Friday, March 11, 2011

Review - Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa


Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa... saw the trailer... got kinda excited... it's quite rare that Malaysians attempt epics... the last one I recall was Puteri Gunung Ledang... that one was not without faults, so I was under the impression that KRU Studios might've learned a thing or two...

HMM tells the story of the title character, and how he came into his own kingdom, the Kingdom of Langkasuka... started out with an anecdote, between the Chinese and the Romans, went through India, straight to Siam/Kedah/Langkasuka (but was nameless back then)... and then to Gerouda Island... Told in story form by one of his descendants...

My colleague got the invite for the premiere and asked if I would join... of course I would... I had seen the intriguing trailer and had heard of Stephen Rahman's excellent work in PGL The Musical...

As far as I can tell, it was a good effort but can't shake the feeling that HMM was more like a mash-up between Pirates of the Caribbean and The Lord of the Rings, but achieves neither feat... which was quite a shame...

Not too sure who's to blame for some of the things that went wrong with the film... the actors? the producers? the directors? the script writers? hmmm...

Don't get me wrong... it was enjoyable enough... I wasn't yawning or plotting deaths or going out of my mind or anything like that... but some tiny minute details bothered me and brought the movie down a couple of pegs... which was quite a shame really...

Let's break it down... Stephen Rahman Hughes... the star... the one who has the meatiest role and would be on screen for most of the movie... yes, he is handsome and has nice physique, but his Malay delivery was quite bland/bad... and that pretty much ruined it for me coz he spoke Malay more than half of the movie... so who's to blame? Stephen? The director for letting him speak monotonously and without feelings? The writers who wrote his lines?

Not to say that he is a bad actor... he was quite lively when he spoke the English lines... unfortunately (and am not sure where the fault lies for this one) the attempts to make a funny kinda fall flat... it seemed that Merong, in English mode, was painted up as a cardboard cutout of Jack Sparrow... Stephen Rahman is definitely no Johnny Depp... but to be fair, Stephen Rahman did embody the charisma of a monarch... and very believable as a warrior...

Hmm, guess KRU is really trying to be the Weta of Malaysia. All of their movies have CGI and special effects. Unfortunately for this movie, you can totally see it's CGI. It's not clean. And that annoyed the hell out of me... but then again... nah, not gonna go there...
Other than that, the movie's okay... and the local actors did quite a good job actually, Gandalf and all... although there is a slight tendency for them to be a bit over the top like the Indian Bapak Ayam... Manomaniam I think...


And just as a side note, the Roman prince looks like the late Heath Ledger and Mr Fantastic... Ioan Gruffurd... like their secret love child or something, hehehe...

KRU Studios is boldly going where no Malaysian studios have gone before... attempting such monumental tasks like superhero movies (Cicakman) and Malay myths (Magika) and now tackling epics... for me their endeavor has been mostly 50-50... but one has to applaud their efforts... :)

14 comments:

mohd said...

it is just 8 million movie...

Anonymous said...

It can be an 8 million budget movie, or a hundred million budget one. Thing is, you want to do a movie, you do it right. Sure, this is their first attempt at doing an epic (wait, didn't PGL did that before????) but execution FAILED, storyline FAILED, cinematography FAILED, actors FAILED, diction and dialogue FAILED, comic and punchline is all in the wrong places (Stephen asked a soldier who's bleeding to his death, "How do you feel?" Whaaa???) - everything about the movie FAILED except 1 point - for trying.

Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa was a failure. And it just goes to prove, that Malay producers and directors and film-makers have a looooooooooooooooong way to go before they can make a really good film that is worth watching.

Sure it hurts to hear this - i'm a malay too - but i feel sorry for my own people. Quality is just not there.

The Wan And Only said...

mohd: with 8mil, you can do a lot more i think...

anonymous: yup, points for trying...

aakulahtu3(hos getah) said...

salam sila submit blog anda di http://malaysia.forumms.net/forum
dan serta kan serba sedikit post tentang blog anda di sane,jgn lupa tingakkan url blog anda di sana..
daftar free submit blog free..
sertail kami kta berforum di sana.. TQ
submit di ruangan blog

yusry lover said...

WHY DON'T YOU MAKE YOUR OWN MOVIE. I WILL WATCH IT WITH PLEASURE SINCE I KNOW YOU WILL DO IT RIGHT. HEHEHE

The Wan And Only said...

yusry lover: yeah, sure, give me 8million dollars then... hehe

Anonymous said...

I am not quite agreed that the movie is a failure. The script writing is using ancient malay, and to be truthful to you, it is indeed a beautiful one. If you ever read any of those old malays in old Kitab or old magazine, then you will know and treasure. I think you are too accustome with what current malays sound like...too harsh to please the ears of older generation like ours. But I have watched the HMM in Astro first for 2 days straight, and I guess the action is good and meaninfully, Stephan is amazing, the prince, mano maniam, umie nazira and neil ng . Even Umie Aida is powerful in her 5 mins appearance.They are all fine. But the plot is a bit simple for my liking. Anyway, it is a good start for Malaysian movie to go international. Congratulations to KRU and its crew

The Wan And Only said...

Anonymous: thanks for the comment. I respect your opinion. :)

Anonymous said...

I just watched the movie despite not being a fan of local movies. There are plus and minus points but overall I enjoyed watching it. It has revived my waning interest in the Malay pantun and puisi and in the history of Malay archipelago as never before (OMG!), furthermore it has renewed my faith in local movie making. Congratulate KRU! Hope they will make a better one after this.

Anonymous said...

i got say KRU has surely learn a thing or two form Puteri Gunung Ledang which is a total failure i`m sorry for hating that movie but its a pain just to watch,which comes to my comment on this movies the script is not that bad but i got to say at the end of the movie the CGI is sucks you can like totally tell that was a fake background but hey i give a point for trying so it`s a good effort but hoping they will do better next time..oh yeah i forgot i love love love when they use pantun and puisi in this movie makes me felt like proud being malay dont get me wrong i always love being a Malay but this increase my proudness i guess the language is quite beautiful and meaningful like Shakespeare he does not always say what he want but there always a wisdom behind his words.....

Anonymous said...

I turned of the dvd player after 20 mins of watching.

The Wan And Only said...

Three Anonymouses in a row... wow... anyway, thanks for commenting... glad the first two anonymouses enjoyed the movie... feel bad for the third anonymous person...

Anonymous said...

Turned off the VDV after 20 min??...that's stupid...but hey...it must be a pirated VDV so no harm...RM5 only...

There are several flaws (a lot) in this movie but it's a great attempt by KRU...much more better compared to PGL..Malaysia movie must go towards this direction...this is far more noble campared to Rempit, KL Drift and all of those stupid movies..(which malay like to watch..ptuih!!!)...did the number of Malay 'bohsia & bohjan' decline because of these 'sampah' movies?...NO..the youth are more interested to be a mat rempit or a drifter. Why?..you'll be serounded by a bunch of girls that you can screw...for free...that's more tempting than the "message" intended to be delivered.

Wake-up!!!

The Wan And Only said...

Anonymous: sounds like your taking it waaayyy to personally... everybody's taste is different... what's good for you doesn't mean it's gonna be good for others...

and I think I am done with all these 'anonymous' comments...