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Primary Document Analysis for the Film “Moana”

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When most people think about Disney movies, their mind often goes to the stereotypical princess movies in which the protagonist wears a pink ball gown. Time and time again these princesses must fight their way through the story in a luxurious ball gown in order to end up with a prince. However, there are many Disney movies that work to challenge these gender stereotypes. The movie Moana is a recent example of a Disney production that works to break the imposed stereotypes placed on children from an early age.

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The movie is an American based animation film which was released in the year 2016. Walt Disney Animation studios were the producers of this 3-D animation film which was then released by Walt Disney Pictures Company. The intriguing film was directed by Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker who were assisted by Don Hall and Chris Williams as the co-directors. The movie revolves around Moana, who is a daughter of the chief of the Polynesian village. The girl has been selected by the ocean as the instrument that will reunite a mystical artifact with a goddess to save her people. The inspiration young girls may gather from the movie poster is amplified by the text above Moana’s head. “Brave Like the Sea.” This text implies that Moana is as brave as the sea, something not often portrayed by other advertisements. “Brave” is a word often applied to males only, leaving females completely out of the narrative that they could ever exhibit this trait

However, this poster flips the switch and boldly states that a female is capable of being brave, and provides a strong example for the audience.

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On balance, Moana is a powerful story which is brilliantly animated, wonderfully acted and tells a great story. All of that would have been enough for me to recommend it to you, but on top of this Disney took a big risk in telling a story from Polynesia a place that rarely gets a look in this modern media landscape yet it is full of fascinating stories. I highly recommend you check Moana out at the movies if you can.

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