Cameron Crowe’s Aloha will arrive in theaters on Friday, but not everyone is happy with the final project. In fact, the very title of the film has angered native Hawaiians, according to a report by Access Hollywood.
The report states that many native Hawaiians are angered because of the title of the film “is a disrespectful misappropriation of culture and simplifies a word that’s rich with meaning.” The title of the film is not all that is angering the people of Hawaii though.
The predominantly white cast and the film’s lack of connection to the Hawaiian culture are also points raised by some about the film. However, there is no way to really fault the content by anyone yet. The media have not screened the film.
A screening is scheduled for tomorrow, and no reviews of the film can be posted until Thursday. This is the first film from Cameron Crowe in four years, and he has kept it under wraps completely. However, the late date for the screening is raising even more criticism for the film.
Walter Ritte, an activist living on the island of Molokai, spoke about the title of the film, and shared his criticism of it.
“If you have a romantic comedy about the military in Hawaii … but a title that says ‘Aloha,’ I can only guess that they’ll bastardize the word. They’re taking our sacred word … and they’re going to make a lot of money off of it.”
— TheMovieWaffler.com (@themoviewaffler) May 1, 2015
This film stars Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone. These are two of the biggest stars in Hollywood at this time. Cooper took his fame to new heights with American Sniper. That movie was just released on DVD, and the media criticized that film after its release.
On MSNBC, Janet Mock spoke about the film on So Popular. She is also a native Hawaiian.
“Aloha actually comes from two Hawaiian words: alo — which means the front of a person, the part of our bodies that we share and take in people. And ha, which is our breath. When we are in each other’s presence with the front of our bodies, we are exchanging the breath of life.”
This film was produced on the island in 2013. However, at that time Cameron Crowe did not reveal the title of the film when he asked for permission to film in Hawaii.
Donne Dawson, the State Film Commission revealed that if Crowe had mentioned the title at that time, she would have advised the man and his crew against using the word as the title for the film.
“I certainly would have seen it as an opportunity to counsel them … and then allow them to figure it out for themselves. We’ve had a century of misrepresentation, of misunderstanding, of miscommunication of who we are. We have fallen prey to the stereotypical ideas … that people have about Hawaii. It’s not based in truth and it’s not authentic. It’s not my job to basically tell people what they can do with regard to the creative. I can tell them what to do and not do when it comes to filming on public land.”
In 2013, Dawson did advise Crowe’s crew about filming in one part of the island. Crowe and his team found another area on the island to film their scenes. They wanted to use “Waianae, home to a high concentration of Native Hawaiians, for scenes set in Afghanistan.” Dawson revealed that this might offend the local residents.
Aloha is a project that has been in the works for six years. It was originally set to star Ben Stiller and Reese Witherspoon, according to Daily Mail. The film was mentioned in the Sony hack late last year, and executives from the production company were not sure that the film should have been made at all.
Amy Pascal, a Sony executive, said the film was a “bad decision from the start.” Her main issue was with the script of the film. She said the following in one email released in the Sony hack. Sony has not yet responded to the criticism this film is receiving. However, Pascal was fired from Sony after the email leak last year, according to the Spread It.
“People don’t like people in movies who flirt with married people or married people who flirt. The satellite makes no sense. The gate makes no sense. I’m never starting a movie again when the script is ridiculous. And we all know it. I’m never starting a movie again when the script is ridiculous. And we all know it. We have this movie in for a lot of dough and we better look at that.”
The Media Action Network for Asian American has released a statement about the film. The organization has not been allowed to view the film in advance either. According to the New York Post, Guy Aoki, a former resident of Hawaii and a spokesperson for MANNA, shared his thoughts about the make-up of the cast in the statement.
“Caucasians only make up 30 percent of the population [of Hawaii], but from watching this film, you’d think they made up 99 percent. This comes in a long line of films — ‘The Descendants,’ ’50 First Dates,’ ‘Blue Crush,’ ‘Pearl Harbor’ — that uses Hawaii for its exotic backdrop but goes out of its way to exclude the very people who live there. It’s an insult to the diverse culture and fabric of Hawaii. [The native Hawaiians featured in the film] didn’t even have names. How can you educate your audience to the ‘rich history’ of Hawaii by using mostly white people and excluding the majority of the people who live there and who helped build that history — APIs?”
However, there are Native Hawaiians that have no problem with the film or its title at all. They have also spoken out with their support for the project.
“Hawaii residents, including Native Hawaiians, worked behind and in front of the camera on the movie, said Brenda Ching, executive director of the Hawaii local of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
The title doesn’t bother all Native Hawaiians.
‘If you look at what aloha means, how can it be bad no matter how it’s used?’ said TV and radio personality Kimo Kahoano. ‘I think Hawaii is the best place in the world. And the reason is aloha.'”
Sony has come under fire in recent months for a film being considered insensitive or rude to another culture. Sony was forced to pull The Interview from a full release after its depiction of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was criticized heavily by many. The film, starring James Franco and Seth Rogen, was eventually released to theaters, but not at first.
People have taken to social media to share their opinions on Cameron Crowe’s film. Some agree with the criticism against the film in their tweets.
I swear, what the hell happened to Cameron Crowe, every trailer I see for Aloha is more cliche and hacky than the last.
— Daryl Bartley (@hypercubexl) May 26, 2015
— Gil Garcia (@Code77HI) May 26, 2015
I guess I’m a little interested in how Cameron Crowe explains or doesn’t explain Emma Stone’s character in ALOHA being named Allison Ng.
— David Roth (@david_j_roth) May 26, 2015
Wow I think maybe Cameron Crowe lost it with Aloha. Grow up, William Miller.
— Lisa Ken (@mocktress) May 26, 2015
Cameron Crowe’s “Aloha” should be called “Almost Hawaiian.”
— Mike Hadge (@HadgeTunes) May 26, 2015
— Danielle Boyd (@lagirl1995) May 25, 2015
— David Dwyer (@dwdwyer) May 25, 2015
Check out the trailer for the newest Cameron Crowe film below. Do you plan to see Aloha when it hits theaters on Friday?
[Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images]