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Moana (2016) Poster

(I) (2016)

Trivia

This is Dwayne Johnson's third Disney movie, after The Game Plan (2007) and Race to Witch Mountain (2009).
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Jump to: Actor Trademark (2)  | Spoilers (24)
Dwayne Johnson believes that voice acting is the most difficult career in acting, and is personally annoyed when celebrities are cast in animated films despite voicing their characters badly. When Johnson was cast for the film, he repeatedly asked the other voice actors present if he was really giving a good performance.
The spiral on Moana's necklace and on the sail of her boat is called a koru. It represents the unfurling fern frond, symbolizing new life, new beginnings, personal growth, hope, a new start, perfection, rebirth, awakening, purity, the spirit of rejuvenation and peace. As a double spiral, it also symbolizes kinship and belonging.
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The genie's lamp from Aladdin (1992) can be seen on Tamatoa's shell.
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Lin-Manuel Miranda has said the character of Tamatoa the Giant Crab was a tribute to David Bowie.
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In the trailer, Maui says he lassoed the sun with a fish hook and pulled the land from the ocean. According to Maori legend, Maui pulled New Zealand from the ocean while fishing, and lassoed the sun because the days were too short. Another version says that Maui lassoed the sun with a net.
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The tattoos on Chief Tui's abdomen are the same tattoos worn by pro wrestler Peter Fanene Maivia, Dwayne Johnson's maternal grandfather.
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When he first gets his hook and is trying to shapeshift, Maui changes into various animals. For a split second, he turns into Sven the Reindeer from Frozen (2013).
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The villager who suggests cooking Hei Hei is voiced by Alan Tudyk, who also provides Hei Hei's vocal effects.
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Directors John Musker and Ron Clements researched for months, and immersed themselves in the Polynesian culture, to make the film respectful to Polynesian culture and mythology.
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The first baby in the Production Babies credit is Sebastian, Lin-Manuel Miranda's son, who was born during the making of this film. He's named for the crab in The Little Mermaid (1989).
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Although it's a computer animated film, Maui's tattoos are hand-drawn. This is the first full-length Disney animated feature film since Winnie the Pooh (2011) to feature pure hand-drawn animation.
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Moana was featured in Zootopia (2016) as a film called "Meowana".
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Lin-Manuel Miranda signed on to write the music for this film before his Broadway musical "Hamilton" became a smash hit. After that, he would often chat with the rest of the crew through Skype from backstage, sometimes while still in costume.
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According to archaeological evidence, the exploration of Western Polynesia proceeded rapidly until about 900 BCE, stopped suddenly for over 1,000 years, then resumed just as suddenly, with all of Eastern Polynesia colonized within a few centuries. Several plausible explanations exist, but the exact cause of the "Long Pause"remains a mystery.
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In real life, the decorator crab glues mollusk shells and invertebrates, like sea anemones and sponges, onto its shell.
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Moana's island is called Motu Nui. In several Polynesian languages, particularly that of Rapa Nui (Easter Island), "Motu" means "island" and "nui" means "big." At least two real-life Pacific islands are named Motu Nui: one is just off Easter Island, the other is in French Polynesia. Both are less than a thousand feet across.
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The black patches of rock that peek out from under sand and vegetation on Motunui is solidified Pahoehoe, Hawaiian for "smooth, unbroken lava." That means Motunui is a volcanic island that has risen, or been "pulled", out of the sea.
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When Maui transforms into shark head Maui, his stomach tattoo changes to him with his shark head holding his hook.
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Alan Tudyk is the only main cast member who isn't of Polynesian descent. All other main cast members are of at least partial Polynesian or New Zealand descent.
