Walt Disney Animation Studios recently announced the voice actor for their upcoming movie, “Moana.” Hawai’i-born Auli’i Cravalho is set to play the role of the newest Disney princess.
“Auli’i was the very last girl that I saw on my last day of casting,” said Rachel Sutton, the casting director for Moana, during a video interview for People Magazine.
This newest announcement is something that many people of color can be thrilled about. Many children have grown up not having a Disney princess to look up to that looked like them.
At the D23 Expo on Aug. 14 was when Disney introduced its very first Polynesian princess. With the help of actor and former wrestler, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Moana, a “born navigator,” was introduced. Decked out in a South Pacific-inspired printed outfit, the concept showed the audience what they should expect from this film due out in 2016.
Not only did Johnson help introduce this new character, but he is also starring in the featured film. Playing a demigod named Maui, who was born human but raised by gods. Audiences should also be expected to hear his singing voice. Not only is Johnson thrilled to become part of the Disney family, but at the D23 Expo, he mentioned another reason he’s excited to be part of this film.
“Samoa is in my blood and to tell a story inspired by the South Pacific is truly a great honor,” said Johnson.
“Moana” is a product from directors John Musker and Ron Clements, who have directed beloved movies such as “Aladdin,” “The Little Mermaid” and “The Princess and the Frog.”
Not only is Moana the first official princess from the Hawaiian Islands, but body-wise, she is the most realistic looking. Yes, the other Hawaiian-inspired film by Disney, “Lilo and Stitch,” touched on both of those, but it wasn’t a true representation of the Hawaiian culture being that it’s main focus of the movie was not completely realistic. There isn’t any record of an alien landing on Earth or getting adopted as a dog and finding his “ohana.” Plus, that movie didn’t feature a true Disney princess.
In the animations and sketches released by Disney’s Animation studios, it’s easy to tell that she has a more realistic curvy body. Moana has broad shoulders, muscular thighs and more common hip-to-waist ratio than others before her.
Now POC children can grow up admiring a Disney princess that looks more like them, but it isn’t too late for other older Disney fans to look up to the brave princess. Sure, growing up there were Princess Jasmine and Pocahontas and more recently Princess Tiana, but, for many people, Moana will hit a little closer to home than those three.
It’s also been mentioned in various articles that Moana will not have a love interest unlike most of the Disney movies to this day. This will allow the audience to focus more on the how the power of friendship can help someone get through their voyage.
On IMDb, it states in the story line for “Moana” that she, the chief’s daughter, is coming from a long line of voyagers. Setting out for sail with her hero and demigod, Maui, in the dangerous waters of the treacherous ocean looking for an island.
Let’s hope this movie can outshine the snowstorm that is “Frozen,” that seems to be taking over the present day Disney culture. Not saying Anna and Elsa are bad influences, but it would be nice to get a bit more variety in the recent Disney pop culture.
All of these speculations will be set in stone once the newest Disney Princess Moana and her sidekicks sail in to theaters November 2016.