If you haven’t heard of Moana, then you probably don’t have children. This is Disney’s latest animated offering and they have moved one more step from the traditional princess heroines of its past.

Here is the trailer:

Wasn’t Frozen ‘Feminist’?

While Frozen was focused around two sisters and their love for one another rather than finding Prince Charming, the aesthetics were very much in the traditional princess mold.

Moana is different. Moana is the title character, and she is a Polynesian heir to a tribal chief. The story follows her as she tries to save her island, on which the vegetation has started to die and fish begins to be scarce. She decides to take a boat out beyond the reef to find more fish to save her island.

The story is based on Polynesian mythology, so breaks the Euro-centric approach that most Disney movies in the past have adopted, including Frozen.

This isn’t the first time that a Disney Princess was not white; there was also Pocahontas, (albeit through a European gaze), Mulan and the Princess and the Frog, but this is certainly not business as usual.

An Ecological Disney Film?

The movie also has a strong ecological message. We are encouraged throughout the film to find balance with nature, and the goal of the film is to prevent ecological disaster and decline. It invokes thoughts on pollution, damage to reefs and vegetation decline, all central to the environmental movement.

Will This Movie Deliver?

The reviews for this film have certainly been overwhelmingly positive, and many predict that this will be even more popular than Frozen, which, in case you’ve been living under a rock, inspired almost religious devotion by the world’s children. So far the movie has done well in North America, but less so in the rest of the world. Whether the aesthetics will appeal to the world’s girls or not remains to be seen. Children’s films tend to have a slow burn so watch this space. 

If you’re looking for a good song, which is the heart of every good Disney movie, Moana has been nominated for Golden Globes for both the Best Soundtrack and Best Animated Film, and may contend for similar Oscars. Parents might need to be prepared to play ‘How Far I’ll Go‘ on a permanent loop. For their sake they’re lucky that it’s not quite as catchy as Frozen’s  ‘Let It Go’.

Here is the song ‘How Far I’ll Go’

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