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In the October 20, 2014 interview with Huffington Post, director Ron Clements recalls the experience of visiting the islands of the South Pacific to gain artistic and authentic references for the film: "When we visited those islands, John Musker and I were especially interested in meeting people who lived on islands where they had grown up surrounded by an ocean. We wondered how that might affect your point-of-view. And we learned a lot. We learned all kinds of things that we didn't know. We learned how the sea and the land are one and the same. How these people think of the ocean as something that unites the islands, not something that separates them. And then we learned about the great migration and how the people of the Islands take great pride in the fact that their ancient ancestors invented this way of navigation called dead reckoning which involved studying the stars and the currents. And way before the European explorers or the Vikings, these people had this very, very incredibly advanced techniques of navigation." As Clements continued, "So many of these ideas in terms of respect for nature, respect for the ocean and the elements - all of these things - really had a huge influence on us and then began to make their way into this film's story," Ron continued. "Which is why Moana is now the most ambitious thing that John and I have ever attempted. There's definitely an epic aspect to this story. Not to mention huge opportunities for comedy and action and adventure. But at the same time, there's also a key relationship at the very heart of this story. An emotional core that - I think - is especially important with this film. But as it is with any of these things, you just hope that - in the end - you can get it right."
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Many of the characters are Pacific island language names or words. Moana means "ocean" and "blue" in both Hawaiian and Maori. Vaiana, the title of the Asian and most of the European releases, means "fresh water". Hei Hei, Moana's pet rooster, means "chicken" in Maori. Pua, Moana's pet pig, means "offspring" or "flower," and may be short for "pua'a" meaning "pig." Maui is the name of a Polynesian demigod and the second largest Hawaiian island. Tui, Moana's father, is the name of a bird native to New Zealand, home of Temuera Morrison. Tala, Moana's grandmother, who tells the legend of Maui, Te Fiti and Te Ka at the beginning of the movie, means "story" in Samoan, and is the name of the goddess of the stars in Tagalog mythology. Tamatoa, the giant crab, means "trophies" in Maori.
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Lin-Manuel Miranda has said that The Little Mermaid (1989) had inspired him to become a songwriter for films like this. Interestingly enough, both The Little Mermaid (1989) and Moana (2016) were directed by the celebrated duo directing team of John Musker and Ron Clements.
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This is the fifth consecutive Disney animated feature for Alan Tudyk, after Wreck-It Ralph (2012), Frozen (2013), Big Hero 6 (2014), and Zootopia (2016).
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In Maui's song, "You're welcome," he picks a coconut and rolls it down his arm and uses his elbow to flip it up to Moana, the same way Aladdin does with an apple for Jasmine in Aladdin (1992).
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This is the first full-length computer-animated feature film written and directed by John Musker and Ron Clements, who directed The Great Mouse Detective (1986), The Little Mermaid (1989), Aladdin (1992), Hercules (1997), Treasure Planet (2002), and The Princess and the Frog (2009), all of which were animated primarily by hand. When it was initially rumored that this film would be made using "Meander," a combination of hand-drawn and computer animation introduced with Disney's short film Paperman (2012), Musker said it was "far too early to apply the Paperman hybrid technique to a feature. The Meander digital in-betweening interface still has a host of production issues (including color) that need to be perfected." More to the point, the directors said that the reason the film was to be made in computer animation was that the film's environment, including the ocean, would benefit much more from the use of CGI as opposed to traditional animation, and that three-dimensional computer animation is naturally good at generating the sculpted faces of the people of the South Pacific. Maui's tattoos, on the other hand, were animated entirely by hand.
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Young Moana helps a turtle walk across the sand by holding a palm frond over his head. This mirrors a similar image from Lilo & Stitch (2002).
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When Moana strikes the drum on the ancient ship in the cave on her home island, she has a vision of her ancestors roaming the seas, including an example of navigating by the stars. The constellation Orion is clearly visible in the sky, near the horizon and rotated at an angle that could only be seen by an observer in the southern hemisphere. It's the film's only clue about its geographic setting.
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This is one of the few animated Disney films in which neither Frank Welker nor Dee Bradley Baker supply the animal vocals. Heihei is voiced by Alan Tudyk, and Pua's vocalizations are sampled from real pigs.
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Different actors provide Tui's singing and speaking voices. It's the first Walt Disney Animation Studios film to do that since Mulan (1998).
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The original idea was for the film to branch away from the Disney Princess template and focus entirely on Maui, with the story a loose conglomeration of a few legends about him. The crew traveled to Polynesia, and became so fascinated with the culture that Moana was created as the new focus character.
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Starting in December 2014, Disney hosted a global casting call for the role of Moana. Thousands of girls auditioned for the role through the Internet and real-life casting calls in different locations.
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Zootopia (2016) came out eight months before this film. It was the first time Disney had released two animated feature films the same year since 2002, when it released Lilo & Stitch (2002) and Treasure Planet (2002).
