The main islands of Hawaii has a long and deep connection to Hollywood (think The Descendants, Aloha, 50 First Dates, etc.), but, now, the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are getting a shot at stardom.
That’s because they play a starring role in a new, short documentary film called “Lightning Strikes Twice,” which is the real-life sequel to “In The Heart of the Sea,” starring Chris Hemsworth and opening this weekend.
Wednesday night, Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument (PMNM) held a special screening event featuring “Lightning Strikes Twice” and “In the Heart of the Sea” to showcase the connection between the Hollywood movie and the most remote protected area on Earth.
The movie “In the Heart of the Sea” tells the story of the true events that inspired Herman Melville’s novel “Moby-Dick.” In 1820, the New England whaleship Essex, captained by George Pollard, Jr., was rammed and sunk by a sperm whale, leaving the crew adrift at sea for more than ninety days in three tiny life-boats in the South Pacific. Pushed to their limits and facing storms, starvation, panic and despair, the survivors resorted to the unthinkable to stay alive. Captain Pollard is one of the few survivors that returned to Nantucket.
But, that’s not where the story ends.
“Lightning Strikes Twice” tells what happened next. Captain Pollard was given command of another whaleship, the Two Brothers, and optimistically set sail for the Pacific once again, believing the old adage that “lightning never strikes in the same place twice.” Unfortunately, in his case it did when, in the middle of the night on February 11, 1823, the Two Brothers struck a reef and came to rest in what is now Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
Produced by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries for PMNM, “Lightning Strikes Twice” depicts the Two Brothers’ saga and the research surrounding its discovery.
“Film is an incredibly powerful way to share stories of exploration and discovery in remote places like Papahanaumokuakea,” said PMNM Maritime Archaeologist Dr. Kelly Keogh. “The movie ‘Lightning Strikes Twice’ has helped the story of the Two Brothers come alive to hundreds of viewers. And now, with the release of ‘In the Heart of the Sea,’ we will be able to reach many more people.”
About 200 people attended Wednesday night’s special event, which included an advanced screening of “In the Heart of the Sea,” directed by Ron Howard.
“We are grateful to Warner Bros. for the opportunity to make this special connection with their film,” said Athline Clark, PMNM Superintendent for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. “These two films are a reminder of the history of whaling in the Pacific, and its impacts upon the Hawaiian archipelago. These stories connect our past to our future and highlight the connection from one part of the world to another.”
“Lightning Strikes Twice,” will be included as a special feature on the DVD release of Warner Bros.’ “In the Heart of the Sea” in early 2016, and can also be viewed online here.
“Watching the two films together is a great window into the maritime heritage of our region,” said Keogh.
Viewing the films may also inspire you to take your own deep-sea adventure! When you book a Maui Sport Fishing excursion through Hawaii Aloha Travel, you’ll be treated to an afternoon of reeling-in your own catch. Tours last anywhere from two to nine hours, with all fishing gear and equipment provided.
Hollywood may not be calling to document YOUR excursion, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have the adventure of a lifetime!