Disney Studios has come a long way since it’s first princess movie, Snow White, debuted in December 1937. For decades, every princess looked the same-she was a Caucasian. That changed in 1992 with Disney’s release of Aladdin. Princess Jasmine was the stereotypical passive princess, however, she was represented in a different hue that represented the Middle East where she lived.
While Pocahontas and Mulan were not really princesses (Mulan was actually a warrior), they are marketed to young girls as such. Tiana from The Princess and the Frog was the studio’s first African-American princess. Over the years, the newest princesses in the Disney stable have been more proactive in their own destiny, relying on themselves and not a man to save them. They are Rapunzel from Tangled, Anna and Elsa from Frozen and Merida from Brave. But, like the princesses of the past, have not been racially diverse, and this has been one of the things for which Disney has been criticized.
On November 23, 2016, Disney will be responding to critics by introducing the first Polynesian heroine (she is NOT a princess). Unlike royalty of the past, she is not in search of true love, but on a quest to save her people. The title of the film is Moana.
The Story Behind Moana
On October 20, 2014, Disney announced that production was beginning on the film, it’s 56th animated release. It was going to be done using Computer Generated animation. The two brilliant minds directing the story are Ron Clements and John Musker, the team that brought audiences Disney classics such as The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, and The Princess and the Frog.
That talent is just the tip of the iceberg. Moana is a musical, with the score being composed by Alan Menken, whose credits include Beauty and The Beast, Tangled, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Newsies. Other music for the film is being composed by Te Vaka’s South Pacific band founder Opetaia Foa’i, by Broadway’s Hamilton star and writer Lin-Manuel Miranda and by Grammy-winner Mark Mancina, who also has many DIsney credits to his resume.
With such proven talent behind the scenes, Moana promises to be the next mega-hit for Disney. The Thanksgiving holiday release date ensures that it will be on many families must see list during the long holiday weekend.
What is the Plot of the Film?
The story takes place on the islands of Oceania in the Pacific Ocean two thousand years ago. For thousands of years sailors embarked on journeys to this mystical place, and then that mysteriously ended.
Thanks to all of the stories her grandmother told her about the demigod of the sea, Maui, Moana wants to go on her own adventures to navigate them herself. However, her father, Chief Tui, will not permit her to go. Moana then sets out on a mission to save her people and fulfill the quest of her ancestors. She encounters all kinds of turmoil while learning to navigate the seas, but with demigod Maui by her side (a man born human but raised by the gods), the impossible seems possible. Movie goers will learn about Polynesian culture as the movie’s story unfolds.
Of course, like other protagonists of past Disney feature films, our heroine also has an animal sidekick to go along on her many adventures. Moana’s pig is named Pua. In addition, there is a rooster named Hei Hei. who stows along for the ride (reminiscent of Crickee from Mulan). The characers are all together as they encounter dangerous sea monsters and an evil land spirit (envision something like Ursula from The Little Mermaid).
Who is in the Cast?
It was important to Disney Studios to find just the right voice for its newest heroine. There were hundred of submissions via YouTube, but serendipity would have a casting agent discovering 14 year old Auli’i Cravalho from Oahu. She auditioned for Clements and Musker and was hired.
Playing mythical Hawaiian hero Maui is Dwayne Johnson, who is half Samoan and Half African-American. The former professional wrestler has made a name for himself in films, and now those who go to see Moana will also hear him both sing and rap!
Alan Tudyk will also be sharing his vocal talents. He has been heard in previous Disney animated films, but for Moana, his role is being kept a secret…for now.
Disney Moana Costume for Girls for Those Who Want a Ready Made Costume
Disney has just released a Moana costume for girls for those who want something that is ready to wear.
Disney Moana Costume for Girls Available on Amazon
This costume is available in several different sizes. It starts with size 3 for preschoolers and goes all the way up to size 13 for tweens and young teens. It comes with everything you see here- a top and a matching skirt that is full of detail, just like what Moana wears in the movie. If the weather is chilly by you, just add some flesh colored tights or leggings. A wig is also available at The Disney Store to purchase if your child does not have long curly hair like the main character.
Cosplay Moana Costume for Women
A new Cosplay version of the costume is also available for adults who want something that is already put together.
Disney Princess Moana DIY Costume for Women
At the present time, there is no costume on the market for this Polynesian princess, but that does not mean you cannot put together your own version! Here are some very easy and basic pieces for your ensemble.
Photo from Amazon
The first piece of your Disney Princess Moana DIY costume is this red crop top from Luna-Flower. It has a scoop neckline and is made from 95% cotton and 5% Spandex. It comes in sizes Small, Medium and Large and is soft to the skin and pretty to wear. It is available on Amazon.
In the promotional illustrations of Moana, you can see a beige grass skirt peeking out from under the white top layer. This one os for adults and it comes in a three pack, making it perfect for layering. Each one measures 31 inches in the waist and 32 inches in the length. Find it here on Amazon.
Photo from Amazon
Above Moana’s grass skirt there is a white lace wrap. The picture above is a white lace scarf that has shimmery metallic thread woven throughout. It measure approximately 82″ by 19″, with the fringes being 7 inches. Because it is large, it can wrap around many different sized figures. This has received rave reviews on Amazon, and is yet another piece to this costume that can be worn after the holiday is over.
Photo from Amazon
The final piece in the clothing ensemble is this red scarf. Moana wears something similar around her waist. Again, this is another piece that can be used in your everyday wardrobe once Halloween is over. It is made of 100% Viscose and measures 60 inches long by 22 inches wide.