Moana is a fun story with beautiful animation and visuals. It’s another in the long line of Disney greats since Tangled. I recommend it a lot. Of course, there are references to Polynesian gods and demigods in the story, but that’s ok. Even C. S. Lewis referenced such things in his various fantasy books. They are a tool to know the One True God, so don’t sweat it.
“In his teaching the islands will put their hope.” Isaiah 42:4c
The Fall of the Wayfinders
We learn from Moana’s grandmother that long ago, Maui stole something very important: he stole the Heart of Te Fiti. This caused a terrible consequence, because Te Fiti’s Heart used to give life to the islands, but in its absence the islands began to slowly die. In addition, the ocean became violent and dangerous. The people living there were wayfinders that charted the pacific ocean finding islands and establishing villages on them. With the change caused by Maui’s misdeed, the ocean was too dangerous, and the Moana’s people stayed on their island, afraid to go back to their old way of wayfinding.
Maui’s act of stealing Te Fiti’s heart was like Adam’s original sin. By Adam’s sin, all humanity suffered loss. Even though we didn’t commit the original sin, the effects of it, known as “The Fall” have made the whole universe a hostile place. We suffer the consequences of The Fall every moment we are alive… and the consequence is inevitably death.
One very cool thing in the movie is the Ocean itself is actually a character. He has a will, a desire and the power to act on his will. The Ocean is who calls Moana to the task of restoring the Heart of Te Fiti, with Maui’s aide. He’s clearly wise and able to see into the future. Though because of Ocean’s nature, it’s tough for him to communicate directly with humans.
The Ocean loves humans. It is implied in the film that he misses the wayfinders’ boats flowing from island to island. He had companionship with them before Maui’s act, but since the people can no longer wayfind, there’s a separation between the Ocean and humanity. He longs for that to be restored, so he chose someone to fix it.
The Fall has caused a separation between God Our Father and humanity. He longs for that to be restored, so He chose someone to fix it.
She is a princess and she was chosen by the Ocean to bring order back to things. Moana has loved the ocean since she was a child, but she didn’t realize that it was the Ocean who she loved. She longed for companionship with him in the same way. Moana endures a passion to rescue Maui and return the Heart of Te Fiti. Battling a hellish monster, she overcomes, restores order and ultimately restores communion between the Ocean and her people.
Moana is our Christ figure in this story. It might be easy to think that the god-man Maui would be our Christ, and he’s got some shadows of Jesus in him, but not like Moana. Jesus was chosen by God to undo the consequence of Adam’s sin, and every sin that followed. Jesus had to undo the chaos that sucks away life, makes the world dangerous and prevents communion with God. On the cross is where Jesus accomplished all of these things (the chaos and danger are slowly being reversed as the Gospel spreads). And just as Moana returned to her people and showed them that she has succeeded, Jesus returned from the dead to show us that He is victorious. Communion with Moana’s people and the Ocean is restored, and thanks to Jesus, communion with God our Father has been restored forever.
Our relationship with God is restored!
- How is Maui’s stealing of the Heart of Te Fiti like Adam’s eating of the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? (Because all people suffered on account of it, not only Maui. And it caused destruction, chaos and separation.) Romans 5:12-21
- How is the Ocean in the movie like God our Father? (He loves people and wants to have companionship with us. He has been separated from us and wanted to restore that relationship. He chose the perfect person to solve the problem in the perfect way. Isaiah 42:1-9
- How is Moana like Jesus? (She was called to be the hero. At just the right time she came and took on the terrible challenge of restoring the Heart of Te Fiti, just as Jesus came at just the right time – while we were still sinners – and died on the cross. Moana’s work helped all people to be able to return to the Ocean. Jesus’ work helped all people to be able to return to the Father. Romans 5:6-8