Movie Moments: Hawaii Adventure Movie Night


Updated May 2020.

Ready for an adventure? Look no further than Hawaii, collectively one of the most-filmed locations in the world! The movie doesn’t have to be set in Hawaii to use the islands as a backdrop. Did you know Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, and even Avatar have parts filmed in or inspired by Hawaii? Take a look at the suggestions below, and start planning your action-packed movie night (or weekend movie marathon) now! And don’t forget to click the pictures below to get your copy from Amazon!

6 Days, 7 Nights

Type: Action
Runtime: 1h 38m
Year: 1998
Adventure: Crash-landing on a deserted island, camping in the jungle, making a getaway from pirates—which part of that isn’t an adventure?!
Best Hawaiian Feature: Rare scenes filmed on Honopu Beach!

What makes this movie so great?

It’s a love story, it’s adventure, it’s pirates, it’s a crash-landing, it’s Harrison Ford… all the makings of an epic action-adventure movie! Fun fact: Harrison Ford did his own flying in the movie, since he’s an actual pilot. And because he’s a real-life Indiana Jones. Also, they did some shooting at Honopu Beach (also called Cathedral Beach) on Kauai, which is considered sacred by the Hawaiians and can only be accessed by swimming—no boats allowed onshore. Obviously, that is not how they got their cameras and other expensive equipment there. That’s what a little Hollywood money magic can do for you!

Jurassic Park (and all Jurassic Movies)

Type: Fantasy
Runtime: 2h 7m
Year: 1993
Adventure: Surviving a dinosaur uprising.
Best Hawaiian Feature: The stunning Kauai backdrop.

What makes this movie so great?

I’ll admit it, this one gave me nightmares! When it seems that real, it’s a well-done movie. Not to mention the music is on point—per usual since it was composed by the legendary John Williams. The producers chose Kauai because of its natural lush landscape, much of which is protected and can never be developed. It really does look like a Jurassic world. In fact, one of the unique waterfalls is nicknamed “Jurassic Falls” and can be seen only from a small airplane or helicopter tour.

Fun fact: On the last day of shooting, Kauai was hit by Hurricane Iniki, the strongest hurricane to ever strike the Hawaiian islands. It took the cast and crew by total surprise. Stephen Spielberg himself said when he turned on the news and saw it coming that day it was “like in a bad movie.” I almost hope it gave him nightmares.

Prefer the DVD? Get yours here! Or, get the trilogy here. 

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Type: Fantasy
Runtime: 1h 59m
Year: 2017
Adventure: Getting sucked into a video game and turned into your avatar in the ferocious jungle sounds pretty adventurous to me!
Best Hawaiian Feature: The pure wilderness!

What makes this movie so great?

This was a funny movie! I’m not a gamer, I don’t really get into fantasy as a genre, and I didn’t run to the theater to see it when it came out. Thankfully, however, I did get to see it in flight! This movie does a great job of showing the beauty of the jungles of Hawaii, and I love that they featured a waterfall from the Big Island, and I thought the actors did a fantastic job! Who knew the Rock could be so convincingly insecure or that Jack Black could be so completely girly?

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

Type: Comedy
Runtime: 1h 38m
Year: 2016
Adventure: More like hysterical MIS-adventure!
Best Hawaiian Feature: The Jurassic Park ATV Tour scene. Don’t be THAT tourist!

What makes this movie so great?

I’m almost embarrassed to say that I watched this. In my defense, I was on a super long-haul flight to (or from?) Singapore, and I was excited for a Hawaii fix. That said, this is not a movie to watch with your grandmother. But there are some pretty epic scenes straight out of Oahu! The movie is based on a real-life situation: two brothers really did need dates to their cousin’s wedding, and they really did put an ad on Craigslist to find their wedding dates! Keep an eye out in one of the early scenes in Hawaii; you might just spot the real Mike and Dave at the meet and greet!

Prefer the DVD? Get yours here!

Oh, and it’s also a book!

Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark

Type: Action
Runtime: 1h 55m
Year: 1981
Adventure: Original Indiana Jones film; searching for the Biblical Ark of the Covenant to find it before the Nazis do.
Best Hawaiian Feature: The “Peruvian Jungle” in the opening scenes, which was actually filmed at Kipu Ranch on Kauai!

What makes this movie so great?

Harrison Ford, epic scenery, combat scenes, near-misses, the music, you name it! Indiana Jones is one of the best movie franchises out there, and this is the original! While most of the movie was filmed elsewhere, the opening scenes (the ones that get your attention from the get-go) were filmed on Kauai, the Garden Isle. That jungle is not a set—it’s the real thing!

Another fun fact: According to IMDb, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg first started talking about making this film while building a sandcastle in Hawaii, where they were both vacationing during the premier of other films. On which island I couldn’t tell you. If you know, leave the answer in the comments section!

Prefer the DVD? Get yours here! Or, get the whole series here!

Which is your favorite? You can find more Hawaiian movies and info about all the islands on my Pacific Islands Page!

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