The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio have gotten underway (at the time of writing this) and Disney is using the international sports event to promote some of either its biggest upcoming releases or forthcoming tentpoles from its subsidiaries. For example, it's now been confirmed that the next trailer for Disney/Lucasfilm's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will premiere this week during the Olympic games. In addition, Walt Disney Animation Studio's next film, Moana, is getting a promotional boost from the ongoing festivities in Rio.
Featuring the voice talents of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and newcomer Auli'i Cravalho, Moana weaves a yarn about its namesake. Moana Waialiki (Cravalho) is the descendant of great Southern Pacific sailors, who sets out to fulfill their long-unfulfilled mission of exploring Oceania's many islands. Joining Moana for her voyage onscreen is the magical demigod Maui (Johnson), as well as a handful of quirky, but loyal, animal sidekicks - with directors Ron Clements and John Musker (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Princess and the Frog) guiding things from behind the scenes.
As was the case with the U.S. teaser trailer for Moana, it's Maui and his fanatical abilities (moving body tattoos, being able to transform into a bird) that receive the bulk of attention in the film's Olympics trailer (see above). It makes sense from a marketing standpoint to keep the spotlight on the character, seeing as he's voiced by "The Rock". After all, nowadays Dwayne Johnson is a lucrative "brand" in and of himself, whether voicing an animated character such as Maui, working on the next installment in the Fast & Furious franchise, or appearing in an original star-vehicle (Central Intelligence).
Nonetheless, Moana is the real protagonist and star of her own movie, much like Hiro Hamada was still the focus in Disney's animated Big Hero 6, even with a scene-stealing sidekick along for his own grand adventure (in lovable, huggable, health care robot Baymax). Moana comes off as a spirited and plucky spirit in the Olympics preview, with the trailer further suggesting that the dynamic between she and Maui ought to be an entertaining one that (in traditional Disney manner) blends humor and heart in equal portions.
The Moana Olympics trailer also features more music from one of the film's original songs co-written and performed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of the hit Broadway musical Hamilton. Miranda, who took over Disney Animation's Instagram account to perform Disney songs during the final hours leading up to the the premiere of Moana's Olympics preview, will also be costarring in Disney's upcoming live-action sequel Mary Poppins Returns in 2018. So, if you haven't been bitten by the Hamilton bug already, Moana's as good a place as any to start familiarizing yourself with Miranda and the award-winning singer/songwriter/actor's work.
Moana opens in U.S. theaters on November 23rd, 2016.
Source: Walt Disney Animation Studios
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