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Archaeologist Dr. Michael Stone looked for the lost medallion his entire life, and now his son Billy has taken up the search. Amazingly, the medallion ends up in Billy's hands and a spontaneous wish in a precarious situation takes him and his best friend Allie back 200 years to what they realize is a very different Aumakua Island. When Billy and his friends are not jumping off waterfalls, avoiding animal traps, crossing the ocean, sneaking through caves or escaping a prison, they're facing their nemesis Cobra, who wants nothing more than for them all to disappear. With no other way to get home, and the well-being of the entire island resting on his shoulders, Billy must discover the key to reclaiming the medallion and its tremendous power. One way or another, this adventure will change Billy and life on the island forever. Written by
In an interview, S David Acuff asked Bill Muir what went wrong with the 2011 "director's cut" version of the film that kept it from succeeding. The short version of Bill Muir's answer is that it lacked a brand sufficient to attract enough film-goers to make the movie financially feasible to distribute. Earlier in the interview Bill Muir had mentioned that, at the end of editing, the movie was clearly targeting 6- to 13-year-olds. The biggest brand for that age group is Disney, but Disney shuns Christian themes. An alternative to eliminating Christian references was to incorporate a wrap around and elevate some of the movie's themes. Alex Kendrick had been successful in getting some Christian movies distributed, so Muir asked Kendrick to appear in the wrap around, essentially making Kendrick the brand. See more »
(at around 23 mins) Billy finds King Kiele's medallion wrapped in cloth. Though buried for a few centuries in a tropical jungle environment, the cloth has not deteriorated. See more »
My daughter saw this at the theater with friends and recommended it for weekend family viewing on Netflix. She has decent taste in films, I think, preferring the intellectual over the typical inane kid stuff. Still, I was surprised at how much I loved this film.
It's part action film and part allegory, with a number of surprising features all wrapped up in a story within a story.
The visuals are stunning. At least a half dozen times, I found myself taken aback by the angles or sweeping motion the director chose. There's something satisfyingly symmetrical about the camera work. The locations are gorgeous and so is the cast, but none of it is so pretty that it feels unrealistic.
Although it doesn't feel low-budget, the movie has a hint of indie film about it. It reminds us that acting and writing are hard work. Although you can see some of the seams occasionally, it is a pleasant reminder of the hard work that goes into making a dream like this a reality.
And even if a few ideas in the film hearken back to other stories, none of it feels derivative.
I read a few other reviews before posting this, and saw that one poster thought that it was a racist portrayal of colonialism. Having watched the film, I'd say that is a bias that poster must see in many facets of life - you're bound to find hatred and condescension anywhere you look, if you're determined to find it. I saw no hint of it in this film. As for being reminded that God loves you, no matter what - I couldn't imagine that message ever becoming too prevalent in kids' films.
All in all, well worth the 97 minutes, and worth a second viewing, as well.
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