Aloha
Theatrical release poster
Directed byCameron Crowe
Written byCameron Crowe
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyEric Gautier
Edited byJoe Hutshing
Music byJónsi & Alex
Production
companies
Distributed by
Release dates
  • May 27, 2015 (2015-05-27) (Hollywood)
  • May 29, 2015 (2015-05-29) (United States)
Running time
105 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$37–52 million[3][4]
Box office$26.3 million[4]

Aloha is a 2015 American romantic comedy film written, co-produced and directed by Cameron Crowe. The film stars Bradley Cooper as former US Air Force officer Brian Gilcrest, who returns to Hawaii after being rehired by a former boss to oversee the launch of a privatized weapons satellite in the skies over Hawaii. Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray, John Krasinski, Danny McBride, and Alec Baldwin star in supporting roles.

Released on May 29, 2015, the film was critically panned and was also a box office bomb, grossing $26.3 million worldwide against a budget of $37 million.[5]

Plot

Military contractor Brian Gilcrest returns to Hawaii accompanying billionaire entrepreneur Carson Welch, who intends to develop local land into a space center. Following a celebrated military career that ended in shadowy deals in Afghanistan, the now-disillusioned Gilcrest has to negotiate a deal with the Native Hawaiians and support Carson's launch of a privately funded satellite. His mission is complicated by his former girlfriend Tracy, now married with two children, and his idealistic Air Force liaison, Captain Allison Ng, whose wide-eyed fascination with space reminds him of his own childhood.

Gilcrest and Ng meet King Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele at his isolated community, asking for him to participate in a blessing ceremony that will allow Welch to build his center. Having unsuccessfully attempted to probe Gilcrest's background, Ng, who is of partial Hawaiian background, connects with the king and his companions, as she shares their spiritual view of the land and sky. Eventually, with her assistance, Gilcrest brokers a settlement with the king allowing for control over the territory of two whole mountains and free cell phone service for the area. The following night, Gilcrest and Ng have dinner at Tracy's house, where they meet her husband Woody and children, Grace and Mitchell. Later, alone in the kitchen, Tracy confesses to Gilcrest she planned a life with him before he abandoned her thirteen years earlier.

The next evening, at Carson's Christmas party, the commander of Pacific Air Forces, General Dixon, warns Gilcrest against ruining their deal. One of his men hands Gilcrest a thumb drive containing top secret information for the upcoming satellite launch. During the party, Gilcrest becomes attracted to Ng, who is having fun dancing with Carson. Afterwards, Ng joins Gilcrest in his hotel room while he recounts his near-death experiences in Kabul. The next day, Ng discovers that the satellite will actually carry a nuclear payload. When she tries to resign, she is told that it is a private operation run by Carson and that Gilcrest is aware of the details. She later tearfully confronts Gilcrest for deceiving her and the Hawaiians.

Meanwhile, Woody and Tracy confront each other about recent marital tensions, which he believes started as soon as Gilcrest arrived, and both agree to separate. The next morning, she arrives at the hotel and reveals that Grace is his daughter. Later that day, after the successful blessing of the new pedestrian gate, Gilcrest learns that the Chinese are attempting to hack the satellite's code to prevent the impending launch. He rushes to the command center and undermines the hackers' efforts. As he watches the satellite enter geosynchronous orbit, he realizes his actions have impacted Ng, whom he has come to love. Quickly, he orders a massive sonic upload to be sent to space, and both watch the satellite explode. Believing her continued association with him will ruin her promising career, he insists that they should end their romantic relationship.

Carson, displeased that his satellite has been destroyed, confronts Gilcrest, who reminds him that the sky is meant to be shared by all, and Dixon, also incensed by Gilcrest's actions, threatens to prosecute him. When Gilcrest returns to Tracy's, she reads him a moving love letter from Woody. He tells her she belongs with her husband, and she encourages him to pursue Ng. Arriving home, Woody notices Gilcrest, tells him he knows he is Grace's father, and asks him if he slept with Tracy while he was away, to which he responds that he slept with Ng. As Tracy is cleaning up the living room, she notices Woody and they happily embrace each other, with Grace and Mitchell joining them.

Dixon soon realizes Gilcrest was being truthful about the satellite carrying a nuclear weapons payload, praises his actions, and reveals that authorities have arrested Carson and will soon be taking him into custody. Outside the hotel, Gilcrest finds Ng, who is preparing to leave, professes his love to her, and promises to await her return to Hawaii. Later that night, Gilcrest watches Grace dance during her hula class. She notices him nodding at her, suddenly realizing that he is her father. With tears of joy in her eyes, she runs outside and embraces him before returning to her class.

