The Pacific Islands - South Seas Genre

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Ed Rampell once claimed that “any film relating to the Pacific Islanders, their islands and cultures” is considered part of the South Seas genre. The Pacific Islands, which consist of thousands upon thousands of little islands grouped together in the Pacific Ocean, are generally perceived by western culture as an escape to the bright yellow, warm sun, sparkling blue crashing waves and, of course, a peaceful paradise. Thus, these islands for decades, due to westerners preconceived association of paradise along with this feeling of the unknown and uninhibited, have played a huge role in helping movie directors substantiate plots and create movies about these islands. Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Blue Crush are two movies of the last decade that are set in the South Pacific Island of Hawaii. Both producers utilize Hawaii’s culture and topography as key elements to their movies. Nonetheless, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Blue Crush share a common theme of romance and specific elements that classify both movies as part of the South Seas genre. Classified as part of the South Seas genre, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a romantic comedy that takes places at a resort on the island of Oahu. After recently being dumped by his high profile, celebrity girlfriend, Peter is not only stunned but also emotionally unstable. With the advice of his stepbrother and multiple days of uncontrollable tears and sighs, Peter decides to escape to a five star Hawaiian resort to clear his head and try to move forward with his life. To Peter’s dismay, as he arrives at the hotel’s reception desk, his ex-girlfriend Sarah Marshall is walking through the lobby in a bathing suit, holding hands with her new boyfriend, Aldous Snow, an extremely famous British musician. Noticing his deep depression, the hotel receptionist, Rachel, gives Peter one of the most expensive rooms in the resort. Slowly, Peter begins to control his emotions, get a hold of himself and begins hanging out with Rachel. Peter discovers he has feelings for Rachel. Rachel and Peter continue to hit it off, while Sarah and Aldous seem to be experiencing quite the opposite. Suddenly, Aldous tells Sarah he is going back to England, and their relationship is over. Peter attempts to console Sarah as she confesses her love for him. Realizing his feelings for Rachel are very strong, Peter refuses to have sex with Sarah. Although this film is filled with nudity, sex, and unprecedented comedy, the romance and Hawaiian culture depicted throughout this film is very common in the South Seas Genre. In the 2002 film Blue Crush, a new group of female surfers with style, courage and attitude attack the beaches of Maui. Anne Marie is a young woman living in Hawaii who has been surfing since she was a little girl. Over the past year, she has been training for the prestigious Pipe Masters surfing competition. Throughout the movie, she tries to overcome the extreme emotional baggage she suffered when her mother abandoned her years ago. She is forced to raise her younger sister Penny, pay the bills and focus on surfing. Anne Marie nearly drowned while trying to surf the famous Maui Pipeline three years ago, and has yet to shake off the anxieties of this traumatic event. Anne Marie lives with her two best friends Lena and Eden. All three of them work as maids at a local hotel. When a pro football team checks into the hotel, Anne Marie meets Matt, a promising quarterback who has his eye on her. Anne Marie is just as attracted to Matt as he is to her. The three girls start to give Matt and two of his friends surfing lessons to earn some income. Anne’s physical and emotional attraction for Matt creates an internal dilemma for herself: lust, love and romance versus her desire to compete in the Pipe Masters competition.

Certain key elements to a movie of this specific genre are highlighted throughout Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Blue Crush. The first is this idea of the “escapist” (Man 16). “Hollywood South Sea...
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