Yesterday, I went to see the new Disney movie, Moana, and I can’t stop thinking about it…my reactions to this new film might purely focus on the big, bad-ass tattooed main character Maui. Well for me, the tale of Moana was so much more!
I won’t go through the plot scene-by-scene, no one gains anything from that! Instead, here are the 5 things I’ve taken away from it and if you’ve got a brain like mine… you’ll be straight off to buy a ticket if you haven’t already.
1. The story has nothing to do with romance / love / finding your soulmate. No offence to Eric, John Smith, the Beast and the other epic male love interests that Disney has given us over the years, but it’s not always about the boys (sorry bab). In the same way Frozen was about other types of love, Moana has a much richer and deeper tale to tell.
2. Tattoos! I said I wouldn’t talk about it too much but hey, I can’t not. The demi-God that adventures by Moana’s side is covered in beautiful tribal tattoos. He tells her the history of his marks, how they represent his own stories and celebrate his accomplishments. The twist – they’re magical tattoos that talk. They shift shape whenever something new happens in his life, or if they need to try and send him an important message to remind him to follow his heart. His supernatural Polynesian-style tattoos are a metaphor for… ummm… tattoos, and the real strength they have for those who wear ink.
Tattoos also become a symbol of re-incarnation. Moana’s grandma reveals her connection to her back tattoo, and how she hopes it will aid creating her new animal self in the afterlife. Many tribal and indigenous tattoos are worn for these spiritual reasons, and it’s beautiful to see something on the big screen that portrays honest, real and precious tattoo stories.
3. We should seek out links to our ancestors. Without getting all preachy and righteous on you all (I know I have a tendency to), in the Western world today most of us have completely lost a connection to our past, our origins and our ancestors. You just have to walk down the high street this month (pre-Christmas) for just two minutes to see how commercialism and materialism has become so important to our everyday. Have we filled our lives with so much stuff, that we’ve forgotten the natural roots of where we really come from? A world where our focuses are as pure as Moana’s seems more and more alien. Like Pocahontas, this film reminds us us of what’s really important for a society to function and for us to reach happiness and peace.
4. Our planet is a bit fucked, and we need to do something about it. Coincidentally, as soon as I returned home from the cinema, Planet Earth II aired. The final episode focused on how cities are helping, and hindering, our natural world. It ended with a plea from David Attenborough – for us to act now, appreciate what we have, remember our roots and try to continue building our world in harmony with wildlife – wildlife that now is ultimately is paying the price. Myself (along with many others evidently) shed a tear at David’s speech, and at the harsh reality of where our planet is heading. In Moana, a dark curse is wiping out their islands and all living things – the princesses’ mission, like ours, is to find a way to stop it before it’s too late.
5. Follow your intuition. We all experience struggle in our lives. That familiar feeling of not knowing where to turn, who to listen to, or how to act. If we, like Moana, search within ourselves and our histories, we can find our way.