Aloha Review

So I watched Aloha…


I was looking forward to this movie with some anticipation. The quality of its cast excited me so I patiently waited for it to come to my side of the world. I waited…and waited…and waited some more and eventually I realised that it was never going to come. I looked up its box office performance and skimmed a few reviews, and I soon realised why it never came over.

Okay, basic plot: Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper) is a disillusioned, morally-bankrupt former military officer turned private contractor. In his childhood, he used to dream of working for NASA and going to space but after NASA’s struggle with financing, he left the military and become a private military contractor working for billionaire, Carson Welch (Bill Murray), who has ambitions of privatising space travel. Gilcrest travels to Hawaii to handle negotiations between local tribal leaders (who he has a personal relationship with) and the military over the construction of a new space command station on their land. Gilcrest is assigned a military escort/babysitter in the form of Captain Allison Ng (Emma Stone) – a spunky, highly-decorated but naive fighter pilot. As the pair handle the negotiations together, a bond begins to grow between the two, and Gilcrest begins to remember everything that was great about the life he left behind.


Remember when you were a child and your parents warned you not to eat too many sweets? Now, if you were anything like me, you never listened and ate as many as your mouth could hold. This, invariably, lead to a stomach ache and you finally realised the meaning of how “too much of a good thing can be bad”. That’s this film’s problem. A normal film would have one central main plot that formed the foundation of its story; and a few subplots to act as reinforcement. This film treats all its subplots as the main plot. These subplots are all worthy enough to form individual movies but throwing them all into one movie leads to a dilution of their quality. There’s far too much happening in this movie and, as a result, no one thing gets the attention or focus it truly requires and this leads to everything feeling hollow.

It feels like I was watching three movies at once that all had a vague link to each other. You’re never provided with enough insight into any one story for you to fully connect with it. This leads to each story’s resolutions and developments feeling rushed, forced and meaningless. The events of the film also feel like they don’t occur in a natural order. Characters are upset over events or reach closure before the events that could cause these emotions actually occur. It’s as if every character in this movie is clairvoyant because they all seem to know how to feel before they’re given reason to feel anything.  Director and screenwriter of this film, Cameron Crowe, does a horrible job creating a logical, continuous narrative. It feels like there are pieces of this movie missing while others are in the wrong place. This is all caused by there being too many stories in the film. He really should have done a better job trimming this film and deciding what to focus on and what to keep in the periphery.

Bradley Cooper;Emma Stone;Rachel McAdams
L-r, Emma Stone, Bradley Cooper and Rachel McAdams star in Columbia Pictures’ “Aloha.”

This movie’s saving grace is the quality of its cast. Everyone puts in a good performance – it isn’t Oscar worthy (or any award-worthy, really) but it is entertaining. Bradley Cooper and Rachel McAdams do especially great jobs holding this jagged, Picasso-like story together. The true star of this movie though is Emma Stone as the full of spunk and wide-eyed Captain Ng. The first few minutes of her performance are unbelievably annoying but she manages to cool her hyperactive, manic acting to a controlled panic. The portrayal of the respective characters in this film are done well but the writing of the characters is incredibly blasé. I mentioned clairvoyance earlier and I was starting to believe I had this power because of my ability to accurately predict how every character was going to behave or say. This film is far too cliché.

This film is set in Hawaii but you wouldn’t know that by watching it. Yes, the characters constantly refer to Hawaii but the film doesn’t do anything to showcase the beauty of the island. There aren’t glorious establishing shots or beautiful landscapes for you to enjoy. Director, Cameron Crowe definitely doesn’t do enough (or anything really) to highlight the beauty of the location he’s been given. Once again, it just feels like there was probably too much to do and he forgot to get to it.

Overall, Aloha isn’t a film with too much to offer. It has a great cast that do their best but, in the end, they’re let down by an unimaginative, scatter-brained script. I’d much rather go see the three films this film could have been than the one film it is. It isn’t worth watching 6/10

One thought on “Aloha Review

  1. Your commentary reminds me of something I just read: A story and B story. This is from the two Save The Cat books on screenwriting. I don’t know if you’ve heard of or read them, but you might want to give those a try given the nature of your blog. I read the second and found it interesting.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s