HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The movie 'Aloha' opens Friday and is loaded with Hollywood stars: Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray and Alec Baldwin.
It was filmed in Hawaii and showcases our beautiful scenery. But many native Hawaiian people say they will not see the movie. One glaring reason, the title.
"It could not have come at a worst time in the Hawaiian community for somebody to nationally use one of our most cherished words for money making," says Hawaiian activist Walter Ritte, who says using the word 'aloha' for a film that has nothing to do with Hawaiian culture is insulting.
"It is synonymous to the scientists coming to our most sacred mountain and using it for science without any concern about the sacredness of that mountain," Ritte says referring to the TMT being constructed on Mauna Kea.
"I think they have a point," says Donne Dawson of the Hawaii Film Office. She says she is part Hawaiian and while she helped with the Hollywood production, she does wish they had asked permission from native leaders to use the word, 'Aloha'. "It's one of the most important words in our language, so why not, pay respect to that host culture why not pay respect to those native peoples."
Asian American activists are also critical saying the movie doesn't feature enough people of color considering Hawaii is a diverse place.
"It's very patronizing when you don't include Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders in the movie in any kind of meaningful way," says Guy Aoki of the Media Action Network for Asian Americans.
Aoki is from Hilo but now lives in California. "We're not asking for a handout, we're saying, reflect reality."
Sony Pictures did respond to the entertainment magazine, Us Weekly, about the criticism saying the film respectfully showcases the spirit and culture of the Hawaiian People. The statement also says, filmmaker Cameron Crowe spent years researching the project.
The Hawaii Film Office says the producers did pump millions of dollars into the state's economy. More than 400 local people were hired to help with filming. The producers also went above and beyond the tax credit donation requirement, by contributing money to three public high schools for their arts programs: Radford, Farrington,and Kailua.