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Due to the newer practice of theaters having late shows the evening before the official release date, the film was first shown on lead actress Auli'i Cravalho's 16th birthday.
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Dwayne Johnson had always wanted to appear in a full-length Disney animated feature film and to work with directors John Musker and Ron Clements. He said that he loved Aladdin (1992) when it came out, and his daughter loved that and The Little Mermaid (1989).
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Flounder, Ariel's side kick in The Little Mermaid (1989), makes an appearance in the background sketch graphic during the song "You're Welcome".
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When Moana sits up in the sand at Maui's island, the scene was copied from Disney's Frozen (2013), as the animators used the exact same scene as when Anna wakes up in her bedroom.
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The first Polynesian-themed Disney animated feature film since Lilo & Stitch (2002).
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Te Ka, in various Polynesian languages, translates to "The Fiery", while Te Fiti translates to "The Shiny/Shining".
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A fallen statue of Maui on a desert island seems to allude to Percy Bysshe Shelley's classic poem Ozymandias. Ozymandias was an egotistical ruler from ancient times, but all that remained of him was a fallen statue with a broken nose.
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As Maui jumps into the Realm of Monsters, he shouts "Cheehoo!" It's the "Samoan Holler", an expression of excitement rooted in Samoa, and often said in Hawaii. It's the first Disney animated film to use a Samoan Holler. It can be easily be mistaken for a Goofy Holler, which has shown up in many Disney Films.
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One of the Kakamora has face-paint very similar to Baymax from Big Hero 6 (2014).
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Auli'i Cravalho said she didn't meet Dwayne Johnson until they did a photo shoot together, after all actors were done recording their voice work.
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Villagers are seen beating a rug which resembles the magic carpet from Aladdin (1992).
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Dwayne Johnson's first musical.
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During Moana's vision of the voyagers, the leader's necklace appears to be a combination of the necklaces worn by Moana's father and grandmother.
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Pua and Hei Hei were nearly scrapped from the film due to internal belief that the film had too many sidekicks. Adam Green suggested that Hei Hei, who was written as mean to contrast Pua's innocence, could be stupid instead. John Musker loved it, but gave Green a very narrow time-frame, as the movie was moving along in production and the work would typically take about four weeks. Green finished it two weeks, and the characters remained in the film.
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After directing The Princess and the Frog (2009), John Musker and Ron Clements started working on an adaptation of Terry Pratchett's "Mort", but rights problems prevented them from continuing. To avoid similar problems, they pitched three new ideas, and in 2011 they started developing this film, based on an original idea.
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Maui says to Moana, "If you wear a dress, and have an animal sidekick, you're a princess." It's common for the heroine of a Disney story.
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The first draft of the screenplay was written by Taika Waititi, who would go on to direct Thor: Ragnarok (2017). Rachel House appeared in both films.
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Moana's father has a tattoo that is reminiscent of Dwayne Johnson's Samoan tribal tattoos on his left pectoral muscle and left arm.
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While Moana sings "How Far I'll Go" alongside Pua the pig, Pua ends up under a rug that has the same design as the Magic Carpet from Aladdin (1992).
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When Moana goes into the sea as a young child, the waves part and become a wall of water. A giant turtle swims by, followed by a baby turtle that resembles Squirt from Finding Nemo (2003) and Finding Dory (2016).
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HIDDEN MICKEY: Three rocks in Tamatoa's lair make the shape of Mickey's face.
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After getting her foot caught in the coral bed during her first attempt to cross the reef, the abrasion on the top of Moana's foot is in the general shape of the Hawaiian island archipelago.
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Two scenes reference Pocahontas (1995): Chief Tui echoes a scene in which a fatherly chief acknowledges his daughter by saying "it suits you", this time rather than referring to Pocahontas' necklace, Chief Tui speaks of Moana's role as a leader in the village. Additionally, in Tamatoa's song, "Shiny," he mentions Moana's granny saying "listen to your heart", also from Pocahontas.
