I just watched Moana - and it has been bothering me how the ocean is so useful sometimes and then it just ignores Moana when the Kakamora come up to steal the heart. Even Moana complains about it and Maui tells her to help herself instead.

Why did the ocean ignore such an important matter?

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    The sea is a cruel mistress. Yar. – user40790 Apr 24 '17 at 16:39
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    I'm concerned this could be too broad because there are plenty of other questions like this you can ask. "Why didn't the ocean just prevent the Kakamora from attacking Moana entirely?" "Why couldn't Moana just ride the ocean to Maui instead of needing a boat?" "Why didn't the ocean return the heart to Moana when she decided to continue the quest?" "Why couldn't the ocean simply replace the heart on it's own?" Essentially, this question and similar ones like it boil down to, "Why didn't the ocean help Moana more than it did?" And I can't think of any way to reliably answer it. – Ellesedil Apr 25 '17 at 0:00
  • Like most deities, the Ocean doesn't like to make things too easy for humans. I am pretty sure this is alluded to in the film. – Adamant Apr 25 '17 at 5:19

Maui discusses the apparent lack of helpfulness of the ocean in a scene that was deleted from the final cut of the film. In short he accuses it of being crazy and capricious; helpful one moment and downright unhelpful the next.

Note that the ocean seems to have intentionally kept Maui on his island for a thousand years, so he's probably a bit grumpy with it at this point.

Maui: Let me tell you something. If the ocean is so smart why didn't it just take the heart back to to Fiji itself? Why didn't it just bring me my hook huh? I'll tell you why. Because the ocean's straight up kooky dukes. But I'm sure it's not wrong about you. No. You're the chosen one...

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  • I would add that in the song at the beginning of the movie "where we are" the point is made that the ocean is capricious and mercurial "mischievous and misbehaves" is explicitly used. – Broklynite Jun 7 '17 at 0:43

The Ocean's role in Moana is an interesting one. Put simply, the Ocean does not help Moana in any way until she has attempted to sort out the problem first herself and failed. Maui even says:

The ocean doesn't help you. You help yourself.

A good example of this is when Maui tricks Moana and traps her in the cave, sailing away, away (you're welcome) in her boat. After Moana escapes and dives into the Ocean, it could have just dumped her onto the boat then and there, but it doesn't. Instead, it waits until Maui speeds away and Moana is given the choice of going after him or swimming back to the safety of land. Moana, arguably quite stupidly, tries to swim after Maui, who obviously gets away from her. It is only at this point, after Moana has tried to go after Maui and failed to reach him, that the Ocean helps her by zipping her along and depositing her on the boat.

The Kakamora incident was another large problem, but again, the Ocean would not intervene until Moana had attempted to sort things out herself. Fortunately, in this case, Moana and Maui successfully escaped with the heart (and chicken), so the Ocean's assistance wasn't necessary.

It's also worth noting that the Ocean isn't some super powerful entity that can do anything you can imagine. For example, it can't stop the massive waves during the storm from tipping Moana's boat because it has no control over them. It's quite likely that the Ocean simply isn't strong enough to overturn several massive rafts stacked high with living coconuts, even if it wanted to.

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  • I'm not sure your last paragraph is correct. For starters, if the Ocean had helped Moana during the storm, then that would actually be a counter example to the rest of your answer. Secondly, the Ocean is actually pretty powerful. Powerful enough to do the Moses thing towards the end of the film, which would entail quite a bit of energy considering how much pressure that water would be applying. – Ellesedil Apr 25 '17 at 16:00
  • Well I mean, one of the many hooks the Kakamora shot could've killed Moana in a single strike. – Voldemort Apr 30 '17 at 7:58
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    Moana's going the wrong way. When they ocean tips her, it sends her to the Lost Island. Now, admittedly it could have been friendlier about it, but that's our perception... – Valorum Jun 6 '17 at 19:17

Remember when Teka tried to touch the ocean and shriveled back? I think if the ocean had swooped up and tried to put the heart back on its own, it could have possibly hurt Te Fiti. I also think the ocean is selfish, it chose Moana the future chief, because once Moana knew the ocean is safe she would lead her people to voyaging again. Which is what the ocean wanted all along. Notice how Maui warned Moana that the ocean doesn’t help you. It only helped Moana when it was convenient, proving that Maui, who has been alive for years would know better then Moana when and how the ocean intervenes. And last the moral of the story, from a creators reasoning, the lesson can go as far as even though a man stole her heart it was another woman’s place to put it back and help Te Fiti heal and be the loving goddess she is.

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  • You have some nice reasoning here, I'm not sure how accurate it is mind you as I haven't seen the film, but it would be better if you could edit in some evidence for this? This can be quotes from the film, video clips etc. – TheLethalCarrot Nov 21 '18 at 16:25

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