hei the Rooster and Pua the Pig are based on the looks of the directors John Musker and Ron Clements; thus, continuing the tradition of the appearance of the John Musker and Ron Clements cartoon caricatures in their own films, dating all the way back to The Little Mermaid (1989). This time around, however, their caricatures are to be served as supporting characters rather than a small cameo appearance, as the story of Moana requires the use of Hei Hei the Rooster and Pua the Pig as Moana's loyal sidekicks.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

No human characters meet Maui except Moana.
The Title Character of Wreck-It Ralph (2012) has a cameo during the credits, possibly to tease the next Disney Animated Feature Film, being Untitled Wreck-It Ralph Sequel (2018).
When Gramma Tala is lying sick in the tent, the shell call that alerts Moana and her father is the same sound used in Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland.
Most characters in Moana's village have either variations of the tattoos Maui's voice actor Dwayne Johnson has in real life or the actual tattoos.
Moana (2016) is the first Disney Animated Feature Film since Meet the Robinsons (2007) where the Main Antagonist doesn't speak. Te Ka (the lava goddess) was Te Fiti (the island goddess) without her heart, causing her to become corrupt and erratic until Moana returns the Heart, reminding her (Te Ka) who she truly is (Te Fiti). This plot element is similar to the anime movie Princess Mononoke (1997), where the normally beneficial Spirit of the forest loses its head and becomes a destructive force, in an erratic search for its missing head till San and Ashitaka return the head to the spirit.
When Maui is in his giant eagle form, the underside of his right wing has a mark that looks like a fishhook. This is best seen at the very end of the film.
In a Post Credit scene, Tamatoa the Giant Crab breaks the fourth wall, asking the audience if would help him if he was named Sebastian and have a Jamaican Accent. Sebastian is the name of the Jamaican Crab in The Little Mermaid (1989) which was also directed by Ron Clements and John Musker.
Te Fiti, in her original form, slightly resembles the Spring Sprite from the "Fire bird suite" segment in "Fantasia 2000", while Te Ka (Te Fiti without her heart) slightly resembles the fire-bird that the sprite accidentally awakens.
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In the beginning of the movie when Moana's grandmother is telling the story, she rolls down two scrolls and one of them pictures Tamatoa, the giant crab that Moana and Maui have to face later on in the movie.
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Moana (2016) contains two clear references to the film The Abyss (1989). First, the characterized and (almost) personified ocean (water taking form/shape shifting) is similar to the water "tube/ROV" that scopes out the oil rig in The Abyss. Second, the bioluminescent manta ray (spirit of Moana's grandmother), bears a striking resemblance to the creatures at the end of The Abyss.
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When Moana and Maui are in the Realm of Monsters, Godzilla (or rather his back-spikes) makes a brief cameo.
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