One telltale sign of just how massive Disney really is would be the sheer amount of promotions they can do for different things all at the same time. Take for instance Disney Consumer Products (DCP), the primary merchandising arm of the brand. While normally they focus on promoting the larger scale properties under the Disney umbrella, sometimes they come up with cute little side-projects such as the “As Told by Emoji” series of web videos. They can be found in YouTube, and consists of fanciful and humorous retellings of Disney stories with nice-looking emoji and graphics. From “Frozen” to “The Force Awakens”, they’ve touched base on some of the more recent productions of the studio.

And their latest release, the first video of the series’ third “season”, takes a spin on last year’s second animated feature “Moana”.

A feature film in four minutes

So while everything is on track for the imminent premiere of the new live-action “Beauty and the Beast” in cinemas, Disney has DCP carry one with their “As Told by Emoji” web series with a roughly four-minute retelling of “Moana”, which was shown during the Thanksgiving 2016 period. Like past “ATBE” videos, this retelling is in the format of various apps on a mobile phone display, with emoji heads of the main characters from the film interacting with the interface to tell the story. It starts with Moana herself (as a baby) with her grandma, and her collecting shells from Facebook Messenger-like speech balloons standing in for the sea, until she receives the Heart of Te Fiti.

From there it goes on a wacky ride with Moana sailing to restore the heart, finding Maui, and “way-finding” by having the phone environment pick up a GPS signal.

The craziest part would be the heroes taking on the fiery demon Te Ka (spoilers ahead), with the environment switching from Messenger to the “Pokémon Go” riff called “Tekamon Go”, ultimately ending with Moana using the Heart of Te Fiti to Pokémon Evolve Te Ka into the goddess Te Fiti.

If this is Disney’s way of getting attention from the contemporary youth crowd, it’s a real good one.

Approved by producers

It may be surprising to learn, but the “As Told by EmojiDisney web series commands some serious fan following, with over 125 million views for all videos together thus far. Even the original filmmakers, “Moana” directors Ron Clements and Joe Musker, see the quirky emoji version as a valid alternate reality version of their movie.

That’s a big seal of approval for sure. With sponsorships from Adobe, Best Western and Pop Secret, the “ATBE” series is sure to go big in the future. What other Disney films will they spoof next?

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