Tag Archives: Maui

Moana “Know Who You Are” (2016)

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Moana “Know Who You Are” (2016)

The climax of Moana has one of my favorite twists in recent memory. For most of the story, we have been told that in order to restore Te Fiti, Moana and Maui will have to avoid and/or defeat Te Ka. However, while Maui distracts the fiery demon, Moana scrambles up a rocky slope and realizes the space where Te Fiti should be is empty. And that’s when Moana puts the pieces together and realizes that Te Ka IS Te Fiti, this is what happens when her Heart is taken from her. Moana knows what she has to do now, and in a beautiful scene commands the ocean to make a dry path so that Te Ka can come directly to her. As the enraged demon claws her way through the sand, Moana sings her realizations:

(Ou mata e matagi)
I have crossed the horizon to find you
(Ou loto mamaina toa)
I know your name
(Manatu atu)
They have stolen the heart from inside you
(Taku pelepele)
But this does not define you
(Manatu atu)
This is not who you are
You know who you are

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I take particular notice of the line “They have stolen the heart from inside you/But this does not define you.” A lot of people have interpreted the Te Ka/Te Fiti dichotomy to be an analogy for rape. While Maui can claim all he wants that he was trying to help humans, the fact remains that he forcibly took Te Fiti’s heart away from her, scarring her and filling her with rage. It’s easy to let the bad things that happened to you define your identity, but Moana’s song assures the goddess that it doesn’t have to be this way. Deep down, she is still Te Fiti, despite the pain she is in. The goddess clearly hears Moana’s message, because as she comes face to face with this mortal who holds her Heart, Te Ka slowly cools and is practically stone when Moana places the Heart back where it belongs.

What do you think of the song “Know Who You Are”? 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)

Moana “Shiny” (2016)

Moana “I am Moana” (2016)

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Moana “Shiny” (2016)

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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)

Moana “I am Moana” (2016)

Moana “Know Who You Are” (2016)

 

Moana “You’re Welcome” (2016)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

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Moana “You’re Welcome” (2016)

From the very first teaser, I knew I would like the character of Maui. He has everything that’s great about a Disney character: he’s funny, snarky, his tattoos have minds of their own, and he has an amazing magical accessory (in this case, a giant fish hook) that lets him change into different animals! And best of all, he’s brought to life by Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson. Maui, in my opinion, has one of the most awesome proper introductions for a character that I’ve ever seen.

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See, Moana’s voyage to find Maui seems to end in disaster when her boat is caught in a storm. Moana begs the ocean for help and finds herself stranded on a desert island…but she isn’t alone! As it turns out, this is the island Maui’s been stranded on for the last thousand years (give or a take a decade) and is he ever surprised to find Moana on the island with him. Maui, shocked that Moana doesn’t know anything about him (besides the fact that he stole the Heart of Te Fiti and cursed the oceans), decides to introduce himself via a song where he says “You’re Welcome” for everything he’s ever done for the humans.

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And as it turns out, Maui’s done a LOT over the last few thousand years: he made the sky, brought fire, the winds, created coconut trees, the tides, grass and he even pulled the sun closer to the Earth to make the days longer. Not only that, he’s covered in magical tattoos that represent all of his victories.

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Hearing all of this, Moana is in awe of Maui and delighted as she piles her arms full of presents. Which makes the next part rather funny: as the song winds down, Maui begins dropping hints that he’s about to do something sneaky, for instance:

Hey, it’s okay, it’s okay
You’re welcome!
Well, come to think of it, I gotta go
Hey, it’s your day to say you’re welcome
‘Cause I’m gonna need that boat
I’m sailing away, away
You’re welcome!
‘Cause Maui can do anything but float

It turns out that all this time Maui has been plotting to swipe Moana’s boat (well, he is a trickster god among other things, so this isn’t exactly unusual behavior) but first he needs to get Moana out of the way, so at the very end the song’s spell suddenly breaks and she finds herself stuck in a cave, her ‘presents’ nothing but seaweed and old coconuts and Maui covering the entrance with a boulder so she can’t get away!

As I said earlier, this is one of the best character introductions I’ve ever seen: listening to this song tells you everything you need to know about Maui. He’s full of himself, sly and also eager to please (to a point anyways). And honestly, the first time I saw this film I had no idea the Rock could sing this well! I mean I knew he could sing a little but wow he’s got a great voice! This scene also contains some great 2D animation, both in the background and with Maui’s tattoos

What do you think of “You’re Welcome” and Maui’s introduction? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

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See also:

Thoughts on Moana (2016)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

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WARNING! WARNING!: What follows is a full and complete summary of the film with every kind of spoiler under the sun!!!! DO NOT CONTINUE if you have not seen the film and don’t want to know what happens!!!

From the moment I saw the first teaser, I knew that Moana would knock the ball out of the park. Everything about this film felt right, but knowing that in advance still didn’t prepare me for seeing this gorgeous masterpiece (which I did on Saturday night).

Moana could very easily be the perfect Disney film (it’s at least equal to Beauty and the Beast, and you know what high regard I hold THAT film in), I could probably find a flaw if I nitpicked, but really nothing jumped out at me.

