Earlier this year, Pixar put out the worst thing it’s ever made with Lava, the short that ran before Inside Out. If you haven’t seen the short (I’m jealous), it’s about a volcano (inspired by a real underwater volcano off the coast of the big island), who’s lonely and summons a super hot lady volcano to keep him company. Basically. While I’m sure there were some people out there who didn’t hate the short and its destructively earwormy, brain-combusting song, it’s generally been regarded as the worst thing Pixar’s done.
The hatred of Lava, though, has not dissuaded Disney (which owns Pixar) from their upcoming Hawaiin-set Moana. And it shouldn’t! The logic of “we tried a movie about a woman/person of color/whatever the case may be, and it bombed, so clearly people don’t want that thing” is dumb and should be retired forever. But it IS a hugely pervasive way of thinking for these studios. So props to Disney for not caring that we all have a horrible taste in our mouths leftover from that Lava ukelele, and are pushing ahead to create what will be their first Hawaiian Disney princess. This is Moana:
What’s very, VERY cool about Moana, “a young teen from 2,000 years ago who sets sail to fulfill her ancestors’ quest,” is that Disney cast an actual Hawaiian actress to play her. It would be great if that weren’t so unusual, but hey, that’s the Hollywood we live in. Although, Auli’i Cravalho is only 14, so being the newest Disney Princess seems like a crazy huge undertaking.
Thank you Disney for not casting Jennifer Lawrence as your Hawaiian princess, and please of please take some lessons from Pixar’s missteps, okay?