Most helpful positive review
The "Easter" Egg Race
on May 25, 2003
This movie arouses violent controversy...you either like it or hate it.
I like it.
It mixes faithful ethnographic research with a fairly interesting story (culmonating in an egg-race to beat any other). Alright, the acting is poor and the plot has some tropical-romance cliches, but the film-makers respect the facts of Easter Island's prehistory (as told in books like Aku-Aku) without the need to introduce any white explorers or other people with whom we are supposed to identify.
Nor has any attempt been made to saddle the actors with hokey native accents; they speak English with their own accents - usually New Zealand - and get on with saying whatever they have to say in unadorned fashion. Just the way it would have seemed to us if we had been part of that society. None of that "Me Tarzan, you Jane" syntax. The actors are all Polynesian, except Morales and Holt, and they seem ethnically convincing.
The love-story seems intrusively modern, but there's no reason to think such things didn't happen in ancient times. It ends up like a combination of Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies.
The masterpiece in this genre is Tabu (1931); but the 1990's were a low point in film, and Rapa Nui is one of the better efforts of the decade.