While visiting my son's family for my little grand daughter's 3rd birthday, I saw the popular Disney movie, Moana. I really enjoyed the overall story, music and beauty of the scenery. I liked it as much as my grand daughter.
What I noticed, after viewing the film more than once, was no romance. It is the first Disney movie I believe I've ever seen without a romantic-interest theme - and I am pretty sure I have seen them all. There was plenty of love evident in the film, but not the usual, boy meets girl and falls in love, theme.
I rather liked the shift in theme to friendship and teamwork that Moana and Maui enjoyed. It was also wonderful for me, as a grandmother, to see the loving relationship that Moana and her grandma shared. Grandparents are rarely central figures in films. This Disney film had a very prominent role for Moana's grandma.
Disney has portrayed girls in recent films as strong and heroic, but at the end of the day, there has also been an overarching romance theme. With Moana and Maui being equal status hero figures, relating more on a friendship basis, it was another turning point and shift.
Hollywood movies have influenced me throughout my life. I've shared many of the same movies with my children and now my grandchildren. I didn't pay much attention to the underlying messages, as Disney movies always had 'good' triumphing over 'evil' and the main characters always secured true love by the end - all formulas for 'happily ever after'. And who doesn't like 'happily ever after'?
What we don't often think about is how influential the Hollywood depiction of people, places and cultures is on each of us. For many of us, our worldview is solely based on movies. Those views are so narrowly focused, designed to support a single storyline, representing a particular situation. Yet, from the time we are mere toddlers, the Hollywood movies begin to frame our reference and serve as the foundation of our thoughts about men, women, heroism, bravery, patriotism, love, romance, evil, good, the East, the West and more.
A main theme in Moana showed that life without heart is a decaying and dying life, with fire, wind and anger fueling the decline of all that is beautiful in life. I like this lesson, and it is one that I hope the parents and other adults watching the film will pick up on. The fiery monster, Te Ka, is merely Te Fiti (goddess of life and similar to Mother Earth) with no heart. Just as our world choices made without heart and caring for people and all things living, cause our world to decline and decay, so too did Te Ka negatively impact the islands and water in the film.
Heroes and heroines don't seem so readily apparent these days, but I know they are out there among us. For our earth's sake, the sake of our children and grand children, I pray we let our light's shine from within, fueled by our heart.
Thank you for taking this journey with me!
Loving Life and Living Love,
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