Moana is Star Wars Retold

One of the inevitabilities of having a five year old is that I’ll eventually see every Disney movie, whether I plan to or not. We’re just now starting to take her to movies in the theatre, so we didn’t see Moana when it came out last fall.

But now that it’s on Netflix, we’ve watched it countless times. It’s entertaining, and a definite step up from the inane “based on the movie” shows on Netflix like Home or Angry Birds.

In any case, after several watchings of Moana, I realized that there were quite a few similarities with one of the best movies from my childhood, Star Wars: A New Hope.

Let’s look at some of them…

Moana is Luke Skywalker
Sure, much of the similarities are due to both being based upon Joseph Campbell’s Hero Journey, but I think it goes further than that. Moana has unusual powers (coming from the sea rather than the Force). She’s held back from going out into the world by her parents. She eventually leaves because of tragedy, learning much on the way. And, of course, she saves the day.

They each have a McGuffin that turns out to be very important, the Heart of Te Fiti and the Death Star plans.

Maui is Han Solo
Cocky and irreverent. Seems not to believe in anyone but himself. Leaves before the final battle to save his own skin, but comes back at the end to help Moana finish the job.

Gramma Tala is Obi Wan Kenobi
Believed by all but Moana to be crazy, but is the only one that truly understands what’s going on, or the powers being used. Comes back in a spectral form after her death to help inspire Moana and point her the right way.

Heihei (the rooster) is C3PO
Bumbles around, but inadvertently helpful at times.

Pua (the pig) is R2D2
Ok, I’m reaching here, but C3PO needs a sidekick, and Pua is the right stature.

Te Ka is Darth Vadar
The big bad. Darkly colored with terrifying powers. Even turns good in the end!

So, that’s it. What do you think? Did I miss anything?

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