Monday, July 25, 2016

Water Worlds: Main 'Moana' Cast Revealed

A big wave of new Moana stuff has come our way...

I assume a new trailer for this seaside picture is right around the corner, because USA Today gave us a new look at the film, showing off the main cast and who's playing who...

First up is a new image of Moana herself, showing that - yes, as expected - she will be an action girl, if the trailer and earlier reports didn't tell you that already.

And here's another look at Maui...

Maui - a shapeshifter, as also seen in the teaser where he turns into a giant hawk - is in search of his lost magical hook, which is why he's initially hesitant to board Moana's boat and head off an adventure. Who's got the hook? We'll get there...

Our new images of the cast also show just how amazing the Oceanic islands are going to look in this film. Hyper-real the visuals may be, they are still undoubtedly gorgeous...

Moana's parents, Chief Tui and Sina will be voiced by Temuera Morrison (Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones) and Nicole Scherzinger (of the Pussycat Dolls), respectively. The dad is overprotective, not surprising given that another Ron and John princess story had a father who was just like that, Sina on the other hand is more supportive of her daughter's ambitions. A sort of peacemaker between her and the father, as the article puts it.

Her grandmother, Tala (voiced by Rachel House, who starred in writer Taiki Waititi's Early vs Shark and Boy), on the other hand is the eccentric old lady of the village, and as a result - given her experiences over the years - her bond with her granddaughter is very strong. Maybe even stronger than the bond Moana has with her parents.

Now we have a first look at the villain... That's right, no twist bad guys here it seems, and this actually took me by surprise.

A giant crab named Tamatoa...

Voiced by Jemaine Clement (no stranger to voice acting, he also voiced the evil cockatoo Nigel in Blue Sky's Rio and its sequel), Tamatoa has Maui's magical hook, and lives in a realm of monsters called Lalotai. He's 50 feet, has a "deadpan sense of humor", and even gets a villain song! The design is cool, but I don't think it's necessarily menacing. See, I kind of miss the "scary" Disney animated villain. Now don't get me wrong, I loved a lot of the recent villains - Facilier, King Candy, and a certain someone in Zootopia immediately come to mind - but I felt that they weren't frightening enough, certainly not on the level of say... The Evil Queen, or Maleficent, or Frollo.

But maybe this giant enemy crab will be scarier in the movie, at least I hope so. Animated movies these days, while a lot of them have strong storytelling, I wished they'd bring back some of the bite that distinguished the early Walt films, Don Bluth's films, and even some of the 90s Disney Renaissance films. So far we have LAIKA for that.

Next up is a look at Moana's animal friends, who won't talk, thankfully.

Alan Tudyk, Walt Disney Animation Studios' new good luck charm/modern-day Sterling Holloway, will provide the clucks and crows for rooster Heihei, described as a chicken that's stupider than most. For a long while, this fowl was supposed to be cranky, but I guess the writers weren't satisfied with that. Pua remains the same, though. She'll still be the loyal piggie that she was in the earlier drafts.

So now we have a good idea of what's in store for us. Supernatural creatures and fantastical monsters were teased before, but now we know that our baddie is going to be one of those. In addition to the ocean being a character and hints that the characters will walk around the seabeds, Moana looks to be one heck of a fantasy epic. This is the kind of thing animation is meant for, and with that Japanese teaser showing off how the water will interact with people, Disney Animation has shown - like they did with Zootopia earlier this year - that they have once again taken advantage of the medium. Now hopefully the story and writing stacks up well next to that...

Add-on... The Kakamora, revealed by Disney on Facebook... Little pirates wearing coconuts for armor... Wow...

What say you?


  1. I doubt there'll be no twist villain. Every new look of every Disney movie has shown a "villain" of some sort. New info from other sources has shown us a villainy in the form of a lava goddess who despise what Humans have done to the world.

    1. You mean the one shown at D23? Where did you get this info?

  2. I hope Moana doesn't flop like Good Dinosaur did last year.

  3. So far we have LAIKA for that.

    Dreamworks is capable of it too, if Tai Lung and Lord Shen are any indication.

    1. Well, we'll see what kind of projects move forward under Universal's watch, and if 'Shadows' will be dark or not.

    2. With a title like "Shadows", it had better be.