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In the October 20, 2014 interview with Huffington Post, director John Musker said of the film's inspiration: "I grew up reading the novels of Herman Melville and Joseph Conrad. And the South Seas, the exotic world that a lot of their stories are set in, was extremely intriguing to me. Just looking at the art which comes out that corner of the globe - the carvings, the statuary, the sculpture - I thought that it all begged for this bigger-than-life treatment that you can only get with animation," John remembered. "So to expand on that idea, I then began reading up on the mythology of this area. Which is when I came across these incredible tales about Maui, who's one of the great cultural heroes of the South Pacific." It was, then, Musker felt that a film it could be found amid the promising potential. After when the potential adaptation of Terry Pratchett's "Mort" got canned, he and longtime collaborator, director Ron Clements, pitched the project to WDAS CEO John Lasseter. "So Ron and I developed this very simple storyline. I love this arena. I love the bare bones of the story you've got. But this really begs for research. On the ground research. So we were forced, as it were, " Musker said jokingly, "to go to the South Seas two years ago. We've gone twice now. Two big research trips. And those trips have been revelatory and kind of life-changing in a way. In that it made us take our very simple outline and rework the whole thing."
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In the beginning of the movie when young Moana is grabbing the seashells from the sand, spirals appear in the sand as the water moves away from the shells. The spiral is also in the Heart of Te Fiti. This is when she is chosen by the ocean.
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Auli'i Cravalho and Nicole Scherzinger are both from Hawaii.
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This is the first feature film produced by Osnat Shurer, who is currently Vice President of Development at Walt Disney Animation Studios. In the October 20, 2014 Huffington Post interview, Shurer stated: "And much as I loved all the projects currently in development (WDAS has a very strong development slate and amazing filmmakers at the helm), I particularly resonated with 'Moana' for a number of reasons: Ron Clements and John Musker are awesome. This film deals with a surprising, exciting, and lesser known culture, which is right up my alley. It's a fantastic story. And Moana has this kick-ass, feisty, interesting female protagonist," Shurer explained. "So that when Ron and John asked if I would be their producer, and I said I would very much like to, John Lasseter, Ed Catmull, and Andrew Millstein thought it was a fantastic match."
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Te Fiti slightly resembles the Spring Sprite from the "Fire bird suite" segment in Fantasia 2000 (1999), while Te Ka slightly resembles the fire-bird that the sprite accidentally awakens.
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"Logo Te Pate" and "An Innocent Warrior" are not songs original to Moana, although they were re-recorded for the film. "Logo Te Pate" is originally from the Te Vaka album "Havili", and "An Innocent Warrior" appears under a different title in another Te Vaka album.
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In many European countries, the title and main character were changed to Vaiana to avoid referencing Italian actress Moana Pozzi. The voice actors had to come back and re-record some of their lines.
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On her first day of travel, just as Moana puts Hei Hei back in the storage bin for the first time, the melody that plays is from "Unstoppable," a song that was composed for the movie but not used. A demo version is included in the 2-CD deluxe edition of the soundtrack.
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Hidden Mickey: Moana's mother's necklace when she is telling Moana the story of her father.
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Auli'i Cravalho's acting debut.
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Fifth Harmony member and pop star Dinah Jane auditioned for the role of Moana.
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This is Jemaine Clement's fourth animated film. He voiced the minion Jerry in Despicable Me (2010), and Nigel the Cockatoo in Rio (2011) and Rio 2 (2014).
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The whole kakamora chase sequence alludes to Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). Directors John Musker and Ron Clements once said in an interview that they are big fans of the "Mad Max" film series and that they had always wanted to incorporate a reference to the films in any of their films, as a way to pay homage to the film franchise.
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This is seventh Disney Animated Feature Film directed by John Musker and Ron Clements.
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This is the second computer-animated Disney feature film to use brief traditional animation, mainly Maui's tattoos and the last verse of the "You're Welcome" song sequence. The first one was Bolt (2008), which had hand-drawn animation in the first half, during the Map Sequence of Bolt and Mittens traveling across each state, and at the end the closing credits.
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It is the first Walt Disney Animation Studios film since Frozen (2013) to have different music accompanying the Walt Disney Pictures logo at the start of the film.
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Composer, Lin Manuel Miranda, and Moana's dad, Christopher Jackson, both were stars in the musical Hamilton
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The villagers are told to stay in the lagoon, and not to go past the reef. Disney's Aulani resort is in a part of Oahu called Ko'Olina, which is made up of four man-made lagoons. It's considered safe because more predatory sea animals can't come past the reef without being seen clearly.
