Watch the First Eight Minutes of Cameron Crowe’s ‘Aloha’
I did not like Cameron Crowe’s Aloha. By now I have made that very clear. But Sony just made the film’s first eight minutes available online. (That’s them in the video above.) I’m watching the video here, and trying to will myself into liking them more. It’s not working.
I do like the beginning of the opening credits; the contrasting footage of Hawaiian rituals and rocket launches, most of which explode or crash. Immediately, Crowe’s setting up several themes he’ll explore in the movie; the tension between new and old, and his borderline obsession with failure and how someone who’s failed tries to redeem themselves.
And then Bradley Cooper’s character, Brian Gilcrest, starts talking. “There was a time I knew everything in the sky.” He’s referring to the growing clutter in space, and alluding to the fact that his boss, played by Bill Murray, is going to try to stick more junk up there. But he also seems to be foreshadowing the fact that the movie itself is about to get very cluttered. Before the clip is over we’ve already heard about how NASA’s been corrupted by billionaires, and how Brian screwed up something in Afghanistan, but they’re both rushed through before we really understand any of it. Then we’re rushed through the introductions of most of the main cast, including Emma Stone’s Air Force captain, Danny McBride’s colonel, John Krasinski’s stoic pilot, and Rachel McAdams as Brian’s ex-girlfriend. There’s also McAdams’ son who’s videotaping everything and interjects random tidbits of information about Hawaiian myths. That should also foreshadow future events, but that element, like a lot of the movie, just never pays off. It’s one giant infodump, heavy on the dump.
These eight minutes do a bad job of setting up the story that’s going to follow, but they do a good job of giving you a taste of just how weird and messy the movie is. Despite all that, though, I’d be interested in seeing a director’s cut of Aloha. Look how much exposition is crammed in here (some of it clearly ADRed in post-production, like when McBride says “She handles all these ceremonies around here now” entirely off camera). Something went very wrong here. I definitely believe there could be a great movie in this material. We just didn’t get it.