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Plot Details: This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Deep Tiki

Aloha (2015) on IMDb

Plot Overview

Some historical background flows by us in an opening pastiche: a gay (i.e. happy) parade, celebration of Hawaii's (49th) state­hood, various space launch disasters, fun in the sun, Orion in the sky. Former Air Force officer become contractor Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper) narrates the “river was a fire.” His life is all things in space: “I knew every­thing in the sky: constel­lations, space junk … it enlightened me.” He's been into space since a kid.

Then came the 2008 crash of the industry. He's only now starting a come­back, arriving at USAF Hickman Field, Hawaii. His liaison is up-and-coming Captain Allison Ng (Emma Stone) whom he tells they'll “start with the blessing and we'll move on from there.” She settles him into the Royal Aloha where he over­hears her refer to him as “a sad city coyote.” He'll be “super­vising a gate blessing.”

To accommodate Global One who needs a launch base, they're “combining bases and moving the pedestrian gate.” As this involves the blessing of ancestral bones sited there, he's needed to broker the deal with his old buddy, President of The Hawaiian Nation, Dennis “Bumpy” Kanahale who's quick to remind us, “Sons of missionaries stole our country in 1893.” It is now “under military occupation.” He's descended directly from the reigning queen at that time, representing the National State of Hawaii, Free & Sovereign. At least he has some negotiating power. Ng who is a quarter Hawaiian can help smooth the negotiations.

In the course of his stay on this “crazy little Mayberry base,” Brian gets invited to dinner by his former girlfriend Tracy (Rachel McAdams) of 13 years ago (“I really loved you”) with whom there seems to be some ambivalence (“I'm totally girl­friending you right now.”) There's also a question of the parentage of her 12-year-old daughter Grace (Danielle Rose Russell.) Her current marriage to AF pilot John “Woody” Woodside (John Krasinski) seems to be on the rocks, or headed that way.

When Brian is given Top Secret data for Brave Angel involving an “additional pay­load,” we better get ready to see what Global One mogul Carson Welch (Bill Murray) meant when he said, “The future is a brutal force with a great sense of humor.” Orion holds a sword. What does that pay­load hold?


“Aloha” portrays advances in long distance communication. We've got Brian howling out the window like a coyote and eliciting a like canine response in the distance. A flash­back to Afghanistan shows a bearded man in the back­ground swinging a bull­roarer, an ancient instrument for long distance communication. “Bumpy” bargains for cell phone coverage as they only have half a bar in their territory. And there are rumors of Global One using its satellite to bring Twitter to teen­agers in some South American third world countries.

I was reading that when the Amish tried adopting the telephone, they were put off by the increased occasion to gossip. The main reason they stopped using it, how­ever, was that it couldn't substitute for home visits, it couldn't trans­mit facial expression, body language and dress code. There's an awful lot of “Aloha” dedicated to communication involving just those dimensions. We get closeups of faces, like when Brian and Tracy spot each other (“The old ex-girl­friend. Pause for the memories.”) Eventually her husband gets mad and decapitates Santa Claus. That's facial expression for you. Moving on to body language, a lot of camera time is devoted to Ng's (sexy) dancing. More is devoted to Grace dancing traditional (“She's gotta wicked hula.”) And Brian and Woody use body language to such an extent we're given sub­titles. Dress code is a whole nother story. Brian gifts Ng with a strapping straw hat that covers her whole head, having shades embedded in its top above eye level. It mimics her jet fighter helmet with its visor pushed up. Word inflections aren't ignored either, with Brian coaching Ng on how to talk sexy.

The time gets eaten up looking at means of communication, so that when in the last twenty minutes of the film, we get to the launch, we're looking at communication subtleties; that's what we were prepared for. From my back­ground in electronics, I think of plugs and jacks that we call "male" or "female" depending on their shapes. When a long tube of a satellite extension is fitted into another long tube of a satellite container, I see a mating of two male components. After the launch I'm looking at this same-sex marriage in space. When we find out what that additional pay­load is (“He wanted to arm America with his own nuke”), we're reminded of the treaty mentioned to keep weapons out of space. If we're dealing with an allegory here, it should also remind us that by universal consensus same-sex marriage had been verboten every­where (until recently.) Ng explains to Brian, complete with visual aid, that once one nuke is up in space, every­body is going to want off-planet arms, and we'll be surrounded by a cloud of them. Oh yes, once one state allowed same-sex marriage, that "equality" spread every­where, “treaty” be damned.

Backing up a bit let's look at human marriage. I'll quote Dr. Ide: “The Contemporary Christian stan­dard was defined not by the bible but gen­er­ated by Roman law as defined by the jurist Modes­tinus who argued that marriage was ‘consortium omnis vitae, divini et humani iuris communi­catio: a life-long part­ner­ship, and a sharing of civil and religious rights’” (83–5). It's not just what the state, the civil authority decides, but religious authority has some play in the matter, too, just as the native Hawaiian religion in this movie was opposed to a weaponized sky. It was Carson a civilian who felt he wasn't bound by the treaty. It was the state of Massachusetts, historical enclave of the Puritans, that started the ball rolling allowing same-sex marriage. According to cultural historian David Hackett Fischer, the Puritans had “a cultural idea of marriage that was unique to the Puritan colonies. … The Puritans of New England rejected all the Anglican ideas. They believed that marriage was not a religious but a civil contract” (77).

Communications by satellite can have the same snafus as does communication down below (see 1Cor. 14:7-9). “Aloha” ends with a song of a man singing about his tootsy-wootsy “In the Good Old Summer­time,” reminding me of the man in the song “South Coast” who spent a “gay summer” with his “gay wife of mine,” fulfilling the injunction of (Eccl. 9:9) to “Live joy­fully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of thy life.” Aloha to Beulah, with gay marriage à la Isaiah 62:4-5.

Production Values

This film “” (2015) was directed by Cameron Crowe who also wrote its screenplay. It stars Bradley Cooper, Rachel McAdams, and Emma Stone, three out­standing actors supplemented by a terrific and ardent supporting cast. MPAA rated it PG–13 for some language including suggestive comments. It was filmed in Honolulu, O'ahu, Hawaii, a beautiful location. The musical back­ground was island mellow. The script seems disjointed and jumpy—until it's about time to wind it up—and tries very hard to be cute and witty with matching rejoinders, but that's okay as long as it compels us to look for a matching witty allegory in the story.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

This movie was pleasant to view but one has to stay on his toes for its 1¾ hr. duration so as not to misplace the pieces. It's hard to go wrong with an islands movie. This one isn't so cutesy as to become artsy, but it comes close. A feast for the eyes and ears, with a modicum of adventure and some romance thrown in.

Movie Ratings

Action Factor: Weak action scenes. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Good Date Movie. Suspense: Some suspenseful moments at the end. Overall product rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture taken from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Fischer, David Hackett. Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America.
  New York: Oxford UP, 1989. Print, WEB.

Ide, Arthur Frederick. Noah & the Ark: The Influence of Sex, Homo­phobia and Hetero­sexism in the Flood Story and its Writing.
  Las Colinas: Monument Press, 1992. Print.

“South Coast.” Version sung by Horse Sense as heard on the radio.