Originally I thought that the fun animated sequence (starting at 1:43) when Maui is singing "You're Welcome" was just for our benefit. Then I noticed that right at the end of the song when Maui spins Moana into the cave Moana appears to look down at the rocks in her hands in surprise. You can see the look right at 2:40 in this clip.

That look made me wonder if Moana thought she really did have an armful of fruit that Maui gave her, and the animated sequence wasn't just for our benefit. This would be the only time I've seen Maui perform magic without his hook. Before the sequence starts you can see she is starting to get into it. But if she isn't seeing the animated sequence then why is she surprised about the rocks?

The only other explanation I can think of is she is mad at herself for enjoying Maui's song and didn't realize he was giving her rocks while she was mesmerized through song.


I think it's reasonable to assume that yes, Maui has magic without his hook.

Before analyzing the scene in the song, here's a few other examples of Maui displaying magic prior to regaining his hook:

He makes seeds from nowhere, in order to fatten up HeiHei.
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Runtime 0:42:15
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Runtime 0:54:30

Important to note here is that the seeds seem to simply appear in his hand in both cases. Supposing he has anywhere to hide them on his persons, we never see him reach for them. Instead, it seems to be one of his magical powers at play.

Secondly, we also see Mini Maui and his other tattoos animate, all throughout the film.

He also maintains immortality and durability (as seen in his fight against Tamatoa).

Finally, we see him "harness the breeze" during the song. You may consider it coincidence, which is why I add it last, here. But as he says he controls the breeze, he gestures, and a breeze blows through, clearly moving Moana's hair.

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Runtime 0:39:36

Together, I think this establish that Maui still has magical abilities without his hook. Let's look at the song now.

This part always stood out to me, the clear wonder on Moana's face as she looks at Maui's illusion:

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Runtime 0:40:30

She also appears to make eye contact with, or at least direct her vision at, the illusionary people, and at one point rides one of the trees into the air (notice here pose and the fall of her skirt, she couldn't be simply sitting on the ground and thinking she's moving).

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And, her line of sight when she first holds one of the illusionary fruit is actually higher than what it'd be if she were holding any of the single rocks. Notice how small they are individually (the size of her fist), and she's looking well above that.

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I think we have a pretty compelling argument here that, at least from Moana's perspective, she was seeing the illusion.

But, to round it off, we can use some of the dialogue from the movie to explain things.

Grandmother (narrating): A shape shifter who could change form. With the power of his magical fish hook.

Although she's only retelling the story, the legend seems to be that his shapeshifting powers come from the hook, not necessarily his other demigodly abilities.

Maui's song also seems to indicate the hook gives him additional powers, if the Mini Maui illustrations are to be believed. He lassoed the sun, and pulled islands from the sea.

Our only real contradiction comes from Maui's own mouth:

Moana: Can't you shift shape or something?
Maui: You see my hook? No magic hook. No magic powers.

But, that seems to be somewhat of an exaggeration, or a specific reference to his shapeshifting, but not all his abilities.

  • 3
    Great points. Perhaps a better example of control over the wind is when he blew the entrance to the realm of the monsters clean. – Erik Mar 31 '17 at 12:42
  • @Erik Yeah, good call on that.I'll make a not to grab a cap of that when I have time. – user31178 Apr 1 '17 at 3:52
  • 1
    Can you cross post this answer to movies and tv? movies.stackexchange.com/q/75145/48480 – Stevoisiak Jul 31 '17 at 1:37
  • Oops, forgot to add that other image, too. – user31178 Jul 31 '17 at 2:06

Like you said Maui has his strength and durability with or without the hook. He easily lifted moana's boat and moved that boulder without it, and took that savage beating from tamatoa. With his strength there's no reason Maui would be so helpless against tamatoa, but all through the fight he was only focused on getting his hook back, rather than fighting. I think Maui has all his powers hook or no hook. (In the actual Maui legends his hook is just a hook with no inherent powers. It just helps him fish because he's a terrible fisherman) I posit the hook is just a crutch. Or just helps him focus his magic. The way the hook glows, the hook does clearly react to him. But the glow also suggests he focuses power into the hook. Not the other way around.

Granny also says he's a "trickster" as well as a shapeshifter. We saw him shapeshift, but the only possible tricking is his song. A signature move of magical tricksters is illusion. Considering how all encompassing his illusions can be, its a wonder he relies so heavily on shapeshifting, but maybe theyre saving it for the sequel. (Prequel?)

  • 4
    Can you provide a source for the "actual Maui legends", or other claims you've made, to support your answer? – Edlothiad May 30 '17 at 6:46

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