Disney’s first Polynesian movie, Moana, has received widespread praise from some of the first Samoans to have seen it.
At Apollo Cinemas on Thursday night, Digicel staff members, their families and survivors at the Campus of Hope were among the first Samoans in Samoa to catch a glimpse of the movie.
Starring Seiuli Dwayne Johnson and Aulii Cravalho as the voices for Maui and Moana, the Disney movie received the thumps up from the audience.
Tupu Lefao said there was a very strong influence of the Polynesian culture in the movie.
“I think it covered pretty much the South Pacific from Samoa to New Zealand and to Fiji and Tonga so it was really good,” he said.
“The most important lesson is the culture that they showed in there and the characters that the movie had. There were some great lessons for the kids.”
Francine Fruean couldn’t agree more.
“It was excellent,” she said, “There was a Samoan song and the music throughout the movie was brilliant.
“It portrays a lot of good Polynesian culture, it highlights the different types of islands in the Pacific so well done to Disney.”
A young girl from the Samoa Victim Support Group said she enjoyed it a lot.
“I loved it because as a young person, Moana was able to save her whole village,” she said.
“It made me day dream a little bit because I was imagining myself as Moana she had so much courage and she didn’t think about herself but she thought of her parents, her family and her whole village.
“Maui on the other had he was very cute for a giant. He was big on the outside but he had a loving heart so I really love the movie and I don’t mind watching it over and over again.”
One viewer enjoyed it more than others. “Well my name is Moana Hickling,” she said. “I feel so special because I have the same name as the main character even though we have different last names but that’s okay.
“I think as a parent and an adult it was really inspiring for the children.
“It’s a great movie I love the grandmother and the generational thing that they got in there. It is really inspiring because if there is one thing in the Polynesian culture we respect is the generation, our grandparents and all that.”
She went on to say the movie reflects on courage and it’s a great inspiration for women.
“It encourages all women to be strong and not to be afraid of anything that comes in their way and they can do a lot more than people think they are, so in the movie people of the village told Moana not to go beyond the reefs but she had courage,” she said.
“[And] so I think women can break through and make a difference to their family, villages, churches and the community and we all have seen that now in Samoa and the entire island.”
Ms. Hickling emphasise that movie also brought an enormous lesson to the young people.
“This movie has brought to the young ones a lesson to believe in themselves and have faith in who they are and the talents that they have no matter what anyone says,” she said.
“Because there comes a time that they have to stand up for themselves and have courage and I think that’s what Moana showed in the movie.
“And I think with Maui as big as he was he was a gentle giant, humble and was as soft as anything but he was very strong and his heart was in the right place.
“So it’s a great movie and I am so glad I came to watch it.”
Moana is continuing at Apollo Cinemas. Last night screening included a special dress up party.