The 2016 Disney film “Moana,” a CG-animated classic. The film featured Moana as she ventured out from her island home and across the open sea, receiving assistance from a demigod along the way. The movie has earned two Academy Award nominations, and earned over $500 million around the world.
Clearly, lots of people saw the film, but here are some fun facts about Moana you might not have known:
1. In Hawaiian and Maori, the name “Moana” means “ocean.” Sure, it’s a bit on the nose, but it’s a cute (and meaningful) name for this new Disney princess.
2. The sign for Maui’s fishhook was inspired by the Scorpio constellation.
3. Originally, Maui was supposed to be the main character in this film and Moana was supposed to only be a secondary character; however, this was changed, because the filmmakers wanted the plot to be about Moana’s own personal journey, not just about her relationship with a boy.
4. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson didn’t have to audition for the role of Maui, because Disney already had their hearts set on securing him for the part. The Disney animators even modeled parts of Maui after him. Take a look – notice how Maui’s eyebrows and dimples look strikingly similar to Johnson’s?
5. Tamatoa the giant crab resides in an undersea land known as Lalotai, the realm of monsters. Its name is derived from Proto-Polynesian words lalo (“below”) and tai (“the sea”).
6. Water is as much a character in the movie as any of the main characters. The effects team worked on the natural effects of water and also simulated water through their Splash water effects engine. Because of the role of water in the movie, the special effects team ran huge water simulations to elicit beautiful flowing water effects.
7. Walt Disney Animation Studios created new software called Quicksilver to make Moana’s hair more lifelike. It’s an engine dedicated to hair simulation and it moves the hair around instead of the animators drawing what they want the hair to do.
8. Disney organized a team called the Oceanic Story Trust to make sure everything in “Moana” was accurate. The group advised on the story, names, dialogue, and cultural references, and made sure Moana was staying true to the ideals and customs of the South Pacific.
9. Maui is based on actual Polynesian mythology. Maui is an actual legend of a powerful god who carries a magical fish hook that helped raise the islands of the South Pacific from the ocean.
10. All the characters in “Moana” wear outfits made only from materials that would have been available to them 2,000 years ago.
11. Early designs of Maui lacked his signature hair. He did, in fact, sport a tough-looking bald head. But Oceanic Story Trust consultants advised filmmakers that Maui was typically imagined with a full head of hair. So character designers went to work on creating the look and a team of technicians figured out how to realize it.
12. Maui’s tattoos features “Mini Maui”—a two-dimensional representation of Maui that serves as the demigod’s conscience, ensuring he does the right thing—even when he’d rather not. Mini Maui, which was animated using traditional hand-drawn techniques by Walt Disney Animation Studios.