First Moana Footage Shown

And Dwayne Johnson rocks D23


by James White |
Published on

If you’ve got The Rock – better know these days as Dwayne Johnson – in your film, you’d be crazy not to bring him up on stage during a presentation for it. Moana co-directors Ron Clements and John Musker are not crazy, and did just that, along with some first-look footage from one of Disney Animation’s 2016 releases.

With Johnson drawing one of the biggest (and loudest) reactions on the Friday of this weekend’s D23 convention – plus leading the audience in a Samoan greeting for musicians who would play on stage – Musker, Clements and producer Osnat Shurer brought the first footage from the movie, along with a few new details.

Moana, which is set at a time when the exploratory voyages of the Pacific Islanders were a thing of the past, follows the brave main character, a young woman who yearns to venture beyond her home. Her father, the chief, doesn’t approve, worrying for his daughter’s safety, but beloved grandmother Tala encourages her to listen to her heart. And on her trip, she encounters Maui (Johnson), a figure from legend, who claims to be a human raised by the gods and capable of great deeds.

Along the way, Moana will make a trip to a underworld beneath the ocean and will come face to face with a massive, vengeful land spirit. Also a character in the film? The ocean itself, with the filmmakers debuting a clip that shows Moana as a toddler interacting with the ocean. The water acts like a sweet, Disneyfied version of the tentacle from The Abyss, and there is a lovely moment where it parts for the little girl, Moses-style and she watches a turtle drift by in a wall of water.

All in all, it looks somewhat impressive, and has been fuelled by long contact with native Samoans and other Pacific Islanders. The film also boasts musical contributions from Tony Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda, Grammy-winning composer Mark Mancina (who worked with the directors on The Lion King) and Opetaia Foa’I, founder and lead singer of the world music award-winning band Te Vaka. Moana will be in UK cinemas on December 2, 2016.

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