Thursday, 12 January 2017

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Moana is a 2016 American 3D computer-animated musical fantasy comedy adventure film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 56th Disney animated feature film. The film was directed by Ron Clements and John Musker,[7] and co-directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams.[8] The film features music written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Opetaia Foa'i, and Mark Mancina.[9]

Featuring the voices of Auli'i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Temuera Morrison, Alan Tudyk, Rachel House, Nicole Scherzinger and Jemaine Clement, the film tells the story of Moana, the strong-willed daughter of the chief in a Polynesian tribe, who is chosen by the ocean itself to reunite a mystical relic with a goddess. When a blight strikes her island, Moana sets sail in search of Maui, a legendary demigod, in the hope of saving her people.

Moana was released theatrically in the United States on November 23, 2016 in Disney Digital 3-D, RealD 3D, D-Box, and premium large formats. The film, along with Zootopia, marks the first time since 2002 that Walt Disney Animation Studios has released two feature films in the same year. The film received critical acclaim, with particular attention directed to its animation, music, and voice cast. The film has grossed over $451 million worldwide.

A small pounamu stone that is the mystical heart of the goddess Te Fiti is stolen by the demigod Maui, who planned to give it to humanity as a gift. As Maui made his escape, he was attacked by the lava demon Te Kā, causing the heart to become lost in the ocean along with his magical fishhook that allows him to transform.

A millennium later, young Moana Waialiki, daughter and heir of a chief on the small Polynesian island of Motunui, is chosen by the ocean to receive the heart. Her father, Chief Tui, insists the island provides everything the villagers need. But years later, fish become scarce and the island's vegetation begins dying. Moana proposes going beyond the reef to find more fish. Tui rejects her request, as sailing beyond the reef is forbidden.

Moana's grandmother, Gramma Tala, shows Moana a secret cave behind a waterfall, where a fleet of outrigger sailing canoes show that their ancestors were seafarers. Tala gives Moana the heart of Te Fiti, which she has kept safe for her granddaughter ever since she was chosen by the ocean, and explains that the darkness unleashed by Maui's theft is now creeping onto the island.

Tala falls ill and with her dying breaths tells Moana to set sail. Moana and her pet chicken Heihei depart in a drua to find Maui. A manta ray, Tala's reincarnation, follows. After a typhoon wave flips her sailboat and knocks her unconscious, she awakens the next morning on an island inhabited by Maui, who traps her in a cave and takes her sailboat to search for his fishhook. After escaping and catching up to Maui with some help from the ocean, Moana tries to convince him to return the heart, but Maui refuses, fearing its power will attract dark creatures.

Almost immediately, sentient coconut pirates called Kakamora surround the boat and steal the heart, but Maui and Moana retrieve it. Maui agrees to help return the heart to Te Fiti, but only after he reclaims his hook, which is hidden in Lalotai, the Realm of Monsters, and held by Tamatoa, a giant coconut crab. They successfully retrieve it. Later, Maui teaches Moana how to properly sail and navigate. They arrive at Te Fiti, where Te Kā attacks. Maui is overpowered and Te Kā severely damages his hook and repels their boat far out to sea. Fearing that returning to fight Te Kā will destroy his hook, Maui abandons Moana.

Distraught, Moana begs the ocean to take the heart and choose another person to return it to Te Fiti. The spirit of Tala encourages Moana to find her true calling within herself. Moana retrieves the heart from the ocean and returns to Te Fiti. Maui, having had a change of heart, returns to distract the lava demon, and the hook is destroyed in the battle. Moana realizes that Te Kā is actually Te Fiti without her heart. Moana asks the ocean to clear a path for Te Kā to approach her. She sings a song and asks Te Kā to remember who she truly is, allowing Moana to restore her heart. Te Fiti returns and in gratitude, gives a new canoe to Moana and a new magical hook to Maui before returning to her island form.

Moana asks Maui to return to her island with her in order to teach her people how to sail again, but Maui smiles and replies that her people already have a master seafarer in Moana. Moana bids farewell to Maui and returns to her recovering island. Later, the villagers begin voyaging and set sail in search of new islands, as Maui and Tala accompany them in their giant hawk and manta ray forms, respectively.

In a post-credits scene, Tamatoa, stranded on his back during Moana and Maui's escape, grumbles that people would help him if he was a Jamaican crab named Sebastian.

