30

In his song "You're Welcome", Maui sings this line:

'Cause, I'm gonna need that boat,
I'm sailing away, away,
You're welcome [You're welcome],
'Cause Maui can do everything but float.

We see just a brief time later, Maui jump into the ocean to try to swim away from Moana...

What does the line in the song mean in the context that Maui sings it? Being a demigod of "the wind and sea" why is he unable to float?

  • 6
    to buff to float. – Himarm Mar 29 '17 at 17:38
  • 3
    He doesn't possess positive buoyancy. – Jack B Nimble Mar 29 '17 at 17:40
  • 6
    Because the sea hates him – Valorum Mar 29 '17 at 17:42
  • 65
    Because he sinks ... like a Rock. Badoom-tish – Valorum Mar 29 '17 at 17:46
  • 6
    And float rhymes with boat. – Verdan Mar 29 '17 at 18:17
47

For the record, Maui is perfectly capable of swimming in human form (and seems both reasonably buoyant and pretty confident of his chances of swimming at least a mile) but it seems unlikely that even a demi-god could swim the hundreds of miles required to get to the next nearest island. He may simply have been using hyperbole. With his vast muscle-mass, he most certainly can't float as well as a boat.

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Interestingly we see (in the concept art below) that he's probably tried hundreds of schemes to escape his island, sytmied by an unforgiving sea and the sheer remoteness of his solitude.

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From a storytelling perspective, a demi-god without an Achilles heel is just plain boring. He needs to have a weakness in order for there to be genuine risk. Maui's failing is that he can drown and doesn't have the kind of inexhaustible energy needed to swim hundreds of miles.

  • 7
    Umm, Maui's Achilles heel is that most of his incredible power is reliant on his hook. Assuming he had the endurance necessary to swim hundreds of miles, he wouldn't be able to swim Te Fiti to death. His hook being damaged/destroyed is what creates the genuine risk of failure. The being unable to swim large distances and being stuck on an island part simply enables Moana to locate him (relatively) easily. – Ellesedil Mar 30 '17 at 6:09
  • 2
    I suspect the scriptwriters would say that his Achilles heel is his arrogance and egotism, which repeatedly leads him to bite off more than he can chew. (This is pretty much stock characterization for trickster demigods.) – zwol Mar 30 '17 at 15:19
  • 1
    @Ellesedil - I was referring to his physical weaknesses, not his psychological shortcomings. Achilles' downfall may have been due to his overconfidence, but his death was due to his heel. – Valorum Mar 30 '17 at 16:31
  • 2
    @Ellesedil To use his own words he's "just and ordinary demi-guy." You're right that Maui gets a lot of his power from his hook, but his inability to swim away from his island "jail" is the only physical weakness we see him have in the movie. During the fight with Tamatoa we see him take enormous physical abuse without even a scratch. Given his seemingly impervious skin/body, and massive strength this line is the only physical limit Maui has, unless he's being compared to a god(dess). – Erik Mar 30 '17 at 20:07

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