Manuel here. During last night’s joyous Tony Awards, many of us got the first look at a Disney film that is sure to crash what’s looking like an already crowded Best Animated Feature race. Between Kung Fu Panda 3, Zootopia, Finding Dory, and the upcoming Sausage Party, Trolls and The Secret Life of Pets, there’ll be no shortage of films to round out a competitive category. And that’s even before we begin taking seriously the foreign productions which often leapfrog over the American CGI spectacles to worthwhile nominations (fingers crossed for Kubo and the Two Strings and The Red Turtle). Enter Moana:
As is become custom with female-driven Disney properties, the marketing team at the Mouse House is looking to play another bait and switch—remember how all those early Frozen teasers looked like Ice Age ripoffs by focusing on playful scenes of what we all assumed would be that annoying snow man? or those Tangled ones which put Flynn Ryder at the center of the action, barely making mention of the film's fairy tale leanings? This first teaser is all about Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson) while giving us very little sense of what the first ever Polynesian Disney princess story will be about.
We’ll wait for a full on Yes No Maybe So when the full trailer drops, but in the meantime, enjoy the teaser where you can see that Ron Clements and John Musker (they of Aladdin and The Little Mermaid fame) have stayed true to the Disney formula and given Moana a delightfully adorable pet.
Immediately, I'm already won over by the beautiful use of color—those sky blues and ocean hues look sumptuous to say the least. Also, I can't be the only one having Hercules flashbacks with that tattoo intro bit but anything that reminds me of those hilarious muses is fine by me.
But perhaps I'm burying the lede here: Moana may be the film that gets Lin-Manuel Miranda his EGOT. After winning two (more) Tonys last night for Hamilton, having won Grammys for both his Broadway shows, and an Emmy for the "Bigger!" Tonys opening number a few years back, Miranda may nab his first Oscar nomination (even a win?) for the music he's written for this Disney flick. It'd be a heck of a way to cap off a great year for the ever entertaining Broadway superstar and perhaps a way to further welcome him to Hollywood ahead of his next big film project, a little movie called Mary Poppins Returns.