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This is the fifth Walt Disney Animation Studios film in which the title appears at the end. The others are The Lion King (1994), Brother Bear (2003), Tarzan (1999) and Big Hero 6 (2014).
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In the beginning of the film, when baby Moana walked up to the ocean, she and the water both cock their heads similarly to the way Kala and baby Tarzan did in the Disney animated film Tarzan (1999).
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Baymax's face (from Big Hero 6) makes an appearance on the face paint of one of the Kakamora coconuts during the chase scene.
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The beach scene where toddler Moana escorts a baby turtle across the beach with a palm leaf is a direct reference to Lilo and Stitch. During the credits of Lilo and Stitch, we see a photograph of Stitch escorting two turtles in a similar fashion on the beach.
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This is the first film directed by John Musker and Ron Clements not to include Corey Burton, Jim Cummings, or Frank Welker in the voice cast.
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This is the first film directed by John Musker and Ron Clements to have an oceanic setting since The Little Mermaid (1989).
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References to other Disney films: during Tamatoa's song "shiny" he says "diamond in the rough" a reference to Aladdin. Maui turns into Sven from Frozen when he retrieves his hook in the middle of Tamatoa's song. Near the end of the film, Moana's father says "it suits you," a reference to Pocahontas, when her father said the same about her mother's necklace.
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This is Jemaine Clement's third Disney film, after Muppets Most Wanted (2014) and The BFG (2016).
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This is the second time Dwayne Johnson has played a demi-god. He also played the title character in Hercules (2014). Disney released an animated version of Hercules (1997), which did not involve Johnson.
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The voice for Tamatoa, Jemaine Clement, also voiced another vain lamentful character in Rio (2011), a cockatoo by the name of Nigel, who much like Tamatoa is a villain of his film.
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Olaf's nose from Frozen (2013) makes a short appearance when Moana is packing up the boat to leave, as does his hand twig to the right of the food container.
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This is the 21st Disney animated feature film to be named after the main protagonist(s). The others were: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Pinocchio (1940), Dumbo (1941), Bambi (1942), Cinderella (1950), Alice in Wonderland (1951), Peter Pan (1953), Lady and the Tramp (1955), Robin Hood (1973), Oliver & Company (1988), Aladdin (1992), Pocahontas (1995), Hercules (1997), Mulan (1998), Tarzan (1999), Lilo & Stitch (2002), Chicken Little (2005), Bolt (2008), Winnie the Pooh (2011), and Wreck-It Ralph (2012).
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All the characters in the movie are barefoot.
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This is Temuera Morrison's second voice role. In the 2004 re-release of Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) he dubbed over Jason Wingreen's lines for Boba Fett.
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Moana is the second Disney princess to be part of a tribal civilization. The first was Pocahontas (1995).
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The eighth Walt Disney Animation Studios' computer-animated film to be rated PG by the MPAA, after Dinosaur (2000), Bolt (2008), Tangled (2010), Wreck-It Ralph (2012), Frozen (2013), Big Hero 6 (2014) and Zootopia (2016).
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As part of the run-up promotion for Moana, Walt Disney Animation Studios released a series of short behind-the-scenes videos under the hashtag #MoanaMondays. One of them consisted of a few seconds of Alan Tudyk recording "dialogue" for the character of Heihei (actually just a series of clucks and bawks), after which he remarks wryly, "I went to Juilliard!"
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Was number one at the U.S. box-office for three straight weeks.
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This is the fourth computer animated film of 2016 to incorporate brief moments of pure traditional "hand-drawn" animation. The others were Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016), The Angry Birds Movie (2016), and Trolls (2016).
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This is the first Walt Disney Animation Studios film to feature the full 2011 Disney opening logo as a closing logo.
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The fourth Walt Disney Animation Studios' computer-animated film to be produced in 2.35:1, after Wreck-It Ralph (2012), Big Hero 6 (2014) and Zootopia (2016).
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Was nominated for two Oscars: Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song ("How Far I'll Go"), but lost both of them.
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The third Walt Disney Animation Studios' computer-animated musical film, after Tangled (2010) and Frozen (2013).
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Dwayne Johnson's second animated film, after Planet 51 (2009).
