Tag Archives: Moana

Moana “We Know the Way” (2016)

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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)

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

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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

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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

Become a patron of the blog at: patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

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

Moana has nearly convinced herself that she can live happily for the rest of her life on Motonui but fate has a different plan for this chief’s daughter. One day, as Moana is going about helping the people, a group comes up to show her a basket of rotten coconuts. No problem, Moana instructs them to start gathering from a different grove and to remove the diseased trees. But then the fishermen come up and show their empty baskets: there are no fish in the lagoon, nor are there any to be found in any of the other usual fishing spots that Moana suggests they try instead. While her father gets into a heated discussion with the fishermen, Moana is struck by a brilliant idea: why don’t they go beyond the reef to fish? I believe that she is making a sincere suggestion that might help the island (and not just because she wants to go explore herself) but her father does not see it that way at all. He rejects her flatly and insists they will find another way because “no one sails beyond the reef.”

Disheartened (again), Moana remains on the beach and ponders her seemingly unending desire to explore the ocean. This is the setting of “How Far I’ll Go.” There’s a version of this song in almost every animated Disney song that I can think of:

And those are just to name a few! But despite this type of song showing up in so many films, it doesn’t change the fact that I love this song! It resonates with me because I too struggle with wanting to do things that people close to me do not always understand.

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I’ve been staring at the edge of the water
Long as I can remember
Never really knowing why
I wish I could be the perfect daughter
But I come back to the water
No matter how hard I try

Every turn I take, every trail I track
Every path I make, every road leads back
To the place I know where I cannot go
Where I long to be

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See the line where the sky meets the sea
It calls me
And no one knows
How far it goes
If the wind in my sail on the sea
Stays behind me
One day, I’ll know
If I go, there’s just no telling how far I’ll go

I know everybody on this island
Seems so happy on this island
Everything is by design
I know everybody on this island
Has a role on this island
So maybe I can roll with mine

Moana’s argument does make sense: everybody else is perfectly happy with their roles on the island, so why shouldn’t she be content with her role as a chief’s daughter (and future chief in her own right)? She doesn’t understand why she’s drawn back time and time again to the ocean, in fact she wonders if there’s something wrong with her!

MOANA

I can lead with pride
I can make us strong
I’ll be satisfied if I play along
But the voice inside
Sings a different song
What is wrong with me?

All of Moana’s doubts are swept away every time she stares back at the ocean. Deep down, nothing else matters if she can just get out there and explore. That’s why, despite just hearing her father say no one can go beyond the reef, Moana runs back to the beach, grabs a boat and begins paddling out into the lagoon (despite not knowing the first thing about sailing!!)

See the light as it shines on the sea
It’s blinding
But no one knows
How deep it goes
And it seems like it’s calling out to me
So come find me
And let me know
What’s beyond that line?
Will I cross that line?

See the line where the sky meets the sea
It calls me
And no one knows
How far it goes
If the wind in my sail on the sea
Stays behind me
One day, I’ll know
How far I’ll go

The song ends on a high note but almost immediately turns into disaster when Moana’s boat is capsized and she nearly drowns with her foot stuck in the coral reef. This scene subverted a fairly common Disney trope where the hero/heroine gets caught doing something they shouldn’t by the stern authority figure/parent. I fully expected Moana to get caught by her father and get another tongue-lashing, but instead the only one who catches her is her beloved grandmother Tala (who doesn’t mind at all that Moana loves the ocean).

 

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“How Far I’ll Go” was composed and written by Lin-Manuel Miranda (of Hamilton fame) and remains one of my favorite Disney songs almost two years after the film came out in theaters. What do you think of “How Far I’ll Go?” Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

This review was actually posted a day in advance on the blog’s Patreon page. Patrons of the blog will have early access to my newest film and soundtrack reviews. The first tier for becoming a patron is $2/month which grants early access. The second tier is $5/month and gives you the right to commission one written film or soundtrack review from me per month (provided it’s one I haven’t reviewed already) as well as early access. The $10 reward grants the earlier rewards as well as commissioning one YouTube review of a film of your choice.

See also:

Moana “Where You Are” (2016)

Disney Soundtracks A-Z

You can become a patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

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Moana “Where You Are” (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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Considering that I’m a lifelong Disney nerd, I’ve been pretty terrible at catching most of their recent films. I still haven’t seen Tangled (2010, The Princess and the Frog (2009) nor have I seen Frozen (2013) (shocking I know). But when I saw the previews for Moana, I was determined that at the very least I would see THIS one, and boy oh boy, I’m glad I did.


Moana is the first Polynesian Disney Princess and the youngest Disney Princess since Snow White. She is also the first Disney Princess to have no romantic sub-plot in her film whatsoever (which is fine with me).

Moana “Where You Are” (2016)

From the moment I first watched this film in theaters, I fell in love with the soundtrack, which features songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda (you know, of Hamilton fame) among others. And the first big song in the film is “Where You Are” which establishes daily life on the island of Motunui. Moana is (at the time) the toddler daughter of Chief Tui and Sina, and in a surreal encounter with the living presence of the ocean, is chosen to someday return the stolen heart of Te Fiti. Unaware of this, her well-meaning parents determine to do their best to raise Moana in such a way that she’ll never want to leave the island. This is the subject of “Where You Are.”

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“Consider the coconut…” One of my favorite lines in the song

In this song, Tui and the others describe how the island provides everything they need for life: coconuts, fish from the lagoon, palm fronds to weave baskets and other materials, and “no one leaves.” The tone of the song is so happy that you almost don’t realize at first that the sentiment of no one EVER leaving is repeated multiple times. But Moana DOES want to leave, or at least, she wants to explore the ocean. But time and time again, her parents are there to head her off and push her back to the island’s interior, where, as she grows into a teenager, she is prepared to take her place as a young chief on the island.

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Moana doesn’t seem particularly thrilled with this, but then she has an encounter with Grandmother Tala (Tui’s mother), who loves the ocean as much as Moana does, and together the two dance like the waves.

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As time passes, Moana begins to finally accept that, while she does love the ocean, she can be happy on Motunui, she doesn’t have to leave, everything she needs is right here “where you are.” And you almost believe her, except for the side glances she still sends over to where Grandmother Tala is still dancing.

I still believe that Moana is one of the few Disney Princesses who is mostly content to remain in their situation for the good of the family (contrast her attitude by the end of “Where You Are” with, say, Mulan, Ariel or Belle). And maybe if things had stayed in the status quo, she really would have been happy. But of course, this is a Disney movie, things NEVER stay in the status quo for very long.

I feel like I haven’t done a Disney series in ages, so I’m happy to finally be starting up again with Moana. I hope you enjoyed reading about (and listening to) “Where You Are,” there is plenty more to come.

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For more great Disney songs and films, check out the main page here: Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

See also:

Thoughts on Moana (2016)

Moana “How Far I’ll Go” (2016)

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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.

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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.

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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)