A Deeper Look into Moana
Just like many other stories, movie “Moana” also follows a pattern. The pattern is called Stages of Hero’s Journey. It also has archetypical characters, who also can be found in other stories from all over the world.
Let’s talk about the characters, or to be more exact, about how characters in movie “Moana” correspond to the archetypes. In the movie the hero is Moana. She is brave and wants to explore. She is also a chief of her tribe, which is located on an island and surrounded by riffs, which are hard to cross. But Moana is curious to know what is beyond the riffs, but her parents won’t let her to go because it’s too dangerous there. Finally, when the evil reaches their island they let her go to save the world.
How it works
The Anti-hero is Maui. He is ready to do whatever it takes to reach the goal. Like, for example when he stole Te Fiti’s heart, and did not think about others. The darkness started to spread everywhere in the sea and was swallowing islands and doom them. Finally it reached the Moana’s island, and they sent her to put the heart back and stop the expansion of the darkness.
The Earth Mother is Grandmother Tala. Grandma helps Manona and lets her know that she was chosen by the ocean to go on the journey. She also encourages her to go on the journey anyways, even when she saw how dangerous that was and refused to go.
In the story there were three villains. The first villain, or villains were the coconut pirates. They tried to capture Moana’s and Maui’s boat because they also were looking for the heart. But the pirates failed and their ships sunk. Another Villain is Tamatoa, a gigantic crab. He kept Maui’s hook, and Maui wanted to get it. It was really hard and the crab nearly killed them, but they distracted him and successfully stole the hook. The last villain was Te Ka, a demon of earth and fire, which they failed to beat the first time.
The movie follows the Hero’s Journey pattern. As usual it starts with Call to Action. Someday the coconuts on Moana’s Island got a disease, so Moana told the people to plant another groove. But then fishermen complain that there’s no fish anywhere in their lagoon. Moana with her adventurous spirit finally decides to go beyond the reef. Then comes the Refusal to Go, in which Moana crosses the reef and her boat gets destroyed by big waves. She nearly drowned, when she got stuck between corrals. Finally she swims back to the island.
When Moana was regaining her strength, after the disaster, her grandmother comes and leads her into the cave and reveals the truth to her, who their ancestors were, and who she is. Their ancestors were voyagers who came from far away and decided to colonize the island. Moana now believes in herself and thinks she is able to go beyond the reef and save her people. This is Supernatural Aid that comes as the grandmother.
Finally Moana decides to go and cross the reef. In this scene she is crossing the threshold. Now she understands there’s no turning back, and she is sure he can make it, and return Te Fiti’s heart back.
After few days in the sea Moana’s ship gets into a storm. Her ship flips and Moana is disappointed with the ocean that it did not help her. But the ocean knew what it was doing, and turned out that Moana was washed ashore on an island. Moui lived on that island. He was trapped there for a thousand years and could not escape since his hook was lost. This scene could be identified as Belly of the Whale.
First Moana and Moui did not come together very well and Moui just trapped her in a cave, took her boat and tried to sail away. Moana got out of the trap and swam to the boat. Finally Moui agreed to allow her on the ship. As their voyage went on they were attacked the coconut pirates, who also needed Te Fiti’s heart. The pirates were beaten, their ships sunk and Moana and Moui escaped. Second time they met a giant crab under water. It kept Moui’s magic fish hook he lost. They also succeeded and took the hook back. The last time, when they arrived Te Fitiit was guarded by Te Ka, a demon of earth and fire. They failed to beat it the first time. This was the road of trials.
Then comes meeting a temptress. Here Moui is a temptress. Moui not only refuses to continue the journey, but also tells Moana how bad she is and makes her not to believe in herself. She gives the heart back to the ocean and begins to cry. To calm her down a ghost of her Grandmother comes as the “father” and asks her what the problem is. Moana wants to return home, but her inside voice knows that she has to continue, because her people had put a lot of hope in her. The Gramma says few motivational phrases which awake a new spirit in Moana and she is ready to go.
Now inspired, Moana goes back to Te Ka to fight it. Here starts the apotheosis. While fighting Moana tricks Te Ka and passes through the barrier islands. She also proves herself as an impressive sailor by using many techniques. To her surprise Maui comes to help. He beats the monster but not for a long time. When Moana reaches Te Fiti, she founds out it wasn’t there. Then the monster resurrects and sees that it is not able to get to moana. Then Moana tells the ocean to move apart to make a path for Te Ka. They move toward each other. Moana sings a calm song to cool the monster down, and it helps. The demon leted Moana to put the heart back. Unexpectedly Te Ka turns into Te Fiti. This was the Ultimate Boon.
All the darkness fades away and plants start to grow. Maui asks forgiveness from Te Fiti, so she rewards Maui with a new fish hook, because he broke the old one in the fight. Maui wants to stay on Te Fiti because they have Moana. Moana leaves Te Fiti and sails away back to her island on a boat that was given to her by Te Fiti.
When Moana comes back everyone praises her, so she teaches everyone how to sail. They take out the old boats, their ancestors used. Now her people no more think it is dangerous beyond the reef, so most of them go to explore and to find new islands. Movie Moana is one of many stories from around the world that proves that many stories may have different characters, locations and plot, but they all follow the same pattern called The hero’s journey