Moana on Blu-ray is now available! Truth be told, my twins have been watching it several times a day for the last week, thanks to an advanced copy we received. We all gathered on the couch for a Moana family movie night over the weekend, and halfway through I was kicking myself. Why? The twins totally would have sat through the whole movie in a theater so I think that means they are ready for their first movie tickets soon! For now, we will play the Moana Blu-ray on repeat, and dig deeper in to the movie with these Moana Fun Facts!
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Moana Fun Facts
Moana Fun Facts: Characters
- Moana wears seven outfits in the movie, including the red tapa garment the character wears as a toddler when she first encounters the ocean character. Her main look includes a tapa top and pandanus skirt with a shredded pandanus underskirt. Costume designer Neysa Bové created the outfit so it would be suitable for an adventurer. “The skirt has a slit in front to allow movement— whether she’s swimming, running or navigating her canoe,” says Bové.
- One elaborate outfit worn during a dance sequence is visible for just six seconds.
- Inspired by the Taualuga ceremonies of Samoa, Bové created a ceremonial garment for Moana that is covered in shells and pearls. Her Tuiga, or headdress, has shells from the ocean and red feathers to symbolize royalty.
- All the characters in Moana wear outfits that are made only from materials that would have been available 2,000 years ago!
- The early designs of mighty demigod Maui lacked his signature hair-do. At first, he sported a tough-looking bald noggin, but that changed. Oceanic Story Trust consultants from Tahiti advised filmmakers that Maui, the subject of many and varied legends, was typically imagined with a full head of hair. So character designers went to work on creating the look and a team of technicians figured out how to realize it.
- Technology had to be refined to allow for a wet look for Moana’s curly do, since she spends some time underwater. Artists invited volunteers with similar hairstyles to come into the studio and get dunked so they could perfect the look.
- Maui’s tattoos features “Mini Maui”, a two-dimensional representation of Maui. Mini Maui serves as the demigod’s conscience, ensuring he does the right thing, even when he’d rather not. Mini Maui was animated using traditional hand-drawn techniques by Walt Disney Animation Studios’ accomplished animator Eric Goldberg and his team, and was often compared to Jiminy Cricket, the official conscience of the title character in the 1940 feature film “Pinocchio.”
- Tamatoa is the 50-foot-crab with trust issues, who lives in an exotic bioluminescent world that’s almost as fancy as he is. Shiny! 😀 Lalotai, the realm of monsters, is a place of fantasy located beneath the ocean’s floor. It was actually named in honor of its unusual location as Lalo means “below” and tai means “the sea” in Proto Polynesian.
- In earlier versions of the film, Heihei was smart and sassy, but filmmakers felt that character was not unique. Several campaigned to remove the rooster from the film altogether, but a small group of story team members spent a couple days brainstorming ways to keep the character. Their solution was to lower his IQ and their pitch earned so many laughs that Heihei was ultimately a keeper.
- Filmmakers had to create a feather pipeline to deal with the feathers for not only Heihei, but for Maui hawk, the shape-shifted character Maui transforms into with the help of his magical fishhook. Feathers prove challenging in CG animation because of the need to rest on top of each other.
Moana Fun Facts: Research
- Deeply inspired by their time in the Pacific Islands, filmmakers continued to work with several of the people they met within their trips. This group of advisors came to be known as the Oceanic Story Trust (OST). The Trust includes anthropologists, educators, linguists, master tattooists, choreographers, haka practitioners, master navigators and cultural advisors who collaborated with Disney’s creative team.
- Much of the film is set on the ocean or near it, so filmmakers had to work hard creating systems and processes to create believable water. Keen to understand the clarity of the water, the team created a physical rig that was 50 feet long. A series of balls that were painted gray, black and red were hung from a rope every five feet and
photographed underwater in a pool in Van Nuys, Mission Bay in San Diego and off the coast of Bora Bora. Imagine getting that through customs!
- The starry sky featured in “Moana,” was created by filmmakers turning to astronomers who researched what stars would’ve been visible in Pacific Island skies 2000 years ago.
- Maui’s hook is inspired by a real constellation known by the same name in Oceania and Scorpio. It is stylized to emulate the character’s prized possession.
