Disney’s “Moana”-South Pacific Animated Feature for 2016

MoanaDirectors Ron Clements and John Musker are at it again, this time with an upcoming animated feature called Moana. Both Clements and Musker are the brains behind other Disney box office hits to include “The Princess and the Frog”, “Aladdin”, and “The Little Mermaid”.

Scheduled to hit theaters in November 2016, the movie is set in the ancient South Pacific world of Oceana. The story focuses on a high-spirited teenage girl by the name of Moana who in an effort to fulfill her ancestors’ quest, sails through treacherous waters to find a legendary island.

Moana is a born navigator who along her incredible journey teams up with the legendary demi-god Maui, her hero. Together, they traverse the vast ocean while coming across giant sea creatures, breathtakingly beautiful underwater worlds, and ancient folklore.

Clements and Musker have proved their dual power in numerous 2-D animation films but this will be their first adventure into CG. Moana is said to be passionate, determined, and a dreamer with an uncanny connection to the ocean. As Musker puts it, Moana is the type of character that audiences want to root for and as such, he and Clements are excited to bring her to life.

The Moana project was revealed today by Walt Disney Animation Studios and in a statement from Clements, creating this film is the highlight of both he and Musker’s career. The two agree that Moana is an adventurous undertaking but one they are thrilled to be a part of.

Considering the magic that Clements and Musker have created with other Disney films, critics and moviegoers anticipate Moana will be another mesmerizing film. Although the pair could have chosen any place in the world to serve as the film’s backdrop, they agreed it had to be the South Pacific. When asked why, Clements said the decision was influenced by books he read as a child but also, the South Pacific is an exotic place.

Initially, Clements and Musker developed a simplistic storyline but they quickly recognized it begged for research. To find needed answers, the two traveled to the South Pacific, making two trips total that yielded amazing things and offered a life-changing experience.

While visiting the islands, both Clements and Musker were impressed with the local islanders who grew up being surrounded by the ocean. In talking with the people, they gained tremendous insight, such as how natives of the South Pacific believe the ocean and land are one. Rather than the ocean separating islands, they feel it unites them.

Many of the ideas for the Moana film came from the locals who were very proud to share stories of their ancient ancestors but also how they invented a method of navigation known as dead reckoning that involved the study of currents and stars. There is a definite epic aspect to the movie, coupled with plenty of opportunities for action, adventure, and comedy.

To ensure Moana is everything wanted and more, other talent came onboard to include Ed Catmull, Andrew Millsteint, Ian Gooding, and John Lasseter. Although no stars have been mentioned at this time, in order to bring the story of Moana set 2,000 years ago alive, there will be a very careful selection of cast members.

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