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Disney's Newest Animated Film 'Moana' Is Based on a South Pacific Legend

First Posted: Oct 26, 2014 07:12 PM EDT
'Moana' Disney Movie

Photo : Facebook/Moana Disney Facebook Page

On the heels of Disney's live action fairy tale "Maleficent" and their biggest animated film of all time, "Frozen," they are embarking on a new animated adventure. This time, the story is based on a South Pacific legend titled "Moana."

Announced last week, "Moana" is Walt Disney Animation Studios' newest animated feature film that is slated to splash into movie theaters soon. "Moana" is based off a South Pacific legend. There is already a Disney Official Facebook page set up for the freshman animated movie. 

With the current success of "Frozen," the people behind "Moana" have some animated accomplishments already and are hoping to achieve a similar feat like the snow princess film.

The adventure takes place in the ancient South Pacific world of Oceania. Moana is a born navigator who sets sail to find a fabled island that will help her people, according to the "Disney Moana" Facebook Page. She then teams up with a legendary demigod named Maui. Together they travel the open ocean on an "action packed voyage."  

During the voyage, they encounter gigantic sea creatures, beautiful under-the-sea worlds and ancient folklore. Moana means ocean in Hawaiian and Maori languages. The animated musical film was originally set to debut in 2018, but Disney has fast tracked it for a 2016 release.

Much of the artwork on the Facebook page and in the film is inspired by French Post-impressionist artist Paul Gauguin.

"Moana" has magic written all over it. Disney's 56th animated film is the studio's first Polynesian princess. Although "Lilo & Stitch" was set in Hawaii, there was no princess. This film is directed by the same people who brought us "The Little Mermaid," "The Princess and the Frog" and "Aladdin," Ron Clements and John Musker, NBC News reported.

"Moana is indomitable, passionate and a dreamer with a unique connection to the ocean itself," Musker said. "She's the kind of character we all root for, and we can't wait to introduce her to audiences."

Following "Mulan," "Mulan 2" and "Lilo & Stitch," "Moana" will be an exciting addition for the Asian American and Pacific Islander audiences. The screenplay for the animated musical was written by Taika Waititi, the New Zealand-born writer, director, actor, comedian and painter, NBC News reported.

Waititi has a lot of talent. He directed the 2010 film "Boy," which won a Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. "Boy" was the highest grossing local film ever in New Zealand. Waititi also directed a 2004 short film, "Two Cars, One Night," which was nominated for an Academy Award, NBC News reported.

Waititi also wrote a 2003 play titled "Untold Tales of Maui," which was an update of legends based on the trickster demigod Maui.

"Moana" hopes to be the next "Frozen" for Disney.

Last year, "Frozen" was the highest grossing animated film of all time. It even surpassed Disney classics such as "Beauty and the Beast," "The Little Mermaid" and "Cinderella," CNN reported.

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