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Moana “Where you Are” (2016)

The young Moana is the daughter of the village chief and will someday lead her people on the island of Motonui. Since she was a toddler, she has been fascinated by the ocean, but it’s a fruitless desire because her father (who means well), forbids anyone to sail beyond the reef at the edge of the island’s lagoon. This is because years ago, he and his friend snuck out beyond the reef in a small boat to explore and were caught in a storm. Moana’s father came back…his friend didn’t. As Moana gets older, she actually does a great job of suppressing her love of the ocean because she understands her responsibility as a future chief and she might have happily lived the rest of her days on the island….except things are starting to go wrong.

Need-a-chief-where-you-are

First the coconuts begin to spoil even before they’re harvested, and even worse, no one can find any fish in the lagoon, or anywhere within the reef. Moana believes she understands why this is happening: for years her grandmother has told the story of how the demi-god Maui stole the mystical heart of Te Fiti (a goddess considered the mother of all islands) and as a result, a dark blight has been spreading across the ocean, destroying everything it touches. And now, this blight has come to Motonui, but Moana’s father doesn’t want to believe it.

Moana “How Far I’ll Go” (2016)

Moana wants to help her people, but she’s not sure how, until her grandmother tells her a secret…her people didn’t always live on Motonui. A long time ago, they were sea voyagers, travelling the ocean in HUGE boats, sailing using only their knowledge of the stars and sea currents. But, due to the blight, boats eventually stopped returning, and it was decided to hide the boats away forever. But now, with the island in danger, the only way to save Motonui is to return the heart of Te Fiti, and the only way to do that is to sail far past the reef. Moana’s father won’t listen and actually wants to burn the boats, but then Moana’s grandmother (his mother) becomes deathly ill, and with some of her last words she urges Moana to go and do what must be done.

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Moana “You’re Welcome” (2016)

Taking a small canoe, Moana grabs some supplies and sets off to find Maui, and boy does she find him. Maui is a cocky demi-god, rather full of himself because in ages past he helped the humans by giving them fire, coconuts, various islands and other gifts. After much arguing, Moana convinces Maui to come with her to restore Te Fiti’s heart, but first they need to find Maui’s magic fish hook, a weapon that Maui uses to shapeshift into any form he chooses. Maui is certain his hook can be found in the realm of monsters, and it is…it just happens to be in the possession of a giant crab with a penchant for all things shiny and valuable. Moana and Maui do manage to retrieve the hook, but not before the crab reveals that Maui was abandoned by his family.

Tamatoa_meets_Moana

Moana “Shiny” (2016)

It turns out that Maui wasn’t born a demi-god, he was actually born a normal human to human parents. But for whatever reason, as soon as he was born, they abandoned him by throwing him into the sea. But he didn’t die…the gods found him and raised him, giving him the magic fish hook when he was grown.
Fish hook found, the pair sails on to Te Fiti, and along the way Maui teaches Moana all about how to sail. (I forgot to mention, before this, there was a hilarious encounter with Kakamora, basically pygmy sprites that resemble little coconuts. It’s hilarious and a little freaky all at the same time, but I loved it!!!) It’s not as simple as sailing up to the island and restoring the heart…there happens to be a fire demon named Te Kaa in the way.

Moana “I am Moana” (2016)

The first attempt to reach Te Fiti ends very badly. Moana believes she can slip the boat past Te Kaa before he swipes them out of the water, but Maui really wants to turn back. When Moana doesn’t listen, Maui is forced to use his fish hook directly against Te Kaa’s body: the resulting explosion blasts the boat far out to see, and critically damages the fish hook in the process. Believing his entire worth is wrapped up in the fish hook, Maui refuses to have anything more to do with Moana or the quest and takes off (literally, he turns himself into a giant hawk). Initially despondent, Moana resolves to continue on alone after an inspiring meeting with her grandmother and a vision of her seafaring ancestors (in a sequence that made me cry, but in a good way).

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Moana makes it to the island (with a late assist from Maui who changed his mind), but while Maui is keeping Te Kaa distracted, she makes an earth-shattering discovery: Te Fiti isn’t there!! Maui told her that the heart belongs in the center of a spiral on Te Fiti’s chest, and when Moana looks back, she notices that Te Kaa has a spiral on HIS chest. And that’s when it dawns on her…Te Kaa isn’t just some fire demon…he, actually she, is Te Fiti without her heart!!! Knowing this, she calls Te Kaa over and reminds the goddess who she really is while restoring the heart to her. Rejuvenated, the blight is destroyed and Te Fiti thanks the pair by restoring Maui’s fish hook and making Moana’s boat good as new before returning to her slumber.

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Moana returns to Motonui, and having seen the benefits of sailing firsthand, the great boats are retrieved from their cavern and the entire village is off on a sailing adventure with Moana leading the way!

I literally cannot praise this film enough, it left me in tears by the closing scene and I’m already making plans to see this film at least one more time in the theater (and I almost never do that). If you haven’t seen this film yet, please go, and if you have and your friends haven’t, take them with you and go see it again!

Final verdict: Moana is a masterpiece that rivals the greatest of the Disney classics.

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See also:

Animated Film Reviews

Moana “Where You Are” (2016)