Disney Is Remaking Moana, and Who's Surprised?

If this had been posted a few days ago, it would have been an obvious April Fool's Joke, but nope. Disney waited several days after April 1st to drop the bomb that they are remaking their 2016 animated classic Moana, a mere seven years after its release. For a while, there had been an unwritten rule that they would wait at least ten years to remake their classics so people had enough time to enjoy the originals and grow up with them. It seems that rule has now been abolished. If seeing such a familiar title appear on the big screen again isn't enough of a déja vu, it was simultaneously announced that the original Maui, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and Moana, Auli'i Cravalho, are returning to work on the project. As of this point, they have only been credited as producers, but I would not be surprised to see them in the movie.

Moana joins the ranks of The Little Mermaid and Snow White as the third yet-to-released live-action Disney Princess remake currently in production. I've been pretty transparent with my thoughts on modern Disney, and this movie does nothing to ease that tension. Not only is it yet another live-action remake to add to to the list, but it's one that hasn't even had a chance to breathe on its own. Whereas most audiences for these films are adults who remember the originals from their childhood, many of the people who see the Moana remake will be teenagers who were children when the original came out. It goes without saying that this is a horrible idea. I liked it better when Auli'i played Ariel in The Little Mermaid Live! because that was a fun reminder that both movies exist without trying to replace either of them.

The announcement was made mere hours ago in a video presented by The Rock himself. It looked like it could have been an elaborate April Fool's Prank if today were actually April Fool's Day. The video contains beautiful imagery of Hawai'i as Dwayne Johnson talks about how excited he is for the upcoming remake. He gets personal in it and starts talking about his family and how his late grandfather was used as a reference for Maui's character and sings some songs from the movie with his daughters. His passion toward the project insinuates that he may have played a role in convincing Disney to make the film, and I'm sure the prospect of more money didn't make it a very hard sell.

The lack of originality in the entertainment industry is contagious right now as Broadway has just announced the full cast of Once Upon a One More Time, the Britney Spears jukebox musical about princesses discovering feminism for the first time. Alongside familiar names like Snow White, Cinderella, Little Mermaid, and Rapunzel are oddly characteristic prince names including Prince Erudite, Prince Brawny, Prince Ebullient, Prince Mischievous, and Prince Affable. Are this princes or dwarfs? While this may seem like an original idea for a princess show, the fact that it doesn't have any original songs is what makes me cringe when I read about it. I don't think princess stories work well as jukebox musicals. Even Disenchanted The Musical was more creative than this show because it had its own original soundtrack.

Today is turning out to be one big groan fest. Between the live-action Moana announcement and the reminder that Broadway is doing a jukebox princess musical, I think I need to escape into a fairy tale world for a while. Does anyone have an opening at their castle? Maybe I'm just being too cynical. What are some of your thoughts on these announcements?


Sugar said…
I think it's all based on the fact that we are in such a diverse society that Disney is having trouble finding something that everyone likes and generates huge sales: we have the traditional princess lovers, those who want the hyper feminist version, those who want the old school disney and those who want to see more sexual, racial diversity, etc.
I'm afraid that anything new is a safe bet because there will always be a group of people who won't see it or won't be interested. "Encanto" I haven't seen it yet...maybe when I have time and Luca doesn't interest me, neither turning red.
The remakes are safe, they appeal to people's nostalgia, people are less critical as is the case with old series "oh yes there is little diversity and some machismo but it's old who cares and we love it"
Lisa Dawn said…
But doesn't that mean that no matter what they do, there will be an audience for it somewhere? I didn't enjoy Encanto very much and don't understand why it was so popular. I'm cautiously optimistic about Wish though because I think the concept of a magic wishing star feels more like a classic fairy tale.
Mellie said…
I absolutely loved Moana. It's one of my favorite movies, but this news of another live action remake (and I don't think the movie is even a decade old yet) just feels anticlimactic. If Disney wants to revisit the world of Moana again, why not make a sequel about the places Moana and her family find while on a voyage?
Lisa Dawn said…
Hi Mellie,

That would certainly be preferable! The good news is that they just announced that they're still working on the Moana series for Disney+that most people thought was cancelled so we may still get something where we see her voyages after all!
Mellie said…
Lisa, that is very heartening to hear that the Disney Plus series is still on. I am probably looking forward to it than a live action remake. :)
Lisa Dawn said…
I think most fans feel the same. :)
Lady Culturina said…
It's likely an ego trip from Dwayne Johnson, who want to be loved, and will likely play Maui in the remake (he could not appear as himself in the sequel). That's why he's in a movie centered on Black Adam despite the latter is supposed to be a villain.

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