Djou Wins, Not ‘Kaiulani’

Q’orianka Kilcher as Ka‘iulani

What a finish to May in Hawaii!

We send Charles Djou to Congress, and exactly as I’d predicted – just 40 percent for him and 60 percent who wanted a Democrat. And there was the movie Princess Kaiulani, another political drama worthy of analysis.

I’m going to leave the Djou win and the Ed Case 27 percent debacle to other MidWeek commentators. Suffice for me to observe that Case and Neil Abercrombie should have stayed in Congress and Colleen Hanabusa sure ain’t a dead duck.

But the film Princess Kaiulani is a dead duck and should have gone straight to incineration rather than to theaters. It’s doing well under 50 percent in favorable reviews.

I rate it a first-class stinker. I quick-reviewed it this way for my family: Ka’iulani stares at the ocean and the camera pans up to the sky. Ka’iulani kisses an English boy and the camera pans up to the sky. There’s a lot of camera-up-to-sky. Lots of kissing, too.

The actors have a hard time with her name. It often comes out without the okina as Kaiulani. That changes the meaning. Once, her father even says “Kealani” or “Keulani” and script overseers missed that.

The historical liberties are too horrible to give more than a passing mention. The U.S. Marines didn’t invade Iolani Palace. They camped way makai. The reason for the arrest of Queen Lili’uokalani by the usurpers was much more complicated than just about her stubbornness. She had proposed executing anti-royalists. The Robert Wilcox rebellion as portrayed in the film is a joke and crappy photography to boot.

And whatever your feelings about Lorrin Thurston and his part in overthrowing the monarchy, he was certainly not the arrogant thug he’s portrayed to be in the film. And Sanford Dole was no pro-kanaka patsy. He made Thurston chief lobby-ist in D.C. for annexation. The movie timeline is totally screwed up.

Ka’iulani’s love affair is made up. It’s not found anywhere in her letters or those of her father, Archibald Cleghorn.

I’m mad because there was a great story to be unearthed and scripted but this film was tossed together in a manner that would have been better done by the Waianae High School Searider video class.

Ka’iulani wasn’t sent to England because of any threat to her life. Her family thought she should have a British education and she did. Simple as that.

The only charm of this film is Q’orianka Kilcher, who would seem destined to be a big star. Other than to see her captivating beauty, don’t waste your money.

Oh, and given that 40-60 percent split in the May 22 vote, I’d have to say it would also be a waste of money to bet on Charles Djou in November or for Djou to do more than take a short-term apartment rental in D.C.

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