Editor in Chief
My third-grade teacher once said that all ideas are good ideas. She was wrong. Disney, please, I beg of you, do not make a live-action Moana. You’ve done some not-so-great things, but I am willing to forgive the uncanny CGI Pinocchio and the talking lions as long as you rethink your future choices. Please, for the love of all things good and precious, do not make a live-action Moana.
I was sitting on my bed about a month ago when I made the grave decision to open YouTube. There, staring right back at me through my computer screen was Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on a beach, ominously hovering over the title “Live-Action Moana Announcement.” Distraught, dismayed, and most of all, profoundly disappointed, I watched as Johnson announced he would soon return as Maui in a full-length, live-action remake of Moana, a movie Disney released only seven years ago.
Over the past ten years, Disney has decided that their animation department is absolutely fantastic. It is so good, in fact, that they no longer need to produce original ideas. Instead, they can simply churn out endless live-action remakes that nobody asked for! The overarching justification for all of these remakes has been the same thing: nostalgia. Movies such as Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Cinderella, and the Jungle Book are all over 20 years old. From a marketing angle, I understand why an adult would want to see the familiar stories of their childhood retold through a new lens. But in the case of Moana, who is nostalgic for 2016? It’s a very specific demographic of people who were kids during the release of Moana and will be young adults when the live-action remake comes out. I am a part of this target audience, and personally, I am less than thrilled with the project.
Remaking the same exact story is not only disrespecting an amazing animated movie, but also utterly disrespectful to Pacific Islander culture. With overabundant means and creative talent, I find it incredibly unfortunate Disney has not invested in creating something entirely new to further honor Polynesian culture. Disney couldn’t come up with another story, so they had to retell the same exact one? Sequels aren’t always perfect, but Moana 2 would be far better than whatever this is.
While The Rock does not mention the return of Auli’i Cravalho as the titular character in the two-minute-long video announcement, according to Disney’s Twitter page the actress will be reprising her role as Moana. So –– just to be clear ––– Maui will be played by Johnson and Moana will be played by Cravalho. Therefore, it will be the exact same movie… literally, just replace the beautiful and intricate animation with an unsettling CGI Tomatoa.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think a live-action Moana will be entirely awful; it has the potential to be visually interesting. My main issue with this project is the fact that it is just so… lazy. How can a multi-billion dollar corporation with access to the most world-renowned animators and storytellers find themselves at the brink of creative exhaustion? Is this really the