Category Archives: Disney

Moana “We Know the Way” (2016)


Moana “We Know the Way” (2016)

After unsuccessfully attempting to sail beyond the reef, Moana’s grandmother Tala decides its time Moana learned about a secret. Hidden deep in a cave behind a waterfall is a fleet of huge ships, far bigger than anything used to fish in the lagoon. At Tala’s urging Moana explores the ships and beats the drum on the largest ship, somehow awakening the spirits of the ancestors who show Moana a vision from the distant past: these ships once sailed all over the ocean, traveling from one island to the next. This journey is narrated by “We Know the Way.”

We read the wind and the sky when the sun is high
We sail the length of the seas on the ocean breeze
At night, we name every star
We know where we are
We know who we are, who we are

Aue, aue
We set a course to find
A brand new island everywhere we roam
Aue, aue
We keep our island in our mind
And when it’s time to find home
We know the way

Aue, aue
We are explorers reading every sign
We tell the stories of our elders in a never-ending chain
Aue, aue
Te fenua, te mālie
Nā heko hakilia
We know the way

These ancient mariners lived for sailing the ocean, using the stars and the great ocean currents to chart their course. Everyone helps during the journey, in much the same way that everyone works together on Motonui. Their identity is completely bound with the ocean. After a certain length of time, the chief passes a special necklace (the same that Moana later wears) to a young warrior (possibly his son?) and the cycle of voyaging continues with that voyager building a new fleet of large ships.

The visual of the ships sailing on the ocean is a wonderfully rendered piece of animation. With the first shot of this massive catamaran coming over a wave, you can feel the weight of the ship in the water. Another favorite shot comes when the children watch dolphins jumping in front of the ships.

This is a part of her history that Moana has never heard, as her father has always maintained that her tribe has always lived on Motonui. She’s overwhelmed to learn that her ancestors were in fact voyagers (which means that her desire to travel on the ocean isn’t abnormal at all!), but this raises a whole new question: if they spent so long voyaging and were so happy doing it, why did they stop?

“We Know the Way” is a wonderful song that I always listen to when I need to feel better. It shows a people who find their identity in who they are as opposed to where they are (go back for example and listen to “Where You Are” and compare it to “We Know the Way.”)

What do you think of “We Know the Way?” 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)


Alice in Wonderland “Very Good Advice” (1951)


Alice in Wonderland “Very Good Advice” (1951)

After being tossed from one silly situation to the next and believing she’s forever lost the way to get home, Alice has had quite enough of Wonderland. Not only that, she finally understands that she’s only here through her own actions: if she hadn’t followed the White Rabbit AND crawled down the rabbit hole, she never would have entered Wonderland in the first place and this knowledge makes her very upset. Surrounded by the silly looking creatures, Alice plops down and begins to cry about how she never takes her own good advice (this is the set up for “Very Good Advice”).

I give myself very good advice
But I very seldom follow it
That explains the trouble that I’m always in
Be patient, is very good advice
But the waiting makes me curious
And I’d love the change
Should something strange begin
Well I went along my merry way
And I never stopped to reason
I should have know there’d be a price to pay
Someday, someday
I give myself very good advice
But I very seldom follow it
Will I ever learn to do the things I should
Will I ever learn to do the things I should

As Alice cries, her tears seem to shatter the illusion of Wonderland around her. One by one, the silly creatures listening to her song begin to cry and disappear, until Alice is alone. Even the landscape melts away into blackness. It has always seemed to me that Wonderland is a world that only exists so long as you deny certain realities. Once you give in to them, it begins to fade away. This is a pretty sad and subdued moment compared to what comes before and after, but that’s good because it also serves as a moment for the viewer to catch their breath and get ready for the story to reach its conclusion. I have to admit, as a kid I never liked this part because it felt too slow to me.