Cast

Production

Emma Stone was first to be cast in the film in 2012.[6]

On July 31, 2013, Alec Baldwin joined the cast of the film.[7] There was a casting call for extras on August 29 on Oahu.[8] Cooper went to Hawaii on September 14, twelve days before filming began.[9][10]

On October 7, it was announced that principal photography was still underway in Hawaii.[11] Stone received ground training on how to fly the Piper PA44-180 Seminole airplane from Rob Moore, Chief Instructor Pilot of Galvin Flight Services Hawaii, who later flew the airplane near Ka'a'awa Valley for the inflight shots. Moore acted as the aviation technical advisor. Cooper was filming in downtown Honolulu on December 18 and 19. On February 2, 2015, Sony Pictures stated that the film's final title would be Aloha;[12] the previous working titles were Deep Tiki and Volcano Romance.[13]

Music

The musical score for Aloha was composed by Jónsi & Alex,[14] following Jónsi's collaboration with Crowe on We Bought a Zoo (2011). Originally, Mark Mothersbaugh said in May 2014 that he was going to score the film.[15] A soundtrack album was released on May 26, 2015 by Madison Gate Records and Sony Legacy, which included tracks by Vancouver Sleep Clinic, Fleetwood Mac, David Crosby, Jonsi & Alex, Beck and Josh Ritter.[16]

Release

On February 14, 2014, it was announced that the film was scheduled for release on December 25, 2014.[17] On July 21, the release date was changed to May 29, 2015.[18]

The film's first trailer was released on February 11, 2015.[19]

Box office

Aloha grossed $21.1 million in North America and $5.2 million in other territories for a total gross of $26.3 million, against a $37 million budget.[4]

In North America, Aloha opened simultaneously with the disaster film San Andreas. It formed $500,000 from Thursday night showings at 2,275 theaters[20] and an estimated $3.5 million on its opening day from 2,815 theaters.[21] In its opening weekend, the film grossed $9.7 million, finishing 6th at the box office.[22] The film earned $1.65 million in its opening weekend overseas from 7 countries. Australia and New Zealand had an opening weekend combined of $1.5 million[23] and Brazil opened with $240,000.[24] The film went directly to video on demand in the UK[25] and France.[26]

Pamela McClintock at The Hollywood Reporter estimated that the financial losses by the film finished to around $65 million by the time the film ended its global theatrical run, based on a budget of "$37 million-plus".[27]

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 20% based on reviews from 166 critics, with an average rating of 4.30/10. The critics' consensus reads: "Meandering and insubstantial, Aloha finds writer-director Cameron Crowe at his most sentimental and least compelling."[28] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 40 out of 100 based on 36 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[29] CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend, surveyed audiences gave Aloha an average grade of "B−" on an A+ to F scale.[30]

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone wrote: "It gives me no pleasure to report that Aloha is still a mess, a handful of stories struggling for a unifying tone."[31] Andrew Barker of Variety called it Crowe's worst film, saying it was "unbalanced, unwieldy, and at times nearly unintelligible".[32]

Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times recommended the film despite its flaws, "There ARE times when Aloha doesn't work — and yet I'm recommending it for its sometimes loony sense of wonder, its trippy spirituality, its brilliant cast and because I seem to be a sap for even the Cameron Crowe movies almost nobody else likes."[33]

Accolades

The film was nominated for three Teen Choice Awards: Bradley Cooper for Choice Movie Actor: Comedy; Emma Stone for Choice Movie Actress: Comedy; and the film itself in the category of Choice Movie: Comedy.[34]

Whitewashing controversy

The Media Action Network for Asian Americans accused the director and studio of whitewashing the cast, and Crowe apologized about Emma Stone being cast as a character who is stated to be of one quarter Chinese and one quarter Hawaiian descent.[35][36][37]

In June 2015, Crowe responded to the backlash: "I have heard your words and your disappointment, and I offer you a heart-felt apology to all who felt this was an odd or misguided casting choice. As far back as 2007, Captain Allison Ng was written to be a super-proud one quarter Hawaiian who was frustrated that, by all outward appearances, she looked nothing like one. A half-Chinese father was meant to show the surprising mix of cultures often prevalent in Hawaii. Extremely proud of her unlikely heritage, she feels personally compelled to over-explain every chance she gets. The character was based on a real-life, red-headed local who did just that."[38][39]

Sony Pictures defended the film's portrayal of Hawaiian culture stating, "While some have been quick to judge a movie they haven't seen and a script they haven't read, the film "Aloha" respectfully showcases the spirit and culture of the Hawaiian people."[40]

Stone later said she regretted letting herself be inaccurately ethnically cast, and acknowledged whitewashing as a widespread problem in Hollywood. Nevertheless, she echoed Crowe's defense of her casting: "The character was not supposed to look like her background which was a quarter Hawaiian and a quarter Chinese."[41][42][43]

During the opening monologue for the 2019 Golden Globe Awards, co-host Sandra Oh alluded to the issue of whitewashing in Hollywood by joking that Crazy Rich Asians (2018) was "the first studio film with an Asian-American lead since Ghost in the Shell and Aloha." This prompted Stone, who was in attendance, to shout "I'm sorry!" in reaction.[44]

References

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  2. ^ "ALOHA (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. May 27, 2015. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  3. ^ FilmL.A. (June 15, 2016). "2015 Feature Film Study". p. 23. Archived from the original on July 4, 2016. Retrieved June 16, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "Aloha (2015)". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  5. ^ "Aloha". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
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  16. ^ "Sony Pictures And Madison Gate Records/Legacy Recordings Say Deep Tiki With Extraordinary Soundtrack To Much Anticipated New Film Available May 26". KCEN-TV. April 21, 2015. Archived from the original on July 15, 2015. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
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