Moana ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi Review

Moana is one of Disney’s most popular animated films of all time. Standing along side similarly praised films such as Tangled and Frozen. I believe one of the main reasons for the films success is due to the power of a female lead rather than having the old male hero saving women in distress cliche. But one thing that this film sets apart from the others is the effort in creating an culturally accurate story in a very delicate area which is the Polynesian culture. After watching the original film, I was impressed with Disney’s efforts to portray my family. Although there are certain parts of the film that I believe to be a little misrepresented, at least they were able to put in the time to research our culture and write a story that we can be satisfied with.

Apart from the original version, I was extremely proud of the new Hawaiian dub version since the people behind this dub worked extremely hard to make it happen. When I went to attend the film panel at the Hawaiʻi International Film Festival, I was blessed to meet the people responsible for the project including former UH Mānoa professor Puakea Nogelmeier who became the films Hawaiian language coordinator. Throughout the panel he explains the challenges the cast and crew encountered during the project. There dealt with many issues such as matching the mouth movements with the language and finding the proper words for the dub since the Hawaiian language couldn’t translate certain words in the films original English version. But after a few months of hard work and determination, they were able to create something that Hawaiʻi can be extremely grateful for. Because special moments such as this don’t occur often. Hawaiʻi hasn’t always been a big influence in the world of entertainment. The only thing that had any influence to that world would be television shows like Hawaiʻi Five-0 and Magnum P.I. But now we are beginning to rise up in the ranks and really give ourselves a voice to be heard. And with this version of Moana, people outside of Hawaiʻi can have a better understanding of our language and our people. Going beyond just the postcards. The Hawaiian dub of this film will be released to schools all over Hawaiʻi by around 2019.

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