I have a confession to make: I haven’t seen Moana yet. According to my colleague Tasha Robinson, it’s really good, and what I’ve heard so far of the soundtrack sounds great, but I just haven’t had the spare time to get to a theater (okay, that’s also not entirely true, but it was super cold last weekend and I didn’t want to go outside).
But fortunately for busy (read: lazy) people like me, Disney has seen fit to upload almost every single major musical number from Moana to YouTube. Starting with Dwanye “The Rock” Johnson’s incredibly catchy “You’re Welcome,” which was uploaded a mere five days after Moana’s general release, Disney has gradually released the full scenes to songs like Auli'i Cravalho’s incredible “How Far I'll Go,” Lin-Manuel Miranda and Opetaia Foa'i’s “We Know the Way,” and Jemaine Clement’s trippy Bowie-homage “Shiny” — which was just posted yesterday. I’m hoping we get the exposition filled “Where You Are” next week.
The strategy is reminiscent of the marketing for Disney’s 2013 hit Frozen, which had its showstopper “Let It Go” made fully available on YouTube about a week and a half after the movie was released in theaters, and whose viral fame (the video has been viewed over half a billion times) likely contributed to the massive success of the animated film.
I should still definitely go see Moana in theaters at some point, since absorbing the movie through drips and drabs of footage is probably not the best way to experience it. But for now, getting to see how the big musical numbers come to life works pretty well as the next best thing.