Disney + Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson = Winning!
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 56th movie, Moana, has got a lot going for it. Much more than just the Disney name, along with the heritage and tradition that brings. Because the film’s also got an insane amount of talent behind it. We’re talking a who’s who of animation, music and filmmaking.
Just take a look at the men helming the film for starters: Ron Clements and John Musker. Perhaps you’re not familiar with them, but you’ve most certainly heard of (and seen) their works, probably countless times. How about Disney’s 2009 return to form, The Princess and the Frog? That was them! Hercules? Clements and Musker all over. The Great Mouse Detective and Treasure Planet….we can maybe forgive them those two. Particularly considering that they also directed The Little Mermaid and everyone’s second favourite Disney film, Aladdin. Frankly it’s ridiculous that two people have been able to rustle up so much Disney magic. If anyone can capture the imaginations of children worldwide and spark a new franchise capable of drawing those same miniature people away from Frozen, it’s this pair.
Still, it’s not just two guys calling the shots on a movie whose lead character is a young girl. Screenwriter and author Pamela Ribon is also on board for script duty, alongside the directorial duo and the immeasurably talented Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows, Eagle vs Shark, Thor: Ragnarok). You may know Ribon from her takedown of the horrendous sounding book, Barbie’s ‘I Can Be a Computer Engineer’. She’s witty, smart and most importantly, forward thinking. Fingers crossed that the writing team can bring a hero to the screen that will be an inspiration for the younger generations. Modern, capable, cultured, a leader and a someone to be looked up to. Not an old school “Disney Princess”, instead one for today’s audience.
But what’s a Disney film without the songs? Te Vaka bring their contemporary spin on traditional Pacific music to Moana, alongside Mark Mancina who had a hand in The Lion King’s soundtrack and Lin-Manuel Miranda, multi-award winner and creator of Broadway darling Hamilton. There’s plenty of reasons to feel that there might be another “Circle of Life”, “A Whole New World”, or – god forbid – a “Let It Go” on the cards.
And then there’s the star power. The jabroni-beating, pie eating, trailblazing, eyebrow raising, step off the brake, put your foot on the gas, always ready to whoop some ass, People’s Champ, The Rock! The most electrifying man in all of entertainment. If you weren’t already excited, then I expect that you will be now. In case you’re not aware of who His Royal Johnsonness is, or bizarrely aren’t that excited by his presence, I’ve put together a slideshow highlighting some of his greatest attributes in hope of winning you over. Enjoy. And yes, I will accept high fives in lieu of payment for your gratitude.
It might be Johnson who’s spread across the marketing for Moana, yet the key will be how newcomer Auli’i Cravalho fares in the titular role. She’s not yet a household name, but if the chips fall kindly, there’s no doubt that she will be soon. A gig with Walt Disney Animation Studios is not a bad place to start, after all.
Moana releases November 23rd, 2016.