Sunday, May 16, 2010
Familiarity with anything more than a few facts regarding the history of Hawai’i is a rarity among the vast majority of non-Hawai’i born residents of our state.
Still, anyone who has connected at all with Hawaii’s people and culture knows generally about the armed takeover of the Kingdom of Hawai’i and its annexation to the U.S., led by American and English businessmen in the last decade of the 19th century.
The movie, “Princess Ka’iulani,” portrays the story of one of Hawai’i’s last royal heiresses in line to the throne, from childhood to young adult, as she experienced the circumstances of that period. Historical events, instead of providing the narrative, play out in the background.
Memorable in the film is the depiction of the legitimate rulers of the constitutional monarchy. Faced with the realization that it is outside of their nation’s power to physically resist the takeover, the royal rulers choose to act with humble dignity, wisdom, faith and courage to preserve the identity and place of the Hawaiian people.
A good movie, in my opinion, is one that lasts no more than 90 minutes, or so, which is the case here. Beyond that criterion, the film is a well-crafted presentation. There are no wow-factor, CGI scenes and only one explosion, but the acting is good, the cinematography not bad at all and the deliberate pacing allows the story to develop coherently. Additionally, you can watch this entertainment with grandparents or younger children without concern for embarrassing language or subject matter that will leave you ill-at-ease.
I recommend the movie for having qualities similar to “Chariots of Fire,” if you can recall that movie from the early 1980’s. In both films, the directors set out to make a good movie without spending tens of millions of dollars by focusing on plot, character development and conflict resolution.
Perhaps the movie will be found to be more meaningful to those who live here in the historical after-path (to coin a term) of the events portrayed, but I believe many others will find the movie a rewarding experience, as well. Not being a major studio production, it probably won’t be in theater release for very long. Before it disappears, try to see it.