Later this week, Disney and Pixar will debut their latest collaboration, Finding Dory. It will likely be a hit because what has Disney made lately that hasn’t been a hit? (Films featuring Johnny Depp in heavy mack-up notwithstanding.) Of course, Finding Dory is a sequel, but how about something a bit more original? How about something from another brand name that means quality in the annals of Disney animation? The trailer for Moana dropped Sunday night, and it promises all the fun and adventure that’s synonymous with Disney, as well as a heaping helping of Dwayne Johnson as a demigod with a magical hook.
Directed by John Musker and Ron Clements, the men behind Aladdin and The Little Mermaid, comes the tale of Moana, a young woman in ancient Oceania who has the sea in her blood. Though her society doesn’t think much of female sailors, Moana is determined to recreate the mythic journeys of her ancestors from a millennia before, and is joined in her adventure by Maui, a demigod and great hero of Polynesian myth. Auli’i Cravalho, a high school freshman, will be the voice of Moana, while Johnson will voice Maui. Newly minted Tony-winner Lin-Manuel Miranda will provide the music along with Opetaia Foaʻi and Mark Mancina.
With that kind of pedigree it’s hard to imagine that this project will bomb, especially with Johnson and his personal social media empire at the disposal of the marketing department. There’s also the added intrigue of the mythology of the South Pacific, which the average person probably doesn’t know that much about. It’s hard to smell success coming off this thing, and with Disney’s batting average as of late, who would be fool enough to bet against them? I guess we’ll see.
Moana will be in theaters everywhere on November 23.