#1 Moana is Brown!
The next brown Disney female character has arrived! Do I really have to explain how having more brown role models can only benefit both kids and adults alike? Not only that, but Moana is also one of the first ladies to join the normally proportioned body club! It’s never once about her outfit or a change of costume, as she wears the traditional dress of her island and culture the whole movie!
#2 EVERYONE is Brown!
Moana displays another culture and skin color, showcasing the very rich and interesting history of the people and how they lived their lives. Need I expand on why having this onscreen is super effective and just breeds tolerance?
#3 It’s Magical All Around
The world this movie creates, its animation style, its message and its songs are all around magical, stunning and moving. It is the best work Disney has done so far!
#4 Some Songs Start in a Different Language First
We get a wonderful taste of another culture as we struggle to understand the beautiful words before we get our English version.
#5 Traditional Dance of Another Culture
There are so many wonderful traditional dance components sprinkled throughout the musical numbers in this film. It’s so important to be exposed to the culture of others.
#6 Moana Follows What’s Inside
When everything around her tells Moana she needs to follow tradition and focus on her duty to the Island, she’s knows there must be another solution to the Island’s problems. She must leave it to save it! There is danger in the unknown, but she approaches life with curiosity and good intentions. How could the result be anything but good, right?
#7 Moana Dreams Big
Moana’s inner voice drives her dreams of sailing beyond the reef. She doesn’t let anything stop her passion, even serious danger! Even when her first attempt to leave the reef fails, she keeps after her goal!
#8 No Love Interest In Sight
Girl’s got bigger fish to fry than worrying about love right now!
#9 Line of Succession
There is no question, explanation or second thought that Moana will take her father’s place as Chief. There’s no speech about how she’s going to be the first female chief. She’s just going to be!
#10 Trust and Nurture Your Child’s Passion
As kids, we sometimes want to do some crazy things. We don’t always know what it takes or what came before us to make these things possible, but generally, we sure do know what we are passionate about. These passions should be supported (within reason) to help maintain the connection between parent and child. (Because if we know anything about teenagers, chances are they will probably try to do it anyway with or without support.)
#11 Respect, Learn From and Treasure Your Elders
Moana respects her Mother, Father and, most of all, her Grandmother. Although she wants badly to sail and leave the Island, she also respects her parents’ wishes and treasures her Grandmother’s teaching and advice. There is so much wisdom in the generation above us, and yet we cast it off in favor of our own wants and the newer, faster, better way. So much can be learned and applied if only we follow Moana’s example of respecting and appreciating her elders.
#12 Dealing With Death
Moana’s grandmother passes away, and there is no skirting around the difficulty of this for her. She has a brief moment to say goodbye and receive her grandmother’s final words of wisdom. It is clear when her Grandmother has died, but she is reincarnated and stays with Moana during her entire journey. She is there in her darkest and lowest moment. She is inside her the whole time. Our people can always be with us and within us and influence us if we let them.
#13 Life Is Hard
Life beats you up and doesn’t always help you out when you need it most. Sometimes, the things you depend on or that helped you before don’t help, and you get thrown off your path. Stay strong and hopeful. Things have a funny way of working out…
#14 Gender Inclusive
Maui is a hero to all. Nuff said.
#15 Your Ego Will Give You Away, Your Conscience Sets You Free
Your ego can certainly look nice, and people might misread it for accomplishment, but it will ultimately give you away. Your conscience always knows the right thing to do. Perhaps we ought to indulge that angel voice a bit more than the devil tapping us on the other shoulder. Who knows, it might help you save the planet and become that special hero to all!
#16 Fight Coconuts, Not People
The villain in this “fight scene” is portrayed by coconuts, not people. I can’t tell you the wonders this does in terms of the subliminal message it gives kids. It’s not about fighting someone else, or another race, but rather hittin’ some coconuts around on the way to saving the world. They aren’t super important, and they aren’t human, but boy are they fun, witty and dangerous little suckers.
#17 Help Others
Doing the right thing, aka helping people and looking out for each other, gets you recognition. This is what people will remember you for. The other stuff is great, but helping other people means the most in the long run.
#18 Hidden Strengths
Moana see potential in everyone and does not discriminate based on first look, or second, or even third. She never gives up on people, or chickens, as everyone has hidden strengths!
#19 Moana Continues to Be Underestimated and Continues to Surprise
Girl has got mad skills, and on top of that, she just keeps learning and getting better!
#20 Fab Crab
He’s so SHINY! This guy knows who he is on the inside and the outside. He’s sure of himself, and it’s beautiful! He knows what he wants more than most of us, and as we see, definitely more than Maui. He teaches us to take a hard look at ourselves and resolve what’s going on inside, so you can shine on the outside, baby!
#20 Promotes Empathy
Moana has empathy for her family, village and Island, for her animal friends, the new people she meets, and for the ocean and Mother Nature. This is different than just sympathizing, as she actively tries to understand and identify with those around her and her environment. What better example could be set as to how we should treat one another and our planet? When you open up to those around you, others can offer you a different perspective, and help could come from the most unlikely source!
#21 She Learns a Skill
Moana doesn’t sit on the beach and dream about sailing, or just hop out on the water in a canoe and is suddenly good at Way Finding. She goes through many failed attempts. She hurts herself and almost drowns in the reef, but she doesn’t let even that near death experience turn her away! She learns, even from a hard and sometimes unwilling teacher, and she perseveres. She studies, practices and improves! She masters her own craft, and eventually, she is even able to pass on what she learned to her people!
#22 Mother Nature is Pissed
Mother nature is pretty mad at us for the way we’ve treated her. Wouldn’t you be? She is clearly not a fan, but she forgives. Just…let us girls talk to her, okay guys?
#23 Girls Will Save the World
As previously mentioned, girls are going to be the ones to fix this mess we’ve landed ourselves in. So boys, join in and help us out, or step aside and let us get this under control! (Honestly, where are some of your mothers?)
#24 We Can Begin to Heal the Planet
So let’s get on it, okay, people? Our planet want us to love it. How can we start doing that today?
#25 Our True BFFs Are Always Waiting For Us When We Come Home
They may not be able to come on our journey with us, but they’re happily waiting to hear all about it when we get back!
#26 Our Hair Never Does What We Tell It
Any curly haired girl watching this knows the hair struggle. Thank you, Moana, for rocking the hell out of it!
#27 Never Forget Where You Come From
Moana’s inspiration for saving the Island comes from learning about her past. Her whole journey is rooted in where she comes from and her history. It never strays far from her mind. Instead of casting it off to forge ahead into the future, she learns from her past and ends up using an old tradition to save her village, the Island, and the world, bringing forth an improved way of life.