And those are my thoughts on “Very Good Advice.” What do you think about this song? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day 🙂

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See also:

Disney Films & Soundtracks A-Z

Alice in Wonderland “In a World of My Own” (1951)

Alice in Wonderland “All in the Golden Afternoon” (1951)

Alice in Wonderland “The Un-Birthday Song” (1951)

Alice in Wonderland “The Walrus and the Carpenter” (1951)

Alice in Wonderland “Painting the Roses Red” (1951)

Hercules “I Won’t Say I’m in Love” (1997)

In Disney’s Hercules, Megara (“Meg”) is hardly the typical Disney princess-type (I know she’s not actually a princess but she’s inserted into that character slot). Unlike other Disney princesses, like Snow White, Aurora, even Belle, Meg is cynical, snarky, rebellious, and the older I get the more I identify with her. In all seriousness, Meg’s backstory is worthy of any Disney film: she sold her soul to Hades to save her boyfriend’s life, only to be abandoned when said boyfriend left her for another woman (though personally I’ve always suspected that Hades lured the boyfriend away on purpose so he could use Meg as a slave).


Hercules “I Won’t Say I’m in Love” (1997)

With everything that’s happened to her, it’s no wonder that Meg is resistant to the idea that she’s falling in love with the god-turned-mortal Hercules. After all, allegedly Meg’s only getting close to him to find a weakness so that Hades will release her from their bargain. However, the more you watch them, the more it becomes obvious that Meg does have feelings for the hero. But once Hercules is dragged away by Phil, she quickly denies it (which naturally draws the attention of the Muses, setting up one of my favorite songs).

In “I Won’t Say I’m in Love,” Meg spends nearly the entire song arguing against the Muses claims that she’s in love with Hercules. It’s an unwitting duet, as Meg doesn’t seem to realize she’s singing with the Muses, rather it’s almost like she’s replying to the thoughts in her head, though there are a few moments where Meg will turn really fast, as if she suspects there’s someone singing with her.


The biggest thing holding Meg back is that she’s been hurt before and she doesn’t want it to happen again. It’s summed up very well in this verse:

I thought my heart had learned its lesson/it feels so good when you start out,

My head is screaming “Get a grip girl!” Unless you’re dying to cry your heart out!

I think anyone who’s been in a relationship gone bad can identify with this feeling and how painful it can be. It’s no wonder Meg is resisting any idea of love. However, despite this, Meg is able to admit, to herself that “At least out loud, I won’t say I’m in love.” So by the end of the song, despite her fears, Meg is at least open to the idea of being in love again, though I don’t think she 100% realizes it until the end of the film (but that’s another story for another day).

And that’s “I Won’t Say I’m in Love.” What do you think of this song? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day 🙂

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See also:

Disney Films & Soundtracks A-Z

Hercules “Gospel Truth” (1997)

Hercules “Gospel Truth II & III” (1997)

Hercules “Go the Distance” (1997)

Hercules “One Last Hope” (1997)

Disturbing Disney #19: Cinderella’s dress is destroyed (1950)

There’s no denying that Cinderella goes through some pretty awful things before her happily ever after. Her father dies; she’s treated like a servant in her own home; Lady Tremaine (her stepmother) seems determined to make sure that Cinderella gets nothing while Anastasia and Drizella (her daughters) get everything. Knowing all of this, it’s surprising when, after receiving the invitation to the royal ball, Lady Tremaine agrees that Cinderella can go, provided she has a suitable dress of course. Even as a child I knew that something horrible was coming, but it never stopped me from being shocked and upset at what happens to poor Cinderella.

Cinderella “Dress tearing scene” (1950)

As I’ve related earlier, while Cinderella is worked ragged getting her stepsisters ready for the ball, her mice and bird friends work together to brighten up a dress that belonged to Cinderella’s mother. This involves using a sash and necklace that Anastasia and Drizella threw away (but keep in mind Cinderella doesn’t know this). Finally, as the others are leaving for the ball, Cinderella races down the stairs to join them, much to their surprise.

Lady Tremaine is nothing but a woman of her word…but she can’t help pointing out a few of the details on the dress, such as the necklace (which you know she recognized as her daughter’s) saying “These beads, they make just the right touch. Don’t you think so Drizella?”


