Finding ‘Ohana, the feature directorial debut of filmmaker Jude Weng, clearly has BGE: Big Goonies Energy. The upcoming Netflix movie, which involves a scrappy group of kids and search for a long-lost treasure, is basically a modern version of Richard Donner’s beloved 1985 children’s adventure film, but this one is set in Hawaii. The new trailer, which was released today, combines the state’s beautiful landscapes and scenic backdrops with cheesy interior cave sets and the type of goofy moments you’d expect for a movie aimed squarely at kids. Check it out below.

Finding Ohana Trailer

As someone who absolutely despises The Goonies – I saw it for the first time as an adult, and therefore have zero nostalgic connection to it – I have to say that this looks like an improvement: at least Hawaii is there to do some heavy lifting. Initially, I would almost swear that the movies I grew up on didn’t seem quite this…bad, but when I really think about it, I grew up watching things like The Pagemaster and Blank Check, which probably didn’t feature crackerjack writing, either. So I won’t be too hard on this. Still: recent films like The Kid Who Would Be King show that it is possible to make truly great movies for kids – we’ll just have to see if Finding ‘Ohana is interested in being genuinely good, or merely “good enough for Netflix.”

Here is the official synopsis, which tees up something I don’t think I’ve ever seen in a movie before: the protagonist is a “geocache champion.”

Geocache champion Pilialoha “Pili” Kawena, age 12, is abruptly lifted from her busy New York life and dropped into rural O’ahu to help care for her grandfather. Initially skeptical about her new surroundings, Pili finds a cryptic pirate’s journal in her Papa’s studio hinting at a 200-year-old shipwrecked treasure hidden away in the island’s caves and mountains. With her older brother and new friends in tow she uses her clue solving skills to lead them on an adventure of a lifetime through the natural wonders of Hawai’i. As she learns to respect and love her native culture she also discovers not all secrets should be shared and that the real treasure in life is ‘ohana – her family.

Kea Peahu, Alex Aiono, Lindsay Watson, and Owen Vaccaro star, with Kelly Hu (The Scorpion King), Branscombe Richmond (The Scorpion King), Ke Huy Quan (The Goonies), Brad Kalilimoku (Hawaii Five-O), Chris Parnell (Saturday Night Live), Marc Evan Jackson (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), and Ricky Garcia (Bigger Fatter Liar) rounding out the cast.

Finding ‘Ohana will be available on Netflix on January 29, 2021.

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