6/28/16

Moana Revisited: Disney's Little Big Secret?

Presently, there are certain people who are frustrated and angry on the Internet. They're mostly Polynesians.  No, they're not angry with Donald Duck Trump, but with Donald Duck's maker, Disney.  They're angry about Dwayne.  The Rock. Well not with him personally but with his character (Maui) in the upcoming new Disney cartoon, Moana.

So what's their main beef?  Well, it's about Maui being depicted as a beefy, fat, obese Poly guy. Ok, demigod.  The Poly's are not pleased with using a stereotype as a model for Maui.  Maui is supposed to be a Polynesian god/demigod, handsome and well built like a Greek god, or like the Rock himself.

So what do I think?  Does it matter what I think?  Well it depends.  I think my angry Poly's may have a point, depending on whether Maui is perceived as fat and bulky or just big and all muscles plastered on a Poly frame.

But I have a theory of my own.  Here.

Maivia, model for Maui?
Dwayne Johnson was/is a pro wrestler, an Afro-Polynesian one.  He grew up in and around wrestling.  His father was a professional wrestler and his grandfather was one too.  Johnson however is slightly an atypical Poly wrestler in build.  He is a mutant image of the famous duo Afa and Sika (aka The Wild Samoans). But Johnson is also a near foil, physically, of another more famous Samoan wrestler.  Peter Fanene Maivia - his grandfather.

So my theory is that Disney used him, Maivia, as a model for Maui.  For someone who has etched in his mind the picture of Peter Maivia's image during his heyday, I can say that Maui is easily a clone.  While growing up in Lalomanu, The Rock's grandmother's village, we, the children, used to go to the family's house and would sneak a peek at a picture of Maivia pasted on one of the posts.  And the picture was one like this one (above) - big, buff, muscular guy with long curls.  Word got around that he used his long curls to entice his opponents then would go in for the fall.



Again, we who grew up in Lalomanu, after many years, still remember Maivia to be this hulk of a man.  And much later after he had his pe'a (tattoo), he became even more of an archetype and symbol.  Yes, very much like Maui.

Could Disney have done The Rock a favor and use his grandfather as a model for his Maui character?  That's very possible.  And if my theory has merit, then Maui, like Maivia, is not obese or flabby, he is big, buff and muscular.

Sorry my angry Poly friends!


Maui

Maivia

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