Friday, March 11, 2011

Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa [2011]

Director: Yusri "KRU" Abdul Halim
Cast: Stephen Rahman-Hughes, Gavin Stenhouse, Craig Robert Fong, Jing Lusi
Genre: Action/Historical Fantasy
Rating: Teen (violence, blood and gore)
Comment: "Patriotism aside, it was still a great movie..."

Loosely based on the ancient literature of the same name, Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa chronicles the rise of a seafaring vagrant who later becomes the founder of a proud kingdom after a chance meeting with a Roman prince. It starts as a straightforward escort mission, but quickly turns sour when they get caught in a war between local tribes.

What to Expect
1. Action-packed
2. Thrilling action
3. No overacting
4. Funny and tasteful comedy
5. Beautiful cinematography
6. Clever details

What NOT to Expect
1. Uda dan Dara, Romeo & Juliet type of romantic subplot
2. Slow-pace
Let's see what the Mamümeter has to say;

Frankly I don't understand why people are saying it was a "good try". It wasn't a good try at all, it was freakin' awesome!! I know my opinions aren't exactly being hold in high regard, but I put whatever credibility I have at stake and say that this will be one of the most entertaining movies to ever come out this year, even if you take the whole business with Patriotism out of the equation.

Notice the overt international flavour the movie had, all the while remaining distinctively Asian, which needless to say was such a pleasant surprise. I must say I remember clapping a few times in the theater (which earned me a couple of quizzical looks from other patrons), but I didn't care because I thoroughly enjoyed it.

And when I said "overt international flavour", I wasn't referring to the language. It is true that roughly 70-80% of the dialogues were in English, but I was really talking about the overall presentation. Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa is, in essence, a Historical fantasy with plentiful of nail-biting action.

I won't compare it with the likes of Pirates of the Caribbean, but for the sake of explanation, I guess you could say that this movie could hold a candle to any installment of the franchise. They both deal with similar scope, feel, atmosphere and both of them pulled it off magnificently.

He knows kung-fu, his hair is blonde, but he's not Chinese...
What I appreciate the most was definitely the lack of all the Romeo & Juliet-esque romantic subplot. I half-expected to see extended scenes of our hero and his love interest embracing each other, while delivering lines like "Kalau kau bunga, aku kumbangnya" or any other similarly cringeworthy proclamations of love. THANK GOD there was none of that, and the actual romantic subplot was done in good taste.

Once it's all said and done, you might come to realise that despite the brilliant acting, we have seen these characters before (although that is not to say this is an isolated case). But it's easy to forget about that, the movie benefited from moving at a rather fast pace, and we are treated with action sequences and exhilarating fight scenes, accompanied by some kick-ass film score.

There's no other way to say this, but the movie worked for what it was. You'll notice it too, there was plenty of small touches that are unnoticeable on their own, but they all contributed to the overall look and feel to the movie. Director Yusri knows what he wants and hardly missed a detail. So congratulations to the production team for a work well done.

If I have any complain, I'd take a shot at the narrator. I don't know why, but I had a hard time keeping a straight face listening to the narration by a guy with throat cancer. You'll understand what I mean once you've seen it.


charlie fa said...

ok i nak tgk

-fa portman

Mamü Miguel Ellezda Vies said...

alamak... apesal you letak Portman as your last name? Bikin spoil selera I jer.

FP said...

ahahahahhaa throat cancer! ;P

Mamü Miguel Ellezda Vies said...

yea... there's no other way of saying it, is there? LOL!

charlie fa said...

paling lah i sama mcm natalie portman.

A. Hicks said...

Hi Manu!

I can guarantee this:

If this film is coming from a foreign land (especially western countries), plus a title like "Empires of the Sea" (just an idea, since HMM features 2 great empires and a maritime Malay kingdom), then Malaysians will be having "Oohs and Ahhs" and smiling and tumbling out of the cinema after it's over!

So much for being a Malaysian huh?

Mamü Miguel Ellezda Vies said...

Exactly bro! Sad truth...

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