These words serve as the trigger for the disturbing portion of this scene and I must say for a long time I wasn’t able to watch this part of the film at all. Having gone through a lot of bullying as a child and teenager, seeing Cinderella basically get attacked by her stepsisters brought back a lot of painful memories, as I’m sure it does for a lot of people watching this scene. But getting back to the scene…Drizella is halfway through an insult when she realizes the necklace belonged to her, prompting her to call Cinderella a thief and rip the necklace away. Of course Cinderella doesn’t understand why Drizella is upset, she had no idea the necklace belonged to her. And upon further inspection, Anastasia realizes the sash belonged to her so she rips it away and everything devolves into a frenzy, with the two sisters ripping Cinderella’s dress apart while Lady Tremaine just watches with a smug look on her face. It’s hard to tell what Drizella and Anastasia are saying, but one line has always jumped out at me: just before Lady Tremaine stops the torment, Drizella gets right in Cinderella’s face and yells “You ungrateful little-”


Ungrateful?? This is one of the most delusional lines I’ve ever heard. Cinderella waits on her stepsisters hand and foot and just because she wants to attend the ball in a homemade dress, that makes her ungrateful? Not to mention they’re only living in this beautiful mansion because Lady Tremaine married Cinderella’s father, I suspect the house belongs to Cinderella by right. This is just abuse, plain and simple.

What bugs me also is why Lady Tremaine lets them do this. She could have very easily just told Cinderella “No, you’re not going, I lied” and then left. No, she clearly wants Cinderella to suffer as well for no reason, which really puts her up there with the worst of the Disney villains.

In the end, of course, the dress, her mother’s dress, probably one of the few things of her mother Cinderella has left, is in ruins. Satisfied that her stepdaughter won’t be going anywhere, Lady Tremaine ushers her daughters out and smugly wishes Cinderella “good night.” Even though this directly leads into Cinderella meeting the Fairy Godmother and getting her beautiful gown, I can barely stand to watch this scene for the reasons previously mentioned. It puts you on an emotional roller coaster that is hard to get away from.

What do you think about the scene where Cinderella’s dress is torn apart by her stepsisters? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

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See also:

Disturbing Disney #1: The Coachman in Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #2: The truth of Pleasure Island in Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #3: Escaping Monstro from Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #4: Dumbo loses his mother (1941)

Disturbing Disney #5 The death of Bambi’s Mother

Disturbing Disney #6: Faline vs. the dogs (1942)

Disturbing Disney #7: Cruella wants to do WHAT??

Disturbing Disney #8: The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met (from Make Mine Music, 1946)

Disturbing Disney #9: Dr. Facilier’s Fate (The Princess and the Frog, 2009)

Disturbing Disney #10: The rat in Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Disturbing Disney #11: Clayton’s Death in Tarzan (1999)

Disturbing Disney #12: The Bear from The Fox and the Hound (1981)

Disturbing Disney #13: “Smoking them out” in The Fox and the Hound (1981)

Disturbing Disney #14: The Salt Trap in The Jungle Book (1994)

Disturbing Disney #15: Night on Bald Mountain from Fantasia (1940)

Disturbing Disney #16: King Triton destroys Ariel’s grotto

Disturbing Disney #17: Ratigan becomes a monster in The Great Mouse Detective

Disturbing Disney #18: The Queen’s assignment for her Huntsman

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


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

Given how vigilant Moana’s father is about no one leaving the island, I was curious to see how his daughter would manage to get away. The moment arrives, rather shockingly, when Grandmother Tala is revealed to be dying (a fan theory speculates that this is because she gave the Heart of Te Fiti to Moana that had hitherto been keeping her alive all these years). Moana is deeply upset, but Tala, knowing that this is her granddaughters only chance to get away, tells her to go and find Maui. This is absolutely heartbreaking: Moana doesn’t want to leave her grandmother without properly saying goodbye, but she also wants to set things right for the island. So she heads for the boats, which starts off the reprise of “How Far I’ll Go.”

There’s a line where the sky meets the sea and it calls me
But no one knows, how far it goes
All the time wondering where I need to be is behind me
I’m on my own, to worlds unknown

There’s a surprising moment when Moana is gathering supplies at her home: her mother Sia finds her and there’s a long stretch where they just stare at each other. And without saying a word Sia shows her support by throwing in some more supplies and giving them to Moana. She’s heartbroken but she also knows this is something her daughter has to do (I have a suspicion she’s known this for a while now).

