Friday, October 1, 2010

Review - Magika

I saw the trailer for this months back I think. Did not really care for it much, until I saw that it was gonna be a musical and there were gonna be a plethora of Malay lore legends in it.

First of, I love singing and I love musicals. So yay Magika! Also, was curious as to how they were gonna incorporate all those legends of lore into the movie. Quite a big or epic movie, this one.

So when my colleague wanted to catch this, I seized the opportunity to join her.

The story began as we see two siblings squabbling - Ayu, the older sister played by Diana Danielle and Malik, played by Fimie Don.

The news about their mother passing away was not told in details yet, but Malik threw a tantrum saying that it was all his fault and run off. Ayu was forced to go seek him out. Malik fell into a well and was transported to Magika. Unfortunately for him, he was captured by the mean Nenek Kebayan to be used for her potions making.

Ayu jumped to the rescue and wound up in Magika too. Completely lost, she tried getting some help from the locals but they were all kinda kooky.

One by one, she met up with all kinds of Malay lore legends like Puteri Bunian, or at least I think she was one (Maya Karin), Pak Pandir (Aznil), Mak Andeh (Raja Azura), Mahsuri (Vanidah Imran), Awang from the lore of Lembing Awang Pulang Ke Dayang (Norman Hakim), Hang Tuah (Saiful Apek) and the other four Hangs (the Senario crew), Badang (Mawi), who wound up helping her the most.

There are others in the movie such as Awang Kenit, Bawang Putih (Sharifah Amani), Bawang Merah (Sharifah Aleya), their mother (Adibah Noor), Puteri Gunung Ledang (Ning Baizura), Orang Minyak (Nabil) dan Penunggu Tasik Chini (M Nasir) and of course the famous Naga Tasik Cini (digital f/x).

Oh, did I mention this was a musical? Hehehe. So guess that's why most of the actors here are singers eh? Well, the ones with singing parts and meaty parts anyways...

So... did I like it? Nyeh. So-so I think. On one hand, I did kinda enjoyed it. On the other, it was kinda getting on my nerves.

As a musical, it was not bad. It sidestepped the whole Yusuf Haslam convention in the early 90s with a singing montage here and there but it had nothing to do with the storylines. Magika's songs are telling the stories so that one was a plus.

Unfortunately, some of the songs are not exactly catchy ditties and some of the songs were not even necessary. Like the ones sung by the trees. And the songs sound kinda similar to each other. And why did Diana Danielle's pronunciation of some words while she sang sounded pretentious and kinda annoying? But that's just me...

One thing I don't like about most Malay movies are the quality of the dubbing. Most of the time, the characters' expressions and mouth movements do not match the voices. Characters were screaming when they don't look like they're screaming. I mean, is it really hard to record their voices as they act? Especially since most of Magika's scenes looked like they were recorded in front of a green screen. But kudos for KRU Studios for making it look kinda real. Yup, I had to really look hard for quite a while before establishing that those were green screen shots. But I guess it's not that hard to figure out since this was an effects-laden movie.

Anyway, speaking of screaming, why is it that the siblings are always screaming. Hurt my ears larr.

In any event, the script and storylines was not too bad. Sure, some of the dialogues were kinda corny but some parts of it were funny. And the way they unfolded the backstory was quite nice as well...

The acting was not bad as well. Diana Danielle was decent in this but I did not think she could pull off the singing, except for one or two songs. Fimie Don is cute and all, but good God, stop screaming already. Both of them are good together. Quite believable as siblings.

The other people in this movie are barely cameos, except for Ziana Zain's Nenek Kebayan and Mawi's Badang.

Let me tell ya, for all the crap I hear about Mawi, and I am kinda not partial to him anyway, Mawi did a good job with Badang. But then again, Badang was not a hard character to play. Okay, okay, I should just stop at the good job he did portraying Badang. Some parts he was actually kinda funny.

Ziana Zain's Nenek Kebayan was truly annoying. That voice! Guess they were looking to make Nenek Kebayan haggardly and witchy-poo but Ziana dun look like that. And her character is the one with the most dubbing sin!

Guess the movie was aiming for over-the-top. But some over-the-top works like the Mahsuri scene. Nenek Kebayan's? Not so much. Ayu and Pak Pandir's singing/dancing extravaganza looked kinda forced and choreographed. But I get it. They're trying to emulate all those great musicals.

All in all, it's a good effort in bringing all those lore legends to life. I did not feel like I've wasted my time or my money.

Oh, before I forget... the Naga Tasik Chini... doesn't look like that right? Is it me or are the Pahang dragons of the water variety? No wings? I am a Pahang boy and remembering the stories, pretty sure they are water dragons... hehehe....