Tim Burton meets Hawaii. Which means we get bikini bodies, surfing action and lots of music and dancing. Now, this one was truly weird, even for his standards. He shot this short-film back in the early 80s when he was in his mid-20s and you could clearly see, he's still seeking his style. He improved rapidly in the coming years though. Two years later, he shot the very famous Frankenweenie, which got turned into a full feature not too long ago and 8 years later, he did his IMHO best work so far with Edward Scissorhands. Between this and Luau, there's really worlds.
Luau basically deals with a couple girls and boys in Hawaii experiencing love, parties, but also the occasional supernatural creature and some very natural, ruthless financial sharks. Burton shot this one together with Jerry Rees, one of the driving forces behind the "Brave Little Toaster" movie. I really only would recommend it to Burton completionists. The video quality is extremely low, the acting is downright bad occasionally, including the strangest music performances, and the script and direction just can't compensate for its flaws.
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"LUAU!" - What makes a "cult classic" is that to the average public nobody would know the actors in this movie! But, what the public doesn't know is that these actors do know each other and it plays out well here. Bob, beach comer, (Mike Gabriel), you made this film a hit you were well cast and really great! Especially, (Sue Kroyer) bouncing around during the titles, some really old, 60's worn film out of focus stuff. Really the main story point hovers on the beach GURU guy "Kahuna", (Phil Young), who at the Luau Party becomes dis drought over the same "Luau" parties all the time and wants to make a big change for himself. "Man! It's just one big gigantic brain fry!" Kahuna,(Phil) proclaims. He now declares that he will be known as "Vladamir Moon face Junior"! It is an epiphany for him! Another story element is the flying UFO HEAD known as the "Supreme Being" (a.k.a.) "Mortie",(Tim Burton) that hypnotizes the great character (Joe Ranft), "I.Q." and others into zombies. "Mortie" eventually is at the center of the story at the "Luau", who makes a challenge for a surfing contest between himself "Mortie", (Tim Burton) and "Bob" (Mike Gabriel) the beach boy surfer guy. So, there is also a ZEN connection between the Beach GURU "Kahuna" and "Bob" the greatest surfer who wins the accolades of the beach surfers. Bob (Mike G.) contemplates this ZEN experience of surfing while his two girlfriends "Arlene" (Sue Frankenburger) and "Princess Yakamoshi" (Terri Hamada) do some sexy sand wrestling, with some great footage. Come to find out both weren't acting and really did have it out with each other for keeps. Oh!, and a really stealer performance sequence is with "Little Stevie "Ray" Wonder", played by (Louis Tate) and a really funny song or two played to the beach people. This film from beginning to end has bouncy hit songs throughout and makes it fun to watch let alone being slightly out of focus. And, then the business men set up an office on the beach and a scene cuts in, "Hey, you kids got to keep it quite around here! We're trying to conduct a business meeting!" It's funny because this scene cuts in unexpectedly and is so confrontational. All in all the Businessmen want to make "Bob" (Mike G.) and the other surfers comply to a contract over the beach front property for real estate. This eventually leads up to a big beach brawl somewhat defused when Joe Lansisero's mother invites everyone into her home for lunch. When the surf contest was won by Bob (Mike G.), the deal was that "The Supreme Being" -(Tim Burton) would take on the body of "I.Q." (Joe Ranft), since "Supreme Being" played by (Tim Burton) had only a HEAD, he (Tim Burton) now becomes "Mortie" (Tim) with a total body! "Mother Lansisero" makes a cream pie for I.Q.,(Joe Ranft) who she thinks is "Mortie", but is really "Supreme Being" (Tim Burton), who now takes on the body of "I.Q." to "pie in your face hypnotize" the businessmen and their thinking to drop the idea of wanting surfer beach. But, we didn't forget about "Kahuna", i.e., "Vladamir Moon face Junior", (Phil Young) he is the greatest surfer dude GURU! The ending. . . the beach parties go on . . . h.e.e.e.e.e.e.r.e.s . . . "Vladamir Moon face Junior". -Ben Burgess - DVD copies available. - animaging at yahoo dot com (time:31min.)
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