Moana – A Princess Without a Prince Charming

    We are in for a ride with Disney’s newest animation movie, Moana. To all the young parents out there…My condolences… there is a very good chance your children will try to convince you of your absolute need of a pet pig, or at least a pet rooster.

    Moana, the teenage daughter of the tribal chief, sets sail on a dangerous journey in an attempt to save her family and land from destruction. Pua the pig, and Hei Hei, the rooster join her on this mission, and the trio is added to, as they find the banished demi-god Maui (Dwayne Johnson), and convince him to take them with in his endeavour to find the magical fishhook.

    Moana has the potential to be yet another Disney masterpiece. With a team of Dwayne Johnson voicing Maui, the native Hawaiian Auli’i Cravalho voicing Moana and hundreds of skilled artists and animators – what could go wrong? Oh yes, and did I mention that Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of Hamilton, co-wrote the songs? Who knows, maybe it will even surpass Frozen and Zootopia in its success?!

    What immediately caught my attention was the fact that Moana seems to stand out from among the line of Disney’s princesses. Not only because of her more realistically proportioned physique, but also because she does not have a prince charming at any point in the movie.

    According to the directors, John Musker and Ron Clements, ‘the story will focus on Moana finding herself, rather than finding romance.’

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    It is not the first time Disney introduces the idea that romantic relationships are not the ultimate fulfilment of the heroine’s journey. The Scottish princess, Merida, in Brave overcame her own pride and selfishness to reconcile her family without the help of a love interest, and Arrendale from Frozen was spared from eternal winter through the love between the sisters Anna and Elsa.

    In that regard, I like the direction Disney is heading. Love is beginning to look different. Romantic relationships are not the final destination or solution anymore.

    Romantic relationships are absolutely beautiful and necessary and it is not my intention to downplay them. Moana’s parents are a beautiful example. But I am extremely glad that Moana goes through this journey of finding herself (and saving her people) without finding her value in a Prince Charming.

    She is a determined, independent individual who grows in her identity. And I hope that this will teach Disney’s young audience the value of growing in and solidifying one’s identity, rather than desperately searching for someone to find it in.

    Being in a relationship is certainly not a weakness, however the love stories often outshines the rest of the story. And the fact that Disney deliberately decided not to incorporate a love interest is admirable. Moana dares to go into the great unknown to save her people with the help of friends and family – one thing none of us want to live without!

    Needless to say, I am excited for the release of Moana and to see how her journey of finding herself turns out. Instead of finding her worth in someone she will start the never-ending journey of getting to know herself.

    My hope is that through this, we as the audience will be nudged to reflect on our lives.

    What do we let our value be determined by? Does your value come from the people around you?

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    • Annette is part of the acting team with The Initiative Production Company. She is a German South-African, loves the smell of freshly baked bread and constantly has a list in her head of countries to visit and more languages to learn.

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