Disney's Moana didn't become the global phenomenon that Frozen is or make $1 billion around the world like Zootopia, but the movie is an absolutely beautiful piece of animation, and last night a lot of people may have been reminded of that, or introduced to it for the first time, when Moana aired as part of the revival of The Wonderful World of Disney on ABC.
As has become normal with a lot of retrospective looks at previously released films, the cast and crew of Moana was watching along with the audience on social media and tweeting out their thoughts as they looked back on the production. Some of the comments are funny, some are heartwarming, and some have Lin-Manuel Miranda wearing plastic Incredible Hulk hands.
Jared Bush, who wrote the screenplay for both Moana and Zootopia, and was a co-director on the latter film, somehow has this odd picture of Lin-Manuel Miranda that even he apparently doesn't fully comprehend. It's a great image, though. Miranda did not reply so it doesn't look like the songwriter had any better explanation.
The potentially more interesting piece of the tweet, however, may be Jared Bush saying that he and Lin-Manuel Miranda need to get back in a room and work on something together. There have been occasional rumors that Miranda actually is working on something new with Walt Disney Animation Studios, but there's a lot about the studios' upcoming projects that we don't know.
Jared Bush also took to twitter to praise Moana lead Auli'i Cravalho and the energy she brought to the set. It's an energy she still seems to have.
Moana isn't just a great movie but it's potentially one of the great works in Disney animation history. It's a beautiful looking film and and a compelling story. The music is incredible from start to finish. There are parts of the movie that still give me goosebumps when I hear them, and as it turns out, the moments that get to me did the same thing to the people making the movie.
Of course, the best parts of these social media "watch parties" is learning new things about our favorite movies that we didn't know before. Perhaps the most interesting thing to come out of Moana's Wonderful World of Disney broadcast was the fact that the climax of the movie, making it a musical moment, was a last minute idea of Lin-Manuel Miranda, and he had to scramble to make it work in a limited amount of time.
Of course, no look at Moana can be complete without hearing from Maui. When Lin-Manuel Miranda was first brought on board to work on Moana, the musical Hamilton didn't exist, but by the time it came to recording voice acting and music, Miranda was a bit busier, leading to him having to work on his day of to record The Rock's big musical number.
Moana is just the first movie in this new run for The Wonderful World of Disney. The next three weeks will also include Thor: The Dark World, Up, and Big Hero 6.