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In sailing tradition, tattoos of a pig and rooster are symbols of good luck to prevent drowning, as the wooden cages in which the animals were kept would often float during a shipwreck, giving the animals or any hangers on a higher surviabioity rate. It is therefore fitting that the sailor Moana be accompanied by Heihei and Pua.
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Moana is the first Disney Princess to have her name in the title since Mulan(1998).
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Doug Walker of Nostalgia Critic fame received a lot of letters from his fans asking if he had any involvement in this movie. Walker responded by making a video explaining that he had no involvement with the film, and the person in the end credits simply had the same name as him.
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The last Walt Disney Animation Studios' original full-length feature film of the 2010s.
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This is the first film from directors John Musker and Ron Clements to be rendered using CGI and to be finished in the widescreen 2.39:1 aspect ratio.
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Jemaine Clement and Nicole Scherzinger worked together in Men in Black 3 (2012).
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This the second film directed by John Musker and Ron Clements to receive a PG rating since Treasure Planet (2002) 14 years prior.
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Walt Disney Animation Studios' last film to be worked on by Eric Goldberg before he'd move on to work for DreamWorks Animation when they were still in early development of one of their films Abominable (2019).
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The sixth Walt Disney Animation Studios film of 2010s to be rated PG by the MPAA, after Tangled (2010), Wreck-It Ralph (2012), Frozen (2013), Big Hero 6 (2014) and Zootopia (2016).
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The fourteenth Disney's animated movie of the 2010s to be rated PG by the MPAA, after Tangled (2010), Mars Needs Moms (2011), Brave (2012), Frankenweenie (2012), Wreck-It Ralph (2012), Planes (2013), Frozen (2013), Planes: Fire & Rescue (2014), Big Hero 6 (2014), Inside Out (2015), The Good Dinosaur (2015), Zootopia (2016) and Finding Dory (2016).
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The tenth Disney's animated film of 2010s to produced in 2.35:1, after Mars Needs Moms (2011), Cars 2 (2011), Brave (2012), Wreck-It Ralph (2012), Frozen (2013), Planes: Fire & Rescue (2014), Big Hero 6 (2014), The Good Dinosaur (2015), Zootopia (2016).
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The seventh Disney's computer-animated film to have the female protagonist, after Tangled (2010), Brave (2012), Frozen (2013), Inside Out (2015), Zootopia (2016) and Finding Dory (2016).
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The last Walt Disney Animation Studios film to be accompanied by a short film.
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The last film of Walt Disney Animation Studios' to be directed and worked on by John Husker and Ron Clements before they'd move onto work for Sony Animation when they were still in early production of one of their films The Mitchells vs The Machines (2020).
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This is 3rd installment of the Disney's CGI Animated Musical Universe franchise.
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This is Temuera Morrison's second movie with a WWE Superstar. The first was in The Marine 2 (2009), which starred Ted DiBiase Jr..
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The design of the necklace Moana received from her grandmother is very similar to the Chinese Yin-Yang symbol.
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From the Creators of Zootopia (2016) and Frozen (2013).
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if you look well in Ferdinand (2017) you can see that there is a mention to Moana (2016), since the chicken Jorge has the same colors of Hei Hei.
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Judy Hopps from Zootopia (2016), Dory from Finding Dory (2016), and the title character of Moana (2016) are the only female protagonists of Disney films in 2016.
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Moana is the third Disney Princess to be barefoot throught her film, after Aurora and Rapunzel.
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Actor Trademark 

Dwayne Johnson: [eyebrow] When Moana first meets Maui, he cocks his eyebrow in a strange way. This is the people's eyebrow, Johnson's signature move from his wrestling career.
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Dwayne Johnson: [muscle flex] At one point in the movie, Maui bounces his tattoo self from one side of his chest to the other and back again as he flexes his pectoral muscles.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The pillars that Moana and Maui climb to reach the entrance to Lalotai are faithful renditions of basalt columns. Columnar basalt is formed when thick lava cools slowly. It has also been observed on Mars. Moana and Maui essentially jump down into the middle of an old lava flow.
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After Maui breaks his hook, and before Moana calls Te Ka to her with the heart, Maui performs the haka, a traditional Maori war cry.
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No other human characters meet Maui except Moana.