John Musker
Ron Clements
Directors John Musker and Ron Clements presented footage from the film at the 2016 Annecy International Animated Film Festival
After directing The Princess and the Frog (2009), Clements and Musker started working on an adaptation of Terry Pratchett's Mort,[15] but problems with acquiring the necessary film rights prevented them from continuing with that project. To avoid a recurrence of that issue, they pitched three original ideas.[16] The genesis of one of those ideas (the one that was ultimately green-lighted) occurred in 2011, when Musker began reading up on Polynesian mythology, and learned of the heroic exploits of the demigod Maui. Intrigued with the rich culture of Polynesia, he felt it would be a suitable subject for an animated film. Shortly thereafter, Musker and Clements wrote a treatment and pitched it to John Lasseter, who recommended that both of them should go on research trips.[17][18] Accordingly, in 2012, Clements and Musker went on research trips to Fiji, Samoa, and Tahiti to meet the people of the South Pacific and learn about their culture.[7] At first, they had planned to make the film entirely about Maui, but their initial research trips inspired Clements to pitch a new idea focused on the young daughter of a chief.[19] They were fascinated to learn during their research that the people of Polynesia abruptly stopped making long-distance voyages about three thousand years ago, then resumed voyaging again a thousand years later, and no one really knows why.[20] They set the film at the end of that era, about two thousand years ago, on a fictional island in the central Pacific Ocean, which drew inspiration from elements of the real-life island nations of Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga.[20]

Over the five years it took to develop and produce the film, Clements and Musker recruited experts from across the South Pacific to form an Oceanic Story Trust, who consulted on the film's cultural accuracy and sensitivity as the story evolved through nine versions.[21] The Trust responded negatively, for example, to a depiction of Maui as bald, and to a proposed scene in which Moana threw a tantrum by throwing coconuts.[19] In response, Maui was reworked with long hair and the coconut scene was scrapped.[19]

Taika Waititi wrote the initial screenplay.[22] The first draft focused on Moana as the sole daughter in a family with "five or six brothers,"[23] in which gender played into the story. However, the brothers and gender-based theme were deleted from the story, as the directors thought Moana's journey should be about finding herself.[18] A subsequent draft presented Moana's father as the one who wanted to resume navigation, but it was rewritten to have him oppose navigation so he would not overshadow Moana.[18] Instead, Pamela Ribon came up with the idea of a grandmother character for the film,[24] who would serve as a mentor linking Moana to ancient traditions.[23] Another version focused on Moana rescuing her father, who had been lost at sea.[8] The film's story changed drastically during the development phase (which happens with most Disney films), and that idea ultimately survived only as a subtle element of the father's backstory.[8] Aaron and Jordan Kandell joined the project during a critical period to help deepen the emotional story architecture of the film. They are credited with developing the core relationship between Moana and Maui, the prologue, the Cave of the Wayfinders, the Kakamora, and the collector crab Tamatoa (played by Jemaine Clement).[25] Jared Bush received sole credit as the writer of the final version of the screenplay.

Like most Disney and Pixar animated films, several major story problems were identified in 2015 only after the film had already transitioned from development into production, but computer-generated films tend to have much shorter production schedules and much larger animation teams (in this case, about 90 animators) than traditionally-animated films.[8] Since Clements and Musker were already working 12-hour days (and Saturdays) directing such a large team of animators, Hall and Williams (who had just finished directing Big Hero 6) came onboard as co-directors to help fix the film's story issues.[8] The scene in which Maui and Moana encounter the Kakamora is an intentional homage to Mad Max: Fury Road.[8]

After the filmmakers sat through auditions of hundreds of candidates from across the Pacific,[7] 14-year-old high school freshman Auli'i Cravalho was cast as the lead character Moana.[26][27] At that point in time, the design of Moana's face and personality was already complete, and Cravalho's obvious physical resemblance to her character was simply a coincidence.[28] During animation production, Disney animators were able to integrate some of Cravalho's mannerisms into Moana's behavior as depicted onscreen.[28] Despite appearing in four consecutive Walt Disney Animation Studios films starting with Wreck-It Ralph, Alan Tudyk was not originally offered a role due to the filmmakers' preference for actors of South Pacific background. However, after script changes, Tudyk was later offered the bit part of Heihei and recorded his audio in less than half a day.[29]

Moana is Clements and Musker's first fully computer-animated film.[7][30] One of the reasons for using computer animation was that the environment, including the ocean, benefited much more from the use of CGI as opposed to traditional animation.[31] The filmmakers have also suggested that three-dimensional computer animation is well-suited to the "beautiful sculpturing" of the faces of the people of the South Pacific.[32] Eric Goldberg worked on the hand-drawn animation used to depict Maui's sentient tattoos.[33][34] During early development, the filmmakers considered the possibility of making the film with hand-drawn traditional animation, but only a few early animation tests were made in that style. In the final cut, only Maui's tattoos are hand-drawn.[35]

Music and soundtrack
Main article: Moana (soundtrack)

The film's soundtrack was released by Walt Disney Records on November 18, 2016. The songs were written by Opetaia Foa'i, Mark Mancina, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, while the score was written by Mancina.[36][37] The lyrics are in English and the Tokelauan language.[38] The soundtrack peaked at number five on the Billboard 200.

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