Since Walt Disney Animation Studios released the first glimpses of their upcoming film, “Moana”, last year at D23 Expo, I’ve been excited about it hitting theaters this November. “Moana” is a thrilling, CG-animated feature film about an adventurous 16-year-old who sails out on a daring mission to save her people.
The story is inspired in part by the oral histories of the people and cultures of Oceania. Three thousand years ago Polynesian voyagers, the greatest navigators in the world, set out across the vast Pacific Ocean, discovering thousands of islands. But then, according to scholars, their voyages suddenly stopped for a whole millennium – and no one knows exactly why.
Did you know Maui isn’t just a beautiful tropical Hawaiian island?
Whenever I heard the word Maui, my mind would drift off into a daydream of me lounging on a lush tropical beach with Matt, sipping a pina colada from a coconut. However, this summer I was blessed to attend the early press day for Disney’s new film and learned that Maui is actually a demigod (half god, half mortal), which I found very intriguing.
What’s more, the voice of Maui is done by Dwayne Johnson, whom I’ve loved since his days on WWE as the Rock. Therefore, I thought I would formally introduce you to the charismatic and funny Maui.
Who is Maui
Maui is known to be one of the greatest heroes in all of Oceania. One of his strengths originates from a magical fishhook that allows him to shape shift into all kinds of animals and pull up islands from the sea. His body is covered with tattoos that depict his many extraordinary feats, including a mini-version of himself that acts as Maui’s conscience. Once considered a hero, Maui is now responsible for the trouble that threatens Moana’s people. Lost in the shadow of his past victories, he needs to right his wrongs and restore what’s been lost. Embarking on an extraordinary journey of self-discovery alongside Moana, Maui brings his super strength—as well as his super-sized issues.
Designing the Character
Not Bald – In the early vision of the design of Maui, the character was bald. However, after consulting with the Oceanic Story Trust, the directors and producers learned that those who grew up with the legend imagined him with a full head of hair. Creating Maui’s long, curly locks presented a challenge since nothing similar had been done since the movie “Tangled”. In order for filmmakers to create the perfect look and feel, they partnered with their technology group and artists to develop a new system for animating hair.
Very Athletic – The artists studied wrestlers, football players and various other strongmen in order to create a very athletic male figure that could be very masculine while still retaining his charm, not much different from Dwayne Johnson.
Personality – When Maui enters a room he has a bit of swagger to him, and he is pretty laid back, yet fearless. To bring Maui to life, filmmakers study Dwayne Johnson head movements, facial reactions and general body movements to develop the character’s voice and mannerisms.
I think Maui is going to be my favorite character in Disney’s new film, “Moana”. Look for him to sail into your hearts on . . .
November 23, 2016
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