The full title of this post is actually "Complaints About Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa By People Who Don't Know What They're Talking About", but that's a tad too long, and I didn't want to shorten it to "Complaints About Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa By Dumbasses" because... well, that wouldn't be very nice now, would it?
Nevertheless, it made my intent very clear. You all know by now that I gave Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa  a nod of approval, and also a very favourable review. Not surprisingly, not everybody feels the same way as I do.
I don't have the statistics for it, but virtually everybody is saying that it was good "for a Malaysian movie". Now, I don't do that as a general rule. I never put the country of origin into consideration whenever I review a movie. Which is why you may or may not have noticed that I'm a harsh critic of Yusof Haslam. I think the dude is better off doing acting rather than making movies.
|Okay, maybe not... I take that back!!|
Another craptastic film maker would be Razak Mohaideen. I gotta tell you, I wouldn't waste my time watching Cinta this or Cinta that, along with other movies of similar "quality" (and I'm using that term very, very lightly) like Hantu Kak Limah Balik Rumah . If you ask me they should just send all their movies back to that garbage dump where they came from, and sell their brains to the black market while they're at it. Maybe someone will have better use for 'em.
But this isn't about me. This is me seeing Malaysia's prevalent culture of double-standard rearing its ugly head once again, and this time Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa is the victim. I understand if you don't find it entertaining because it just didn't click with you, maybe you're not a fan of the genre. After all, you can't force someone to love a local movie just because it's homemade, the same way you can't force people to love Nasi Lemak or durian just because it's a Malaysian delicacy.
But please, if you were to criticise a movie, please do so for what it was, rather than for what it was not. Check out this very lengthy review of the movie by some douche. I chose this one because it somehow encapsulates the general opinion of those not in favour of the movie;
I bet the dude was very proud of himself, crying out "You just got owned, bitch!" as he finished that last sentence. Well, if you'd like to hear my two cents, here are some of the common complaints about the movie, and my attempt to squish 'em all like little bugs.
Now, the source material is more of a mythology than actual history. Malays in the old days hardly wrote anything down, and when they did, there's always that strong fantastical and mystical overtones. Still, that guy up there made it clear that he would have preferred if the production crew adhered to the actual text, meaning instead of Merong Mahawangsa battling a warrior tribe called Geruda, he wanted to see him fight an actual Garuda.
|Because this would have been a lot less ridiculous?!|
If you want a history lesson, go read a book! Speaking of history, that leads us to the next complain...
#2 English Language
Believe it or not, there are people saying that they shouldn't be speaking English. They're (including that moron) saying that it was ridiculous for every character, comprised of various cultures and ethnicity to be able to converse in modern English. Moron up there gave a suggestion, he said it would have been a lot more plausible if they spoke "classical English".
If you're really gonna complain about this, then I should tell you that nobody spoke English back then. Heck, not even Shakespearean English existed at that time.
But you knew that already I'm sure, so why didn't you complain when nobody spoke Latin in Gladiator ? Or the fact that everybody used modern English in Pirates of the Caribbean ? Or the fact that nobody spoke Greek in Troy ? It's common sense! When I watch a movie, I want to be able to understand what they're saying.
With regards to his suggestion that they use classical English, turn on your brain for a second and think how hellish it would have been if the characters speak like they're reciting lines from Homer's Iliad.
#3 Weak Plot
Err... Exactly what were you expecting? It's a historical fantasy, and the plot clearly outlined that this story is loosely based on the actual Kedah Annals, about how he became a King and all. Just how do you think they could have improved on the story?
... If you're not saying they should have added some plot twists or something, what is it that you're saying then? Maybe I'm just drowsy, but I couldn't think of any way to spice things up. But then again, I wouldn't bother.
It was good for what it was; It held nothing back when it comes to their depiction of tribal warfare (remember the blood and gore?), some fantastical elements (the black magic) without straying too far from what's plausible.
And just so you know, the production crew did not pull the Archimedes Death Ray out of their asses, it was indeed a real weapon.
You'd be surprised by how much you could learn from watching Mythbusters. Sure, its workability is a subject for debate, but you gotta give KRU Studios credit for taking the road less travelled, and brought us this very, very memorable movie.
So to all of you who complained about any of the above, you just got owned, bitch!
#4 Complaints by Malay Supremacists
I'm a little reluctant to bring this up, because it might take the movie into the realm where the production crew tried so hard to avoid. But some dumbass brought it up anyway, and his (or her) complaints were nothing short of stupid. Observe;
Clearly this dude is a racist who would gladly whitewash history in favour of make-believe. His complaint seemed to stem from his belief that the Malay culture is absolute, like it was dropped directly from the sky or something; meaning that very the moment our ancestors arrived on these lands, immediately they shed whatever they were wearing and replaced them with tengkolok, baju melayu with kain sampin and magically pulled the keris out of thin air. And then all of a sudden they realised that they know Silat.
|Wow! These lands are so magical!!|
It is true that this is no documentary, but the events from the movie takes place way before Islam as we know it today existed. Even our Great Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) wasn't born yet. So why do the people in the movie dressed like they're of the Hindu religion? Because they were Hindu! It only make sense that the way they dressed were influenced by the culture and the deities.
Heck, you can't even call them Malays because there was no such thing back then. Just like many other cultures at the time, people identify themselves with the tribe or the village they belong to, not so much about their skin colour.
But the reason I got a little worked up about that so-called criticism? He's trying to turn an action/historical fantasy movie into some kind of a racial supremacy propaganda! That is why you should feel ashamed about yourself, instead of complaining about the *supposedly* unflattering depiction of ancient inhabitants of this land.