Aloha Comedy

'Aloha' DVD Review: A winning cast and breathtaking scenery help Cameron Crowe's latest avert complete disaster

August 27, 2015Ben MK

Negative buzz can really harm a movie's chances at the box office. Take Aloha, for example. Months before it debuted — and bombed — in cinemas this past summer, writer/director Cameron Crowe's eighth feature film was already accruing its share of unfavorable publicity, the result of the fallout from a certain, now infamous, corporate hacking scandal. But is Aloha really the train wreck that some have made it out to be?

Let's start with the basics. The film's story centers on Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper), a soldier-turned-private-contractor whose new gig working for a wannabe space tycoon (Bill Murray) has brought him back to his old stomping ground of Hawaii, ending a 13-year absence. Things soon get messy, however, as Brian's personal life, his work life, and his old life inevitably collide. Entangled in a love triangle of sorts — one involving his ex, Tracy (Rachel McAdams), and his feisty Air Force watchdog, Allison (Emma Stone) — Brian is forced to take a long, hard look at himself and reexamine his life. Will love win out in the end?

With a strong (if not underused) supporting cast that includes John Krasinski, Danny McBride and Alec Baldwin, Aloha would appear to have the word "winner" written all over it. However, Crowe's questionable decision to bog down the storyline with multiple scenes addressing such topics as sovereign Hawaiian land rights and the privatization of the space industry proves detrimental in the end, ultimately throwing the whole movie for a loop.

It's not that Aloha is a bad film, per say; but it is overly ambitious, and would benefit greatly from a little bit of narrative focus. That being said, there are still moments of genuine comedic and dramatic greatness to be glimpsed within it. And if you simply take a step back and consider it purely for its performances — not to mention the picturesque Hawaiian backdrop — you might be surprised to find that there's a perfectly charming picture hidden underneath all the flaws.

As with most of Sony's home video releases, Aloha looks and sounds uniformly impressive. The DVD boasts a healthy amount of cinematic-looking film grain, pleasing detail, and a vibrant color scheme (highlighting everything from Hawaii's baby blue ocean to its lush, green vegetation), while the movie's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack allows both the dialogue and the soothing island ambience (chirping birds, gentle breezes and a Hawaiian-infused score) to shine through.

Sony's one-disc DVD release includes an UltraViolet digital copy of the film, along with the following special features:

  • The Untitled Hawaii Project: The Making of Aloha Documentary (1:13:47) - A loosely structured behind-the-scenes piece divided into three nearly-equal parts ("The Land of Aloha," "Hickam Life" and "Gift of Love"), which not only delves into the filming of scenes on the island of Hawaii and on Hickam Air Force base, but also explores the smaller character moments found throughout the film.
  • Gag Reel (6:26) - Various outtakes, flubs and goofs from the set.

Aloha is available from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment as of August 25th, 2015. The DVD features English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Digital 2.0 Audio Descriptive Service and French Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks. Subtitles are presented in English, English SDH, French and Spanish. The total runtime is 1 Hr. 45 Mins.

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