In Finding Ohana (2021), two Brooklyn siblings return to Oahu for the summer to reconnect with their Hawaiian heritage and seek out an epic adventure of long-lost treasures. Directed by Jude Weng, the film stars Kelly Hu, Alex Aiono, Kea Peahu, Owen Vaccaro, Lindsay Watson and Branscombe Richmond. The film is now streaming on Netflix. YouTubers Wendy and Dustin from the channel The Movie Couple, Leo from the channel Geekly Goods, Tessa from the channel Mama’s Geeky and Aaron from the channel MileZee Movies, share their thoughts on the adventure film.
I really do like that there were a lot of parallels between Finding Ohana and Goonies. The fact that the family house was in trouble financially, the sibling rivalry, the finding of a lost treasure that was hidden away in the parents, grandparents secret treasure trove so to speak. They did a really good job of making this a really cute story.
Pleasantly surprised by the subtle and sometimes not so subtle references to the 80’s classic, The Goonies (1985), YouTubers Dustin and Wendy find the striking similarities to be very effective throughout the film and bring on a sense of movie and childhood nostalgia. The couple describe the film as a “love letter to The Goonies'' and says it's definitely a film worth checking out.
So, my family watched this together and we were laughing, we were having fun guessing what was going to happen and it’s actually a really really fun adventure filled movie. There’s moments of suspense. There’s moments where you’ll be cracking up. There’s moments where I was hiding … the movie overall though is very much The Goonies.
A family fun film with a nod to nostalgia is how YouTuber Tessa describes Finding Ohana. After watching the film with her family, she notes the majority of the film has The Goonies, adventures seeking theme to it while at the same time, filled with somewhat oddly placed more mature jokes that seemed a bit out of place at times and very weird.
YouTuber Aaron also feels the film gives off serious Goonies vibes. Unfortunately, unlike The Goonies, the film isn’t as captivating or memorable, according to the YouTuber. He describes it as a very “Disney channel-esque/High School Musical” with terrible dialogue, ok performances and predictable character arcs and plots.
This movie is Goonies through and through. Just less fun, less atmospheric and missing some of the key ingredients like chemistry. There was something about the cast of Goonies that felt like glue. Felt like they were the best of friends and they just happened to make a movie together. Here it feels like they have to be friends and it's forced. Like the two older kids had to fall in love and kiss at the end.
Another issue the YouTuber has with the film is understanding who its target audience is. Is this a family friendly film? Is this a film more for the tween/teen generation? Or is this for adults?
The dialogue is absolutely awful and it could have been so much better if they kept it simple and I think the problem is they don’t quite know who it's catering for. Because young kids would be bored and maybe even scared by the amount of skeletons and spiders and loud noises in the movie.
Finding Ohana is the Indiana Jones and The Goonies for the gen Z era, says YouTuber Leo. Being able to explore the Hawaiian culture through the setting, scenery and the characters, the YouTuber finds this aspect of the film a nice breath of fresh air as not many other family films other than Lilo and Stitch (2002), do so. One memorable element is the performance from newcomer Kea Peahu, according to Leo.
Kea Peahu, she does a fantastic job as the lead. She’s such a charismatic character and she just does such a great job for her debut acting performance. Honestly, she might be a natural here because I thought maybe this was her third or fourth movie. No, this is her feature link debut. She’s a choreographer, she’s a dancer, so maybe that energy carries over well into the movie, but it just works very well for her character in the movie.
One issue Leo has with the film, an issue other YouTubers have also pointed out, is the run time. With a run time of a little over two hours, it seems a bit too long and scenes could have been cut and condensed much more, says the YouTuber.
The run time. I know I say this in just about every review that about 20 minutes to 30 minutes can be cut out however, in this case it was 2 hours and 3 minutes. And that kind of makes it suffer a little bit because it takes a little bit of time to get to that treasure hunting and the Indiana Jones half of the movie and I think I would have liked that to hurry up a little bit more. So the pacing can be a little bit of a problem even though the actors really make it worthwhile.
YouTubers Leo, Aaron, Tessa, Wendy and Dustin, rate and review new movies and TV shows regularly on their channels.