A summer spent in rural Oahu takes a delightful turn for two Brooklyn-bred siblings when they discover a long-hidden artifact in the family backyard, and together, they take a thrilling journey into the Hawaiian islands with an ancient artifact that leads them back to their heritage, and to reclaim their family's once-hidden heritage for themselves. The discovery of an ancient slumbering tree sparks the start of the movie's plot; when Lin (Chloe Grace) retrieves the slumbering tree, Lin realizes it possesses special powers: it can summon a powerful Waikiki shark! In order to defeat this formidable foe, Lin must enlist the aid of her sister, Nicole (Tina Majorino), who goes along on the adventure to find the legendary artifact. Meanwhile, Lin must overcome obstacles in order to overcome danger, including the wrath of King David (Peter Scanavino), who is intent on destroying Oahu forever, using his newfound power to commandeer supplies to be funneled into his fortress.
Sporting a dazzling array of talent, from comic relief to powerhouse emotion, scanning, editing, and developing, Finding 'Ohana' is an easy-to-read, well-paced book that deliver the story line and story arc flawlessly. When acting out scenes, both the siblings shine. They each have their own set of strengths and talents and use them to help others. Their friendship and love for each other are the driving force behind the story, and they use their skills to help each other succeed. However, there are some minor flaws throughout the book that detract from the overall quality of the book, but don't take away from the experience.
For example, after discovering the mysterious artifact, Nic tells Lin that he's going to have to kill a lot of people, a notion which he happily complies with. Unfortunately, upon doing so, Nic inadvertently causes mass damage to the local airport. Luckily, he is able to bring the aircraft back online before anyone gets hurt. Overall, this minor nitpicks do not take away from the fun aspect of the book or movie.
Another minor annoyance concerns the over-reliance on computer-generated imagery. Hawaii is a place filled with great scenery, so using images that resemble computer generated "giraffes" or "land crabs" doesn't really help add to the realism. The use of such images is most distracting in scenes when the characters are interacting with one another, as it prevents us from relating to them. The overall effect of Finding 'Ohana' is enhanced by a strong cast of supporting characters, strong writing, and well-paced action.
Overall, Finding 'Ohana' is a fantastic book and movie. Although it does have some minor faults, it is not anything you should avoid. If you enjoy fantasy novels where the main character is an adventurous young woman who lives on an exotic island, you will enjoy this book. If you like movies where Hawaiian scenery is featured, then you will enjoy watching the movie. It's a good mix of fiction and non-fiction that engages you from start to finish. This book and film are sure to be a big hit when it comes out on DVD.
It's clear that Finding 'Ohana' will reach a new level of audience appeal once it makes its way onto the big screen. It is a fun read and a great movie. If you haven't picked up a copy of the book or seen the movie, now would be a great time to do both. You won't regret it!