Sunday, 1 March 2009
A Movie Malaysians Can Be Proud Of !
Well after almost sixteen days in the theaters, my family finally caught the movie "Geng Pengembaraan Bermula" featuring Upin & Ipin and I must say that it was a satisfying experience. How good it was can be determined by the lack of children crying or running up and down the hallways, as they were all mostly glued to the screen enjoying the antics of the characters. Those who go to family movies knows that this is a rare occurrence, as only a very good movie can attract the short attention span of a kid. So it does speaks a lot of good for this movie when it manages does that.
Speaking about the plot, it does bring back the feel of a rural village updated with a dash of sci-fi when it tells a story of the prodigal grandson and his friend returning to his village to investigate reports of a ghostly creature terrorising the villagers' durian orchards. There they meet up with the village characters popularised in the short cartoon clip series "Upin & Ipin" and some new characters rounding up the multi racial look to the village. I like the parts on how the urban outlook is contrasted with the old but not necessarily the village ways, a bit of a homage to Lat's Kampong Boy, and there are actually a lot of nods to other things in the movie, like the alien creature taking on a Digimon-like transformation among others. I must say however that some scenes may terrify the smaller kids in the audience as it was quite realistic, kudos to the team who showed how good they are in making the 3D effects natural especially in a jungle and cave setting. However there may be some jarring in the continuity of the movie, as I read before in the production notes that the original two hour duration needed to edited to a more audience friendly time span by the financing authorities. I hope a director's cut version will be made available once this goes to DVD, as then the story flow may play out more smoothly.
Nonetheless what makes me most proud of this movie is not the fact that without much fanfare and hype it has now gone on to collect more than four million ringgit in takings after fourteen days of screening, and is now still going strong that may even break not only the box-office for a local cartoon movie but also for local feature film, a fact that is possible that the movie hall was still packed as of yesterday even for a cinema in uber cool Pavillion. Not what makes me proud is that without people actually realising it is that for the first time in a local Malay movie, the hero is an Indian kid called Rajoo and not Upin and Ipin as you might expect from all the movie posters that highlight the lovable twins. Rajoo is the guy who leads the movie although he appears only from the second part of the movie, while Upin and Ipin are only the featured characters. Only in unjaundiced youngsters's eyes can this happen and I hope that this fact will no longer be so novel in the future. You might disappointed if you had expected this post to be more of a movie review, but then I say to you don't wait and go see the movie yourself and make your own judgement. This is one Malaysian movie you can be proud of and needs your support if you want to see more homegrown high quality features . As it is the young production house is now working on their second feature, and with the success of this first may they inspire others to also bring our film and animation to higher heights. Syabas Les'Copaque!