Moana “Shiny” (2016)

Tamatoa_holding_Moana.jpg

Moana “Shiny” (2016)

While I love Moana very much, there is one section that threatens to derail the film (it doesn’t, but it comes very close) and that is when Moana and Maui visit Lalotai, the realm of monsters, in order to retrieve Maui’s magic fish hook. The hook is currently held by Tamatoa (Jemaine Clement), a gigantic coconut crab with a love for all things shiny (he also hates Maui with a passion). Moana is sent out as bait to distract Tamatoa while Maui grabs the hook, but as this IS a Disney film, the plan quickly turns sideways when the demi-god discovers he can’t change shape like he used to, leaving both our heroes in the clutches of Tamatoa who, at Moana’s previous urging, sings a song about why he’s so fabulous. Here’s an excerpt of the lyrics:

Well, well, well
Little Maui’s having trouble with his look
You little semi-demi-mini-god
Ouch! What a terrible performance
Get the hook! (Get it?)
You don’t swing it like you used to, man

Yet I have to give you credit for my start
And your tattoos on the outside
For just like you I made myself a work of art
I’ll never hide, I can’t, I’m too

Shiny
Watch me dazzle like a diamond in the rough
Strut my stuff, my stuff is so
Shiny
Send your armies but they’ll never be enough
My shell’s too tough, Maui man

For a Disney song, “Shiny” is definitely out there. According to all the trivia I’ve read, David Bowie served as inspiration for Tamatoa’s performance and vocals, though personally I don’t see the resemblance (if you do please let me know in the comments below!). Like most Disney villains, Tamatoa has a very inflated opinion of himself and has covered most of his shell in glittering treasures (including Maui’s hook). But he’s also shiny in another way: just as he prepares to eat Maui, Tamatoa reveals he’s also bio-luminescent (picture the way certain colors glow under a blacklight) and can appear quite scary when he chooses.

“Shiny” also lets a big secret slip out: Maui didn’t start out as a demi-god. He was actually born a human to mortal parents who, for whatever reason, abandoned him at birth by throwing him into the sea (pretty dark but this IS Disney we’re talking about, they’re masters at slipping in ultra-dark moments).

Far from the ones who abandoned you
Chasing the love of
These humans who made you feel wanted
You tried to be tough
But your armor’s just not hard enough

The gods took pity on baby Maui and made him a demi-god. Ever since Maui has sought the favor of humans in the misguided belief that if he just does enough, they’ll love him forever.

The song also has a number of Easter Eggs that refer back to earlier Disney films. The one’s I’ve found so far include:

  • Did your granny say listen to your heart? (Pocahontas)
  • Be who you are on the inside? (Beauty and the Beast and arguably Frozen also)
  • Like a treasure from a sunken pirate wreck (The Little Mermaid, Ariel used to get treasures from shipwrecks)
  • Watch me dazzle like a diamond in the rough (Aladdin)

I said earlier that “Shiny” almost derails the story because the segment is so….out there…compared to the rest of the film. It feels and sounds so different that it nearly takes me out of the film. That being said, I do like “Shiny,” it’s an interesting song that provides some backstory on Maui and also shows off Moana’s ingenuity (she tricks Tamatoa in beautiful fashion by appealing to his greed with a fake Heart of Te Fiti). What do you think of “Shiny”? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day 🙂

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See also:

Moana “Where You Are” (2016)

Moana “How Far I’ll Go” (2016)

Moana “How Far I’ll Go (reprise)” (2016)

Moana “We Know the Way” (2016)

Moana “You’re Welcome” (2016)

 

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One thought on “Moana “Shiny” (2016)

  1. Pingback: Moana “I am Moana” (2016) | Film Music Central

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