I just came out from the Pixar Animation Studios in California, where I had the privilege of previewing Moana, the latest movie from Disney.
I feel the same than when I first saw Spirited Away, another great animation movie about which I wrote a post that brought me great feedback. We are talking about the same adventure and the most important: the conquest of ourselves.
Moana must break the spell that threatens to wipe out the island where she lives with her parents, whereas Chihiro must break the spell that has turned her parents into pigs.
In the movie of Miyazaki, to defeat the cunning Yubaba, Chihiro will be assisted by Haku, a young man able to transform into a dragon; while in the movie of Disney, to defeat the monster of lava, Moana will be assisted by Maui, a demigod able to transform into all kinds of animals.
The protagonists of both films (both girls) represent the driving force inherent in all of us to reconnect with our true nature. To accomplish this, we must undertake a long and arduos journey that cannot be procrastinated: the journey into ourselves.
Moana’s grandmother (ancestral wisdom) is who encourages her to set sail beyond the reef, into the unknown, against the opinion of her father (fear). For this journey through the ocean of mind, we will have the help of our own capacity for transformation (Maui), our innate “divinity” or spiritual strength.
Two are the main obstacles of this journey: our thoughts and our ego. In Moana, our thoughts appear like a band of cocos called Kakamoras who at first sight seem harmless, even cute, but in reality they are violent and dangerous pirates. Even more evident is the representation of our ego as the gigantic Tamatoa crab which lives in the depths of the sea, full of vanity (he’s a collector of bright objects) and arrogance (the entrance to his world is an island “stretched” upwards).
The twin sister of Yubaba, who represents the opposite, wisdom, appears when Chihiro gives back to her the talisman that Haku had stolen. And the lava monster becomes a life-giving goddess when Moana gives back to her the talisman that Maui had stolen.
The story has a happy ending. With the help of Maui, Moana gets past every danger, gets also over her doubts about her capacity (the dark night of the soul), and manages to reveal the original nature of the lava monster. When we transcend our thoughts and reduce our ego to a harmless being, we reconnect with the inexhaustible fountain of life and love that is born from our true nature.