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Top 10 Facts about Moana

VO: Emily Brayton
Script written by Nick Spake Top 10 Facts about Moana Subscribe: ‪ Ready for another Disney feature? For Disney’s 56th animation feature, they’ve gone with an all new and original Polynesian Princess! Did you know that this will feature the youngest Disney Princess voice ever? Stay tuned to find out the Top 10 interesting facts about Moana you might not know! MsMojo's Social Media: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: Snapchat:

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Top 10 Facts About Moana

What's a demigod and a princess gotta do? Welcome to MsMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Facts About Moana.

For this list, we’re taking a look at the most interesting trivia facts surrounding Disney’s 56th animation feature.

#10: Characters Resembling Directors

Every Disney protagonist needs a trusty sidekick or two. In “Moana,” our titular heroine receives help from a rooster named Hei Hei and a pig named Pua. These supporting players were modeled after the film’s directors: Ron Clements and John Musker. See the resemblance? Ron and John actually make a habit of working their caricatures into their movies. They can be spotted in “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “Hercules,” “Treasure Planet,” and “The Princess and the Frog” if you pause at just the right time. Whereas those were all brief cameos, however, Hei Hei and Pua will play crucial roles as they accompany Moana on her daring journey.

#9: Polynesian-Themed Disney Animated Feature

“Moana” takes place in Polynesia, which is part of Oceania, a region that consists of numerous islands dispersed throughout the Pacific Ocean. This isn’t the first Disney animated feature to have a Polynesian theme. As you might recall, “Lilo & Stitch” primarily took place in Hawaii. However, Moana herself has the distinction of being Disney’s first Polynesian princess, growing up on the fictional island of Motunui. Considering that Walt Disney World has a Polynesian themed resort, it’s surprising the studio hasn’t made more films set in the South Pacific. Nevertheless, “Moana” is a clear example of how the Disney princess lineup is becoming more and more diverse.

#8: ‘Oceania’ and ‘Vaiana’

In New Zealand Māori and Hawaiian, the name “Moana” means ocean. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this movie’s eponymous character has a strong connection to the sea. Due to copyright issues, though, the picture will be branded as “Vaiana” in some countries. For the film’s release in Italy, it was decided to change the title to “Oceania” and the protagonist’s name to Vaiana. This alteration was likely made so audiences wouldn’t affiliate the film with Moana Pozzi, an Italian actress who took the porn industry by storm. Disney and erotica don’t exactly go hand in hand.

#7: Female Wayfinder

Disney princesses have certainly come a long way over the years, proving that women can be every bit as powerful, wise, and brave as men. Moana will notably be a female wayfinder, which is rare in Polynesian culture. In order to navigate, wayfinders typically sit on the bottom of a boat with their legs crossed. They can then read the waves through their testicles, hence why Polynesian wayfinders are usually men. Since the ocean literally calls out to Moana, though, we have a feeling she’ll find her way. All she needs to do is just keep swimming… oh sorry, wrong movie.

#6: Maui’s Hand-Drawn Tattoos

“Moana” is yet another addition to Disney’s ever-expanding library of computer-animated features. Despite primarily utilizing CGI, the film will also include hand-drawn animation. Dwayne Johnson provides the voice of Maui, a demi-god draped in sentient tattoos. Maui’s tattoos are rendered through traditional animation, helping to create a story within in a story. As far as feature-length movies go, Disney hasn’t tinkered with hand-drawn animation since 2011’s “Winnie the Pooh.” Through animated shorts like “Paperman,” “Get a Horse!,” and “Feast,” however, the studio has successfully combined traditional and computer techniques. “Moana” could also bring together the best of both styles, demonstrating that 2D animation still has a fundamental place in today’s CG-dominated world.

#5: Lin-Manuel Miranda Could PEGOT

Lin-Manuel Miranda is a modern musical genius, achieving a Pulitzer Prize, an Emmy, two Grammys, and three Tonys for his phenomenal work. If Miranda can just take home an Oscar, he’ll follow in the footsteps of Richard Rodgers and Marvin Hamlisch, becoming the third PEGOT winner in history. An Academy Award could be in Miranda’s near future, since he co-wrote the music for “Moana.” From “When You Wish Upon a Star” to “Let It Go,” Disney show tunes have fared well in the Best Original Song category, so the odds seem to be in Miranda’s favor, especially given his recent success with “Hamilton.”

#4: Maui Inspired by Several Legends

As he illustrates in the trailer for “Moana,” Maui is capable of numerous miraculous feats. This demigod used his magical fishhook to slow down the sun and thus make days longer. He also yanked islands out of the sea while fishing. According to Maori legends, this explains the origins of New Zealand. In addition to those myths, the filmmakers drew inspiration from several other legends while fashioning their version of Maui. Seeing how Maui is an iconic figure throughout the Pacific Islands, Disney had no shortage of great stories from different cultures to work with.

#3: Youngest Disney Princess Voice

To find the perfect voice for Moana, Disney held a global casting call beginning in December 2014. Although the filmmakers auditioned hundreds of young women, Hawaiian-native Auli'i Cravalho stood out from all the rest. In October 2015, the Mouse House officially announced that Cravalho would make her screen debut as Disney’s newest leading lady. Cravalho has the honor of being the youngest person to ever voice a Disney princess. She was fourteen upon landing the part and will turn sixteen around the film’s release date in November. And to think, Cravalho was initially reluctant to try out for the role, but an agent motivated her to give it a shot. Talk about a real life Cinderella Story.

#2: Directors’ First Full-Length CGI Feature

After pitching an original idea inspired by the works of Herman Melville and Joseph Conrad, Ron Clements and John Musker took multiple trips to the South Seas for research. Now almost thirty years after directing “The Little Mermaid,” Ron and John are finally returning to the sea with “Moana.” Despite the ocean setting, “Moana” will still be new territory for the directing duo, as this is their first full-length computer-animated feature. From “The Great Mouse Detective” to “The Princess and the Frog,” Ron and John have typically been associated with hand-drawn animation. They ultimately felt that CGI would benefit this film’s rich environment, bringing the ocean to life.

#1: Second Original Disney Princess

In addition to being the Mouse House’s first Polynesian princess, Moana will stand out as the second Disney princess who isn’t based on a fairy tale or fable. The first completely original Disney princess was Merida, who took center stage in Pixar’s “Brave.” Like Merida, Moana will also be a young warrior who sets out on a journey of self-discovery. She’ll also be one of the few Disney princesses not to have a love interest. So it’s safe to say that this is one princess who won’t just be waiting for her prince to come.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite “Moana” fact? For more entertaining Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to MsMojo.

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