Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Aloha: DVD Review

Aloha: DVD Review

Rating: PG
Released by 20th Century Fox Home Ent

Hawai'i is a place for dreamers, so perhaps it's pertinent that Almost Famous director Cameron Crowe dreamed up this latest redemption flick and set it in the islands.

Assembling a multi-talented cast as well would appear to be the icing on the cake in this flick, which centres around Bradley Cooper's blue-eyed, lost at sea morally, defence contractor, Brian Gilcrest, who's brought to the islands to oversee negotiations of the blessing of a gateway for a new airfield.

However, when Brian heads back, he finds himself surrounded by his ex, Tracy (a woefully under-used and under-written McAdams) and under the charge of hotshot, star-in-ascendant Air Force pilot Alison Ng (a perky Emma Stone).
Thrown into that mix is billionaire private sector contractor Carson Welch (Bill Murray) whom Brian is now working for and who may have slightly-less-than-altruistic reasons for being on the island - will Brian find the redemption he needs?

With dialogue that seems like it's written more for the page than to be spoken, Cameron Crowe's latest is somewhat of a muddle. Mixing Hawai'ian mysticism in as Gilcrest negotiates with the islanders (a series of scenes which seem to be ripped from a tourism video in an attempt for Crowe to Show me the mana rather than fully develop them) and domestic twaddle, Crowe's badly misfired with the heart and soul of this piece.

The problem is that the characters almost feel like caricatures for the most part, espousing dialogue that feels unnatural and is a perception of how relationships should be - particularly for Ng and Gilcrest whose future is never anything but assured.

Equally, McBride's character, Fingers, is so called because he twitches his fingers repeatedly, a bolted on quirk to little else; Baldwin's General is essentially a frustrated drill-sergeant; Murray is a weird presence lurking on the sidelines, Krasinski is near-silent (something that works to the story's advantage it has to be admitted) and McAdams is merely a plot device to enable Cooper's Gilcrest to his final moment of clarity.

An ongoing "is he the father" story element is fudged, glossed over and resolution shoe-horned in so much that it has re-write and re-shoot written all over it; just one of the scripted moments that should have emotion in but don't manage to do so.

In amongst the spiritual leanings of Aloha and the great soundtrack, there's nothing iconic or long-lasting in Crowe's story, the likes of which he has penned before; it's meandering fluff of the highest order that has glaring tonal lurches and "do the right thing" written all over it but it never feels like a journey, merely a formulaic path to a screen-writer's perception of an emotional arc.

No Aloha indeed.


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