- Lin-Manuel Miranda, Opetaia Foa‘i and Mark Mancina met in New Zealand at one of the biggest Polynesian cultural festivals, Pasifika. Shortly after arriving, Miranda was pulled onstage by the dancers to join dance. It turned out to be a competition with other audience members and he won it!
- Filmmakers invited choreographers in Polynesian dance to the studio to choreograph and demonstrate movement to animators. Artists watched, sketched and learned from the pros the meaning of each move.
Moana Fun Facts: Inspiration
- Disney’s “Aladdin,” directed by “Moana” directors John Musker and Ron Clements made “Moana” co-head of animation Hyrum Osmond want to be an animator as a kid, and years later, he found himself working alongside one of “Aladdin” animators Eric Goldberg on “Moana.”
- At age 9, Lin-Manuel Miranda was profoundly inspired by “The Little Mermaid.” So when “Mermaid” directors John Musker and Ron Clements came knocking almost 25 years later for a new movie named “Moana”—Miranda was more than game to come on board.
• Miranda was officially offered the “Moana” gig on the same week he found out that he and his wife were expecting their first child. Filmmakers were tickled to learn that Miranda named his son Sebastian. Whether or not he was inspired by the Caribbean crab character from “The Little Mermaid” remains a mystery.
Now that you are loaded with Moana Fun Facts, bring home Moana on Blu-ray for a family movie night! It’s a story you will want to watch again and again, at least that is what’s happening in our house! Plus, it’s loaded with awesome bonus features:
Moana Blu-ray Bonus Features
- Theatrical Short Film: “Inner Workings” – With introduction by the filmmakers, is the story of the internal struggle between a man’s pragmatic, logical side and his free-spirited, adventurous half. Created by a small team at Walt Disney Animation Studios in a unique, fast-paced style that blends CG and traditional hand-drawn animation, the short explores the importance of finding balance in daily life.
- Maui Mini-Movie: “Gone Fishing” – When Maui decides it’s time to take charge of the ocean and catch his next meal, Moana must show him the error of his ways … with a little help from her friends!
- Voice of the Islands – An in-depth look at how Pacific Island people and cultures inspired the filmmakers to create the story of “Moana.”
- Things You Didn’t Know About …
-Meet the stars of “Moana” in this dynamic Q&A featuring Dwayne Johnson, newcomer Auli‘i Cravalho, and famed animation directors Ron and John.
-Meet the musical team behind “Moana” in this fascinating Q&A featuring Opetaia Foa‘i, Mark Mancina and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
- Island Fashion – Find out how costume designer Neysa Bové took on the unique challenge of creating costumes using materials and techniques native to the islands of Oceania.
- They Know the Way: Making the Music of “Moana” – Musicians Opetaia Foa‘I, Marc Mancina and Lin-Manuel Miranda take us on a personal journey through their involvement in the movie and how it changed their lives.
- Fishing for Easter Eggs – Dive deep into the ocean and fish for the Easter Eggs hidden by the animators at Walt Disney Animation Studios.
- The Elements of … This series of four mini-docs explores the technical achievements behind some of the ground-breaking effects used in the film.
-Mini Maui – Meet “Mini Maui,” Maui’s tattoo sidekick. Animated by legendary hand-drawn animator Eric Goldberg, we explore how the 2D world collides with CG animation to bring the demigod’s tattoos to life.
-Water – In the movie, the ocean is a character. This piece explores how the water is given a personality, along with the technical feats of creating a believable ocean landscape farther than the eye can see.
-Lava – Te Kā is a creature made of lava, smoke and fire. This piece dives into the challenges of making an animated creature of massive scale brought to fiery life by character, technical and effects animators.
-Hair – One of the greatest technical achievements of the film was the animation of the beautiful, curly hair on Moana and Maui. Take a look at the hair-raising detail that goes into animating each strand, adding performance to the movie that has never been seen before.
- Deleted Song: “Warrior Face” – With introduction by songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda.
- Deleted Scenes – Ron and John introduce the following deleted scenes: Race the Wind/Ties that Bind;
- Discussing Moana’s Future; Under the Sea; Grandmother’s Warning/Legend of Maui; Education of Moana; Father, Daughter, Boat; and Canoe Race.
- Music Video: “How Far I’ll Go” – Performed by Alessia Cara.
- “How Far I’ll Go Around the World” – Multi-language reel of the song “How Far I’ll Go.”
- Audio Commentary – With directors Ron and John.