Aloha (2015) Review

director: Cameron Crowe

writer: Cameron Crowe

starring: Bradley Cooper, Rachel McAdams, Emma Stone and Bill Murray

genre: Drama | Romance

released: May 29, 2015 (U.S.), June 18, 2015 (Australia), August 6, 2015 (Germany)

Ever since "Jerry Maguire" and "Almost Famous" the regard most of us had for Cameron Crowe's work was unquestionable. Even after his remake of "Abre los Ojos" did we still continue to applaud his efforts of greatness. But then came the mediocre "Elizabethtown" and the corny "We Own a Zoo" and the filmmaker we once knew had ceased to be. With "Aloha" just being a new low in his steadily declining career in filmmaking.


Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper) was a superstar military contractor that is on his last chance at the big times. His new job is to go back to his familiar Hawaii locale to fulfill the launch of a joint military-private satellite launch. There he will find his ex-girlfriend that he has a lot of unfinished business with and a young air force captain that he will bond with and find a connection to the land of Hawaii in a mysterious and life changing way.


What could have easily been a fun, positive and deep character story, of a man too caught up with his own ego and finally coming to terms with what he truly wants in life. Turns out to be for some reason one of the oddest and worst films of the year.

Its silly plot of a joint venture between the U.S. government and a rich private contractor to put a satellite in the air, makes no sense at all and its connections to the main characters and repercussions are just frivolous. For one, how is it that the United States government would make a deal with a private contractor and not check what they are putting up in orbit. Is it a weapon? secret surveillance tech? and wouldn't the government be curious? And if there is a so called treaty against putting weapons in the Earth's orbit. As mentioned by Emma's Stone's character in the film. Wouldn't they need to check the cargo before it gets in orbit just to be sure?

Another little detail the film just passes by. Is how a private contractor got his hands on weapons to put in orbit, also what are his motivations to do so and how come the film never comes forth with the actual weapons he puts up in orbit n the first place? It might be because they never even thought that anyone would question these things, as they didn't really question it themselves during the production of the film.

Now, based off the two previous paragraphs, look at the poster for a moment and ask yourselves. Isn't that the kind of poster of a movie you are ready to go and see and feel something bright and possibly emotional? Because the poster leads you to one direction and the film sadly to another. Even though the material and talent are there within the film and ripe for the taking. However, the emphasis is put on the above plot mentioned and not the character story if extended and furthered maybe we could have been part of something interesting at the very least.

At the center of this lost tale is Bradley Cooper's character of Brian, who is getting to the point in his life that he needs to buck up and fly straight. A little difficult when he is involved in a love triangle that never comes into fruition (for no real reason) and also in an array of family drama from Rachel McAdams character's revelations. That are dealt in a simple minded manner. Which is unreal and probably a part of an utopic perspective of how people actually deal with these sort of issues nowadays, in the mind of the once great Cameron Crowe. 

We come next to Emma Stone's and her Air Force Captain character. Stone is not an actress you can easily dislike and her performances as a ditsy and very giddy young Air Force captain is entertaining and one of the few bright points of the film. Although, her character was a little too outright, with her tenacity at making promises she couldn't keep and also making conspiracy theory assumptions that no one but herself make in the film. Regarding the satellite usage in the sky. Something that was only done to make her seem like an honest and sympathetic character that is also a fighter.

Keeping with her character for a little more. There was a giant kerfuffle in the United States, the movie business and also in the Hawaiian community on her casting in the specific role. This comes from the fact that it is said in the film that she is 15% Hawaiian from a Chinese and Swedish parent. The problem there is that she looks nothing like a Hawaiian, nor a Chinese or a Swed for that matter (maybe a little). They could have easily avoided this issue by saying she was adopted or something along those lines. So every-time she spewed local Hawaiian knowledge and spirituality, it wouldn't feel condescending and no one one could have then attacked the film for being a white-wash. Instead, just blaming the film for simply going for the best bankable star. Which is understandable to a point in the cinema business and a continuing practice since its very beginning. However, when a big production such as the "the New World" can find the perfect person to play Pocahontas (that looks like the character and that also had indigenous roots from America), you can't say that there wasn't not one Hawaiian local that could have done the job. If not, they could have also made the effort to cast someone that looks like a mix of nationalities such as Olivia Munn, But then that would demand from the director, producers and casting people to actually do their job!


The actors aren't at fault for this film and they actually do a really good job with the low grade material at hand. Its Cameron Crowe who should take the whole blame and who undoubtedly has proved to be a lost cause with the three uninteresting films in a row. With the last one in particular being paper thin in its plot about the ethicacy of putting weapons in orbit and not focusing on the real stuff that make films matter. Which is the characters. A trademark characteristic he used to be known for.

Personal Rating:

1 Stars.jpg

review by Paul Katsaros

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