On April 3, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Disney announced that the next live-action remake from the studio will be Moana. Johnson is producing the film and will also reprise his role as the demi-god Maui.
First hitting theaters back in November 2016, Moana tells the story of…Moana, a young girl from the Pacific Islands who dreams of leaving her tiny village and exploring the seas. She eventually does so and meets up with demi-god Maui, played by Johnson. The two then head out on a journey to save the world from an ancient curse. It featured some extremely popular songs, including “You’re Welcome,” an earworm that I fear will get lodged back in my brain after writing this article. Now, like so many other animated Disney movies, Moana is being remade as a live-action film.
In a pre-recorded video played during Disney’s annual online shareholders’ meeting, former wrestler, current megastar Johnson appeared with his daughters on a beach. He explained how personal the 2016 animated feature and its story was to him, directly naming his late grandfather.
“I’m deeply humbled and overcome with gratitude to bring the beautiful story of Moana to the live-action big screen,” said Johnson. “This story is my culture, and this story is emblematic of our people’s grace and warrior strength. I wear this culture proudly on my skin and in my soul, and this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reunite with Maui, inspired by the mana and spirit of my late grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia, is one that runs very deep for me.”
Another Disney live-action remake announced
Of course, even if this is a personal story for Johnson and the others involved, which I don’t doubt, it doesn’t change that this is yet another Disney live-action remake in a series of recent remakes, including films like Aladdin, Dumbo, and Pinocchio. Most of these films have been pretty forgettable, failing to capture the creativity and artistic flourishes found in the original animated source material. But they make a lot of money, so the remake train will continue to go ahead at full speed until a few of these bomb too hard and Disney changes track.
As for Moana—the newest Disney animated film to be getting the remake treatment—Johnson and Disney Studios didn’t have much to share beyond the initial announcement video and the confirmation that The Rock will be playing Maui. Maybe, finally, his daughters will actually believe their dad was Maui. Wait, was that the entire reason he signed up to make this live-action remake in the first place? Hmmm…