Every turn I take, every trail I track
Is a choice I make, now I can’t turn back
From the great unknown where I go alone
Where I long to be


Having selected her boat and pushed it out into the lagoon, Moana looks back at the island and then comes my favorite part of this scene. All of the lights go out in the big hut and a huge manta ray spirit comes flying into the water. The manta is wonderfully animated, shining with bioluminescence in a design that matches the tattoo Tala had. Earlier, Tala had revealed a manta ray tattoo on her back, revealing that she would come back as one when she died. Moana sees this spirit and knows its her grandmother guiding her out to sea. This moment, I admit, always brings tears to my eyes because, despite being beautiful to see, it also means that her beloved grandmother is gone.

See her light up the night in the sea, she calls me
And yes I know that I can go
There’s a moon in the sky and the wind is behind me
Soon I’ll know how far I’ll go

With the help of Tala’s spirit, Moana is guided beyond the lagoon with far less fuss than I thought there might be. I admit, when I first watched this film in the theater, I half expected to hear her father pleading for Moana to come back, but nothing of the sort happened. On another random note, I’m really glad her father didn’t follow through on his threat of burning the boats. When he said “I should’ve burned those boats years ago” I had a strong flashback to King Triton just before he destroyed the grotto in The Little Mermaid and for a moment I believed we were going to get a repeat of that scenario.

I hope you enjoyed “How Far I’ll Go (reprise)” I hope I can come back and finish the rest of the songs from Moana sooner rather than later. Let me know what you thought of this song in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Moana “Where You Are” (2016)

Moana “How Far I’ll Go” (2016)

Disney Films & Soundtracks A-Z

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Dumbo “When I See an Elephant Fly” (1941)

In keeping with the unofficial theme this week of covering Disney’s non-politically correct moments, it wouldn’t do to forget the crows in Dumbo. But first, a quick recap as to how Dumbo meets these characters:


Dumbo “When I See An Elephant Fly” (1941)

Things have been going badly for our baby elephant: first his mother his locked away in chains; then a stunt goes awry and Dumbo is turned into a circus clown; third, and most recently, his well-meaning friend Timothy Q. Mouse accidentally gets him drunk and they both hallucinate pink elephants! (It’s amazing what they could put in a film back in 1941!!) The following morning, Dumbo and Timothy wake up….in a tree!! This is where Dumbo and his friend meet the crows.

Oh those crows…to be honest, I didn’t realize for a long time that the crows were a racist depiction. When you’re a little kid, you don’t think about those things, you just see some singing birds and that’s that. But as I got older and learned about the history of these things, I began to see these crows in a whole new light. And one thing I learned is that stereotypes can appear in disguise, for instance using black crows instead of, well, pardon the non-PC reference but using black crows instead of black humans. Another big clue? The leader of these crows is named…Jim Crow (no, seriously, check out the credits on Wikipedia!) A third clue? The birds all speak “jive,” a style of slang well-associated with African-American musicians during this time. They also sing jive too, and that’s where we get to “When I See An Elephant Fly.”

I seen a peanut stand, heard a rubber band
I seen a needle that winked its eye
But I be done seen ’bout ev’rything
When I see an elephant fly

(What d’you say, boy?) 
I said when I see an elephant fly
I seen a front porch swing, heard a diamond ring
I seen a polka-dot railroad tie
But I be done seen ’bout ev’rything
When I see an elephant fly

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One thing that is fun about this song is most of the words have a double meaning; it helps if you put quotes around the words with changed meanings: so…a front porch that “swings” (dances); a diamond “ring” (like a bell), a railroad “tie” (necktie), and so on.

(I saw a clothes horse, he r’ar up and buck) 
(And they tell me that a man made a vegetable truck) 
(I didn’t see that, I only heard) 
(But just to be sociable, I’ll take your word)

(I heard a fireside chat, I saw a baseball bat) 
(And I just laughed till I thought I’d die) 
But I be done seen ’bout ev’rything
When I see an elephant fly

Well I be done seen ’bout ev’rything
When I see an elephant fly
(With the wind)

When I see an elephant fly

See, initially, the crows are inclined to tease Dumbo for his ears just like everyone else has throughout the story. But then Timothy sets them all straight by recounting (briefly) all the terrible things that have happened to Dumbo. The shamed crows decide to make it up to the pair by helping Dumbo to fly for real (it’s implied that Dumbo flew to the tree while he was drunk and just doesn’t remember doing so). To help in this process, the head crow presents a feather to Dumbo, calling it a “magic” feather that will help him fly (with a knowing wink to Timothy who catches on quick). Sure enough, with the feather clutched tight, Dumbo CAN fly!! As the crows say (as Dumbo and Timothy return to the circus), “those city boys are in for a big surprise!”

