Moana - Verbal Diorama

Episode 55


Published on: 20th August, 2020

Make way, make way for Disney's first computer generated animated foray into the Polynesian islands, mythology and culture (although not the first animated foray - that goes to Lilo and Stitch!) to the island of Motonui, and its future chief Moana; a young woman who feels a call to the ocean (not surprising as her name literally means 'ocean') and is tasked with finding the demigod Maui, restoring the stolen heart of Te Fiti, and in doing so re-establish the natural ecological harmony, rediscover her voyaging heritage and save her people.

Just an average mission for any sixteen-year-old girl, am I right?

Directed by Disney stalwarts John Musker and Ron Clements, Moana is gorgeous, vibrant and dazzling; the characters are interesting and relatable, the almost entirely Polynesian cast are fantastic and the music.... you do not need to get me started on the music! The soundtrack is a delight from start to finish. Lin-Manuel Miranda really is a shiny treasure fit for the shell of Tamatoa. Moana is a Disney Princess for all to aspire to be like. Auli'i Cravalho is such a revelation in this movie. Her voice belies her young years (lest we forget, she was just 14-years-old when cast, and 15 when performing!)

Sure, Moana has issues and I'd be remiss not to mention Disney's attempts to be inclusive and culturally sensitive, despite having an Oceanic Story Trust to advise on cultural sensitivity, have backfired for some Pacific Islanders on the depictions of Maui and the Kakamora, but on the whole Moana is a JOY. It's the best movie Disney have released in the last 20 years, despite it being trounced by its Disney stable-mate Zootopia at awards season.... (Zootopia is great, but I prefer Moana, personally)

I am a girl who loves my island. I am the girl who loves the sea. Moana calls me.

Here's the link to Lindsay Ellis' YouTube video essay on Pocahontas, where she compares it to Moana.

I would love to hear your thoughts on Moana!


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Theme Music: Verbal Diorama Theme Song

Music by Chloe Enticott - Compositions by Chloe Facebook

Lyrics by Chloe Enticott (and me!)

Production by Ellis Powell-Bevan of Ewenique Studios.

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About the Podcast

Verbal Diorama
The podcast on the history and legacy of movies you know, and movies you don't.
Are you interested in how movies are made? Do you wonder how a film went from conception to completion? If so Verbal Diorama, hosted by Em, is the podcast for you!

Movies are tough to make, and Verbal Diorama is here to celebrate the coming together of teams of extraordinary cast and crew, bringing us movies that inspire us, delight us, make us laugh, make us cry and petrify us. This podcast discovers the stories behind the scenes, and proves how amazing it is that movies actually exist!

Welcome to Verbal Diorama. The podcast all about the history and legacy of movies you know, and movies you don't! Subscribe on your favourite podcast app, and enjoy new episodes every week.
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About your host

Profile picture for Em .

Em .

Hi! I'm Em. I created Verbal Diorama in 2018, and launched the podcast in February 2019 to rapturous applause and acclaim.... from my cat Jess.

The modus operandi of Verbal Diorama is simple: movies are tough to make! The coming together of a team of people from all walks of life to make something to entertain, delight and educate us for 90+ mins is not an easy task, and yet so many succeed at it. That must be something to celebrate.

I'm here to do just that - to celebrate movies. Their history and legacy, and why they remain so special to so many of us.

Episodes are audibly book ended by Jess. She sadly passed away in March 2022, aged almost 18. She featured in many episodes of the podcast, and that's why you can hear her at the end of every episode. The role of official feline producer is now held by the comparatively quieter Evie.

I love podcasts, and listen to many, but never my own.

I unashamedly love The Mummy (1999) and Grease 2. I'm still looking for a cool rider.