Netflix’s treasure-hunting movie Finding ‘Ohana is essentially the millennial version of the ’80s classic The Goonies.
Netflix’s Finding ‘Ohana definitely doesn’t hide its influences as young Pili and her brother, Ioane, try to gather treasure in Hawaii to save their family. They’ve got debts to pay, and as they hunt the loot, movies like Indiana Jones and National Treasure show the impact they left on the project.
However, the film it’s most similar to is The Goonies, and as it turns out, this tropical island adventure is actually a millennial version of the ’80s classic.
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Thematically, the entire premise of the film is what we saw when Sean Astin’s Mikey had to save his family as their home was being foreclosed in Oregon. The same thing is happening to Pili’s grandfather, Kimo, and while Mikey found clues for One-Eyed Willy’s gold, Pili finds a journal to the Monks’ treasure, kickstarting a similar journey for her crew. She even finds a doubloon from Kimo and holds it to the ocean, all to find the island they need to go to, which is similar to Mikey’s search.
Pili even goes as far as to rock SPAM cans attacked to her shoes in order to steal a car. She does this not to just lengthen her feet, but also as a tribute to Data’s shoes in The Goonies. She calls it “Slick Shoes,” honoring when Data spilled oil from his to cause the Fratelli brothers to slip off logs while chasing the teens down. Adding to the similarities is when under the mountain, the group finds skulls, pirate skeletons, relics, foul stenches, rope bridges, waterfalls, underground pools, rope swinging and pulley systems, reminding viewers of the aesthetic of Richard Donner’s classic.
The icing on the cake, though, comes when Data himself appears. Jonathan Ke Quan stars as Uncle George, and not only does he encourage Pili early on to follow Kimo’s adventurous footsteps, but he’s also found advising Pili’s mom, Leilani, to remember the concept of family and that love is true wealth.
This speaks to what Mikey and Co. had when they all came together like a family to help save the Walshes. Ultimately, both crews learn about respecting the treasure, who it belonged to and the land itself, with Pili and Mikey moving from naive treasure-seekers to young teens who grow during their respective coming-of-age experiences.
Directed by Jude Weng, Finding ‘Ohana stars Kea Peahu, Alex Aiono, Marc Evan Jackson, Lindsay Watson, Owen Vaccaro, Kelly Hu and Key Huy Quan. The film is now streaming on Netflix.
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