What do you think about “When I See An Elephant Fly”? Were the racist elements obvious or did it also take you a while to catch on? Let me know what you think in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Dumbo “Song of the Roustabouts” (1941)

Disney Films & Soundtracks A-Z

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Dumbo “Song of the Roustabouts” (1941)

Forgive the pun but I decided it’s time to clear another elephant out of the room. Unfortunately, for everything good that Disney has contributed to film and animation, there are multiple examples of Disney portraying things they probably want to forget about. One example is the “Song of the Roustabouts” from Dumbo (1941). After baby Dumbo arrives on the train (via late delivery from the stork), the train pulls in to where the circus will be held the following day. As a storm breaks out, the elephants and other animals disembark to help set up the big top, accompanied by the roustabouts: these are unskilled laborers, often employed for hard labor.


Dumbo “Song of the Roustabouts” (1941)

It’s hard to tell given this scene takes place at night, but the roustabouts in Dumbo are all African-American, and given that this takes place in 1941 the lyrics are…interesting to say the very least. The song starts off with cries of “Hike! Ugh!” as the singers/workers establish a driving pattern to aid in driving in the tent stakes:

Hike! Ugh! Hike! Ugh! Hike! Ugh! Hike!
We work all day, we work all night
We never learned to read or write
We’re happy-hearted roustabouts

Hike! Ugh! Hike! Ugh! Hike! Ugh! Hike!
When other folks have gone to bed
We slave until we’re almost dead
We’re happy-hearted roustabouts


Just stop and look at these two verses alone: according to the roustabouts they can’t read or write, they work extremely hard and yet despite all this they’re “happy-hearted roustabouts”? It sounds ironic in 2018 but in 1941 they’re being quite serious.

Hike! Ugh! Hike! Ugh! Hike! Ugh! Hike!
We don’t know when we get our pay
And when we do, we throw our pay away
We get our pay when children say
With happy hearts, “It’s circus day today”

This is the verse that disturbs me the most, it implies that when the roustabouts DO get paid, they promptly blow their money on frivolous things (keeping in line with certain stereotypes about African-Americans being lazy, etc. Remember, this was 1941 and these things were considered acceptable then).


Muscles achin’
Back near breaking
Eggs and bacon what we need (Yes, sir!)
Boss man houndin’
Keep on poundin’
For your bed and feed
There ain’t no let up
Must get set up
Pull that canvas! Drive that stake!
Want to doze off
Get them clothes off
But must keep awake

During this long section, the other animals are shown helping in the set up, mostly the elephants moving stakes and poles, but the camels are helping too. It’s funny, when I watched this movie as a young kid, I was convinced that the circus animals really did help in this way. Even Dumbo is seen doing his part alongside his mother.

Hep! Heave! Hep! Heave! Hep! Heave!
Hep! Heave! Hep! Heave! Hep! Heave!
Hep! Heave! Hep!

Swing that sledge! Sing that song!
Work and laugh the whole night long
You happy-hearted roustabouts!
Pullin’, poundin’, tryin’, groundin’
Big top roundin’ into shape
Keep on working!
Stop that shirking!
Grab that rope, you hairy ape!
Poundin’! poundin’! poundin’! poundin’!


The storm that started when the train arrived has now become a full-on thunderstorm (poor Dumbo hides in fright from the lightning). And the song does throw in one last unbelievable line with “Grab that rope, you hairy ape!” (I really won’t explain that one in further detail since it really speaks for itself). At last, despite the driving rain and winds, the big top is raised and come morning the circus is ready to begin!

It might seem strange to focus on these songs (especially given the issues going on in the country right now), but I can’t let these songs slip away unnoticed. Not writing about them is tantamount to saying they never happened, but they did. So on that note, I hope you found “Song of the Roustabouts” interesting. Let me know what you think of this song in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Disney Films & Soundtracks A-Z

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