Vol. 14, No. 15 – April 21 – May 4, 2021 – Movie Review

Streaming Spotlight by Cindy Summers
Finding Ohana – Netflix Originals

3 out of 4 palm trees
Breeze rating from 1 to 4 palm trees, 4 being best.

In “Finding Ohana”, a young Hawaiian girl named Pili (Kea Peahu), who was a geocaching champion, becomes a real life treasure hunter after finding the journal of a fabled sailor while visiting her grandpa in Hawaii. The journal showed where the treasure was hidden from a ship named the Peruvian that was sunk off the Hawaiian coast over 200 years ago. With the help of her older brother Ioane (Alex Aiono), and new friends Casper (Owen Vaccaro) and Hana (Lindsay Watson), Pili uses her treasure hunting skills to lead them all on a great adventure exploring the beauty of Hawaii as well as learning about its sacred culture and traditions.

Pili’s mother Leilani (Kelly Hu) left Hawaii and moved to New York when Pili was a baby and her brother Ioane was very young due to their father passing away while serving in the military. It had been over 10 years since Leilani saw her father, who lived on the Hawaiian land their family had for generations in the house he built himself. Due to her dad having a heart attack, Leilani returned to Hawaii with Pili and Ioane to help with his recovery.

Pili and Ioane were both unhappy to be away from the big city life in New York, with all its conveniences like WiFi, which was not working at Papa’s house that was well out of cell reception range as well. This left them with a lot of frustration and time on their hands, but that was quickly solved with Pili when she found the journal in her grandpa’s old bus of a sailor named Monks that led to a long lost treasure.

Pili’s Papa (Branscombe Richmond) had a young friend named Casper, who was a bit quirky (like taking his cat everywhere a wagon) that quickly became fast friends with Pili and was able to share some other details he knew about Monks’ journal and the hidden treasure from a sunken ship called the Peruvian.

When Papa discovered Pili had taken the journal, he decided to take her on a boat trip to the island that was shown in one of Monks’ drawings, and then also showed her that the very gold coin he wore on a necklace was part of the map to the treasure of the Peruvian. Unfortunately he fell and was injured, leaving Ioane to take care of Pili while their mom was at the hospital with their grandpa.

Pili snuck out and set off with Casper to find the treasure, while Ioane went looking for them with their other new friend Hana, who he had a crush on. Together they all overcame unforeseen challenges and their own fears to find the treasure, only to discover is was in a sacred tomb guarded by the Night Watchers, which were the ghosts of Hawaiian warriors that marched at night and protected the island. After all they experienced, they chose to follow tradition and leave the treasure, just as they discovered their Papa had done years ago.

Finding Ohana” is filled with thrills, adventure, history, majestic scenery and heartwarming family moments. It’s also amusing the way the historical reenactments are done using proper sets and costuming, but using the dialog and lip syncing of the person telling the story in the present moment, similar to the “Drunk History” series.

Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 2h 3m

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