Reviewed by Ned Daigle
Rating: 7 Beans
t is said that the film "Rapa Nui" was based on actual decoded messages from the stone face statues on Easter Island. I don't believe it. Not for a minute. If you've seen the movie, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. History can't be this loopy. The events themselves may be true, but something about it all seems to be the product of a very fevered and addled brain.
"Rapa Nui" is a film based on the history of said Easter Island. For years the mystery of the giant statues and the lack of any people on the island was cause for intense speculation. Look no more, "Rapa Nui" has answered those questions.
The inept director is none other than Kevin Reynolds, who after "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves", "Waterworld" and this, you'd think he would be consigned to movie hell and would never be allowed near a movie camera again. But he had friends in high places obviously, after all, none other than Kevin Costner helped produce this. Which means Costner not only stars in crap, and directs crap, but he also produces other people's crap. A true triple loser.
Jason Scott Lee stars as Naro, a young Polynesian buck who is a member of the Long-Ear tribe. The Long-Ears have ruled the island and are treated as superior than the lowly Short-Ear clan. The emperor is Ariki-Mau. As played by Eru Potaka-Dewes, Ariki-Mau comes across as a very senile guidance counselor, a man of authority who lacks any fear-inducing leadership abilities. Most of the time he is seeking clues about the future "Leave me alone, I have entrails to read!", and waiting for the Great White Canoe to carry him to the other side. Anyway, Ariki-Mau sits around stirring chicken guts and ordering the giant stone faces to be erected to appease the gods. So far so odd.
Naro loves Romana, a topless Short-Ear wench, but Short-Ear stud Make (Esai Morales) wants her as well. Ariki-Mau orders Romana to stay in the Cave of the White Virgin for 6 moons to prove she is worthy of a Long-Ear husband. To avenge Romana, Make decides that what he must do is win a race, helpfully called "The Race", to make sure the Short-Ears take control of the island.
What is "The Race"? So glad you asked. Selected racers from the various tribes (there are several others besides the Ear tribes but the movie conveniently avoids getting into too much detail) are to race across the island, swim the channel to a neighboring island, grab a rare bird egg, strap it to their foreheads, and swim back. The first racer back with an egg on his head wins. Try not to laugh at the image this evokes in your mind, watching it is much funnier.
As it turns out, it doesn't matter too much who wins because shortly thereafter the Great White Canoe arrives to take Ariki-Mau and others to the beyond. I won't spoil it by telling you exactly what the Great White Canoe is, but let's just say that the contrast of temperatures makes it a wee bit implausible.
With this event, the island erupts into war and chaos causing murder and cannibalism. Naro, and freshly white, virginal, and now blind Romana, flee in a boat into the ocean a la Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins in "Blue Lagoon". End of story, end of movie.
All this silliness can't be for real, can it? I didn't even mention the environmental message about the chopping down of the trees that are used to cart the stone heads around. As Roger Ebert said, "Before you can save the planet, save the movie."
After laughing up a lung at this silly, overwrought swill, I would have to say "Right on Roger!"
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