Things you only notice about Moana as an adult

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As a parent of two young children, and a fully committed Disney-phile, I try to stay abreast on the latest Disney movies. And by stay abreast, I mean I will sit and watch them 300 times with my kids until I can not only memorize lines, but find plot holes, create conspiracy theories, and dream in full-color animation.

I’ll admit that when I saw the previews for Moana, I thought it was just a way for Disney to capitalize on their newest hibiscus-themed timeshare resort in Hawaii. I naively expected a watered-down remake of Lilo and Stitch, but what I got was a surprisingly heartwarming tale rooted in Polynesian culture. But while my kids giggled at the silly antics of a mentally unstable chicken, I noticed a few things that might only be caught through the jaded eyes of adulthood.

Be warned: spoilers abound.

Moana’s parents are total Millennials

Moana’s village might have been located on the deserted Polynesian island of Motunui without smartphones and hybrid cars, but her parents, Chief Tui and his wife Sina, were classic Millennial helicopter parents.

While Moana’s grandmother Tala regaled the children with stories of the island, Sina and Chief Tui weren’t interested in the old fashioned notions of “the village crazy lady.” And while it sounds like in Moana’s parents’ generation (back in the day), kids were allowed to roam free beyond the reef, Moana wasn’t allowed to venture very far. This is characteristic of helicopter parenting in which the parents’ own experiences and subsequent anxieties and fears of bad outcomes lead to being overprotective of their children.

If being helicopter parents who shun the old ways doesn’t convince you that Moana’s parents are Millennials, consider that they also probably have a pretty healthy obsession with coconut oil. I mean, they have dedicated their entire agricultural system to coconuts and using every part of the crop.

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