Australian Council on Children and the Media

Moana

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Short takes

Not recommended under 7; parental guidance recommended 7 to 10 due to violence and scary scenes

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Moana
  • a review of Moana completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 15 December 2016.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 7 Not recommended due to violence and scary scenes.
Children aged 7 to 10 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes.
Children aged 10 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Moana
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Some scenes may scare young children
Length 113 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Moana (voiced by Auli’i Cravalho) is the daughter of the chief of a beautiful Polynesian island. Moana loves the water and wants to explore the ocean but her father (Temuera Morrison) tells her that she must stay on the island and become a great leader of their people.

However, when their island begins to die, Moana’s grandmother (Rachel House) reveals the secret of their ancestors and Moana sets out on a journey to find the demi-god Maui (Dwayne Johnson) and save her people.

Please note:
An accompanying short film called Inner Workings is shown with Moana. It is a silent Disney animation that shows the bodily functions of a man (Paul) as he goes about his day. It contains a small amount of toilet humour, references to Paul dying (showing his grave), a woman with a large bottom and Paul flirting with this woman.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Death; separation from a parent; natural disasters (the island begins to die); fantasy and mythical themes (i.ie, gods, monsters)

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • A running joke throughout the film is Maui pushing Moana off the boat.
  • Little coconut pirate monsters attack Maui and Moana with arrows, spears and poison darts.
  • Maui and Moana fight the lava monster. The lava monster attacks them with fire balls and Maui attacks the lava monster with his fish hook. But eventually they resolve their conflict peacefully.
  • Tamatoa, a giant hermit crab, tries to catch and eat Maui and Moana.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Because Maui stole the heart of the islands, the islands begin to die. They turn black and start to crumble.
  • The lava monster is likely to be scary for young children. It is a large monster made of lava and fire.
  • Maui is a mischievous demigod who has the power to transform into other creatures with his fish hook. In the opening sequence Maui may be scary to young children but we eventually learn that he is friendly.
  • A Polynesian man is shown getting a painful tattoo. Additionally, most of the men in the film have tattoos (as it is part of their culture). Maui gets a tattoo to commemorate every adventure he has. 
  • When Moana suggests that she should leave the island, her father gets angry and shouts at her.
  • A flashback scene shows the chief’s friend drowning.
  • There are a few scary scenes when Moana is sailing and almost drowns or is caught is a big thunder storm.
  • Moana’s grandmother dies. This scene may be emotional for some children. However, she is reincarnated as a ray fish and guides Moana in the ocean. Later Moana’s grandmother appears as a ghost to help Moana believe in herself.  
  • Maui makes a joke about human sacrifice.
  • Maui and Moana go to the realm of monsters and meet Tamatoa, a giant hermit crab. Tamatoa may be scary for young children.
  • Maui reveals that his human parents didn’t want him so they threw him into the ocean but the gods found and rescued him.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed or scared by some of the above-mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Some of the younger children in this age group may be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

Nothing of concern in the movie, but Moana is a Disney film and there is plenty of associated merchandise

Sexual references

A boy winks at Moana

Nudity and sexual activity

Nothing of concern

Use of substances

Nothing of concern

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • butt
  • dumb
  • “Son of a …”

In a nutshell

Moana is an inspiring animated adventure musical about a Polynesian girl learning to follow her dreams and stand up for herself. This film may inspire children to learn more about Polynesian myths and culture. Additionally, Moana is a good role model for girls to teach them leadership skills, and to be strong and independent. Moana is not suitable for children under the age of 7 and parental guidance is recommended for children up to 10 years old due to the violent and scary scenes.

The main messages from this movie are to follow your dreams and be true to yourself.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include bravery, perseverance and teamwork.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children the real life outcomes of running away. Also, parents may wish to discuss ways of dealing with grief after the death of a loved one (such as Moana’s grandmother).

Note that the accompanying short film, Inner Life, is shown with Moana (see synopsis above)

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