There’s a new Disney Princess in town and Disney has just released the trailer to her movie. Her name is Moana and she is Disney’s first Polynesian princess. In the recently released trailer, we see her first impression of the once-mighty demi-god Maui, played by Dwayne Johnson. Moana, herself, is played by Hawaiian actress, Auli’i Cravalho.
Moana Waialik is the only daughter in a long line of Hawaiian navigators. The film follows her as she sets sail on traditional Polynesian sailing canoe with her first mate, Maui, in search of a fabled island. Adding a bit of reality to this fiction, Moana’s voyage comes in the wake of a real life Polynesian sailing crew’s ongoing voyage around the globe on their own sailing canoe, Hokulea. Traditional navigation is integral to Polynesian culture and Moana is presenting it to a whole new audience in this animated film.
Separately but similarly, Pixar is set to release an animated short next year ahead of its sequel to Inside Out that is also set on a Polynesian island. The trailer for this opens with a singing volcano reminiscent of the late Israel Kamakawiwoʻole.
Moana was directed by Ron Clements and John Musker and is set for a Thanksgiving release on November 23, 2016.