I know, I know! It’s been an age since I’ve written anything for this blog. I have a ton of entries on backlog of movies I’ve seen, but never quite finished my thoughts on. Life has been keeping me incredibly busy, and I’ve admittedly been lacking the energy and motivation to keep this place updated. Eventually, though, I’m working on getting around to wrapping those entries up and getting them posted, among other things. I know that some of my followers have been looking out for my entry on Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015) and my review of Will Smith’s most recent appearance in Focus (both of which I assure you are coming soon). So I want to take a minute to first and foremost thank those followers for their patience, understanding, and dedication to this blog. That aside, just thought I’d start things up again by posting my thoughts on Aloha, the Bradley Cooper movie that everyone seems to be loving to hate right now.
I’ve found that I don’t always agree with critics when they slam something, and that happened to be the case for me with this movie. I understand that there are controversial racial issues regarding the storyline and casting, but as an Asian-American myself, I’m not entirely sure I found that a compelling enough argument to hate this movie. Not to say the movie was without its failings, but where the romantic elements were concerned, I thought this movie did just fine.
The movie description IMDb gives is as follows:
A celebrated military contractor returns to the site of his greatest career triumphs and reconnects with a long-ago love while unexpectedly falling for the hard-charging Air Force watch-dog assigned to him.
Nowhere in that description (or from what I recall in the trailers, for that matter) does it indicate that the main premise of the movie is to discuss Hawaiian independence or anything along those lines. Had that been the case, however, then yes, I think I could better understand all the criticism this movie has been receiving. Could the movie have given Asian characters a more substantial role? Sure. But the way I saw it, the point of the story was a love story that just happened to be set in Hawaii. Now, if the movie was meant to take things further than that, then yes, I agree, it failed tremendously in its mission. Again, though, just based on the expectations I felt were set by the summary and the trailers, I pretty much expected to see what was written on the tin, so to speak.
The most recent romance movie I’ve seen that comes to mind that I’ve watched prior to Aloha would have to be The Age of Adaline (2015), and compared to that movie (for reasons I will state in a later entry) I found Aloha to be a lot more enjoyable as a story with a romantic element. I thought that there was a fair balance of humor, cheesy, and heartfelt moments. Some scenes were a little over the top, sure, but I feel like that’s normal for the genre. My absolute favorite would have to be the “conversation” in the kitchen towards the end of the movie between Bradley Cooper and John Krasinski’s characters. It’s a very lame-humored scene, so for those who don’t find that sort of thing funny, it probably won’t seem as entertaining as I found it.
Of course, there were a few things that didn’t work for me in this movie, although it didn’t completely detract from enjoying the story. Here’s where the spoilers come in, so if you don’t want them, you can just skip to my recommendation at the tail-end of this entry.
I think there were three main areas where the film fell a little short for me personally. The first being that the cast carried a lot of big names. While I have nothing against such a choice, I also think that it can cause things to feel a little crunched. Some people may come to expect more out of a character or scene because of who’s in it, and they might feel a little short-changed when it feels like they’re favorite actor/actress is playing more of a cameo than a significant role. Second, Emma Stone and Bradley Cooper seemed a little mismatched as a couple, only because I think she already looks young for her age, and next to Cooper, she looked even younger. Lastly, some of the scenes as they were shot in the trailer were shot differently for the actual film. I know this happens sometimes, and on the whole grand scheme of things, it wasn’t a huge deal, but I actually liked some of the nuances of the scenes the way they were shot in the trailer, and I wish they had kept those as they were.
Some people may say the story overall was a mess in terms of plot, but when it comes to a movie in the romance genre, I kind of expect it to be. It might also be worth mentioning that the whole mini-subplot of the daughter and the “big reveal” did feel a little rushed, and perhaps maybe even a tad farfetched, but I didn’t find myself minding it too much.
Final Thoughts: If you like romantic comedies, I think this is worth seeing in theaters. It was a relaxing experience, and perfect for something like a lazy afternoon movie.