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Towards the end, Moana gently presses her forehead against Te Ka, and then she does the same with the newly restored Te Fiti. This is a traditional Maori greeting and signifies mutual respect.
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When Gramma Tala is lying sick in the tent, the shell call that alerts Moana and her father is the same sound used in Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland.
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To find Maui, Moana follows a star pattern that resembles Maui's hook. "Maui's Fishhook" is a real-life constellation in some Polynesian cultures. In Western cultures, it's called Scorpius, and the hook is likened to a scorpion tail. The real Fishhook/Scorpius looks nothing like the star pattern shown in the movie.
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The blue glow that forms in the wake of Tala's spirit is a real-world phenomenon caused by plankton known as dinoflagellates. They exist in all aquatic environments, including snow and ice. When they are particularly prominent they can cause waves, boat wakes, and even the water around a swimming person to glow as brightly as seen in the film.
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The Title Character of Wreck-It Ralph (2012) has a cameo during the credits, possibly to anticipate Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018).
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In the beginning of the movie, when Moana's grandmother is telling the story, she rolls down two scrolls. One shows Tamatoa, the giant crab that Moana and Maui face later on in the movie.
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The shell Moana places on the tower of rocks makes her the 16th chief of Motonui.
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When Maui is a giant hawk, the underside of his right wing has a mark that looks like a fishhook. It's most visible at the very end of the film.
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In the post credit scene, Tamatoa the Giant Crab broke the fourth wall, where he asked the audience if they would be happy to help him to get him out of his shell if he was named Sebastian and had a "cool Jamaican accent". He was making a reference to Sebastian the crab from The Little Mermaid (1989), which was also directed by John Musker and Ron Clements.
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Moana is the first animated Disney feature film since Meet the Robinsons (2007) in which the main antagonist doesn't speak. Te Fiti (the island goddess) becomes Te Ka (the lava goddess) until Moana returns the Heart, reminding the goddess who she truly is. In Princess Mononoke (1997), the normally beneficial Spirit of the Forest loses its head and becomes a destructive force until characters return its head.
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Most characters in Moana's village have either the same tattoos as Dwayne Johnson, or variations of them.
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Tamatoa is the only non-human character to speak in the film.
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At the beginning when Gramma Tala is telling the story of Maui, the monsters in the back include Tamatoa and Marshmallow from Frozen (2013). When Moana and Maui enter the realm of monsters they meet both of these creatures. The monster with the back spikes is actually Marshmallow.
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Right at the end of the movie when Motunui is reviving and coming back to life, there is a quick glimpse of a flower blooming. This flower is the same enchanted flower that Mother Gothel uses to keep herself young until it is used to heal the Queen in Tangled (2010)
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The manner in which Te Ka crawls towards Moana before she restores the heart resembles the movements of Ursula in The Little Mermaid (1989), when she is crawling towards Ariel on the deck of the ship in the finale.
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Near the end of the film, Moana said, "See you out there, Maui," and he replied, "See you out there, Moana." He turns into a bird and shoots water up to the sky. It forms a "D" in the style of the Walt Disney Pictures logo.
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The creature in The Realm of Monsters with four arms that attacks Moana before getting shot up into the ocean is actually a re-used model of Flash the Sloth from Zootopia (2016)
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The flower from Tangled (2010) can be seen on Motunui when it's coming back to life.
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At the beginning of the film, Moana saves a baby sea turtle. Later, when she discovers the cave of boats, you can see a sea turtle carved into the prow of the boat that she eventually takes to find Maui.
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After toddler Moana helps the baby sea turtle, it reunites with a turtle that appears to be its parent. If the all Disney movies take place in the same universe, the baby turtle could by Squirt from Finding Nemo (2003), and the parent turtle could be Crush. In Finding Nemo (2003), Squirt is Crush's only offspring. When Marlin asks Crush how old he is, Crush replies, "150 dude, and still young!"
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Moana contains two clear references to the film The Abyss (1989). First, the characterized and (almost) personified ocean (water taking form/shape shifting) is similar to the water "tube/ROV" that scopes out the oil rig in The Abyss (1989). Second, the bio luminescent manta ray (spirit of Moana's grandmother), bears a striking resemblance to the creatures at the end of The Abyss (1989).
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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