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Island of the Menehune

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Island of the Menehune was the third feature telefilm based on the Rocket Power cartoon series. It was transmitted on Nick US on 7/16/2004.

The Rocket Power gang (Otto Rocket, sister Reggie, and friends Sammy Dullard and Twister Rodriguez) accompany paterfamilias Raymundo Rocket and his business partner Tito Makani to O'ahu for a well deserved vacation, the occasion being a reunion of Tito's extended family (Brooks Almy voices Tito's mom). Otto becomes fixated on the prospect of surfing the North Shore's Banzai Pipeline. The kids hook up with young Makani cousins Keoni and Leilani (voiced respectively by Matty Liu and Tinashe Kachingwe, the latter of whom had an uncredited role in the movie Masked and Anonymous) who take them on a cross-country bicycle race where they discover one of the menehunes' heiau, from which Sam, probably more out of curiosity than greed, covertly pilfers a small statue.

Once the gang has settled in, Raymundo is smitten by Tito's cousin Noelani (voiced by Kim Mai Guest), who was best friends with his late wife Danielle (voiced in flashback by Shayna Fox, the voice of Reggie) who had died when Otto and Reggie were very little. Spending lots of quality time together, the two suddenly become over-protective: a planned horseback riding outing becomes a pony ride; the kids already wearing helmets and gloves for an ATV excursion are issued jackets (!) and pads and told to go slow; a planned helicopter tour is foregone due to wind. It is revealed that Noelani some years previous had been tandem-surfing Pipe with another friend of hers, who disappeared after their surfboard broke in a bad wipeout; hence her cautious nature.

Bad luck?

In a canoe race, Ray elects to remain ashore with Noelani, leaving Tito and the foursome to crew a six-person boat. Complicating matters further is Sam being frightened by the appearance of a jellyfish. Strangely, this results in the wooden (or plastic) boat eventually sinking out from under them. In other instances, Otto has close calls in a surfing wipeout, and is dragged into deep water while hanging onto a turtle when free-diving. While at their treehouse accommodations at the Makani ranch, Twister's precious camcorder and favorite swim trunks go missing, forcing him to employ some humourous and drastic counter-measures. Sam begins to think, at first privately, that the menehune are responsible for what's going on, and that his taking the statue was the proximate cause of all these untoward occurrences.

Rough seas

The entourage eventually visits the Pipeline when it's in a particularly rough mood. Raymundo declares a well-informed no-go. Otto — and then Reggie — begin to act out, and on another day decide to surf the Pipeline on their own, the sibs getting washed into a shoreside cave in a scenario eerily reminiscent of a well-publicised January 1993 incident. Raymundo goes in after them, and the three are eventually rescued due to Twister's vigilance (Noelani plays a significant part as well).

The film is notable in the Rocket Power canon for revealing (among other backstory) the appearance and given name of Otto and Reggie's late mother, which for a long time remained a subject of curiosity among the show's fans (although the episode never elaborates on the cause of death, despite KC's promise to the contrary [1]). A character stating in the context of an episode that someone important had died also appears to have lifted a long-standing Nickelodeon taboo on the use of the word "death". The film ends as Raymundo reveals to Tito his plans to ask Noelani for her hand in marriage, foreshadowing The Big Day.

Trivia

  • Steve Guttenberg, of Police Academy fame, is a voice in this telefilm. He had starred with Lombardo Boyar in the movie P.S.: Your Cat Is Dead!
  • Sammy's confession that he "pulled a Bobby Brady" pulls Rocket Power into the Tommy Westphall continuum, as he could not have made this statement unless he was familiar with the Hawaii trip story arc on season 4 of The Brady Bunch.

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