|Posted by Fred on November 22, 2012 at 10:40 AM|
December 2, 2010
My boys and I watched "RPG Metanoia" today, which is an entry in the current Metro Manila Film Festival. I found it the best way to introduce the watching of Filipino films to them. This is the first Filipino film they have watched in the movie house. They generally enjoyed it for the most part (save for a few fuzzy details), and I was happy for that. I definitely enjoyed it myself.
The story of "RPG Metanoia" is very current and relevant. It tells about Nico and his friends who are computer-game addicts to an RPG called Metanoia. When an evil force that was destroying the world of Metanoia also threatens the real world, they need to forget their personal differences and band together in order to beat the common foe.
I liked the very real Filipino characters. I liked how the relationship of Nico (voiced by Santino himself, Zaijan Jaranilla) and his parents (funny to imagine Aga Muhlach and Eugene Domingo voicing them) was portrayed. The gang of Nico was also very realistically scripted, like how I remember playing with my neighbors back then, with the misunderstandings and getting back together as playmates. I liked how they had a Chinoy (Filipino-Chinese) guy in Nico's gang. I liked how they had a girl character May teach Nico and friends about outdoor activities, as well as play an important role in the RPG conflict also.
I liked the characteristically Filipino imagery like Vigan houses used in the virtual world, the Moriones mask as the evil guy's avatar, the Filipino street games like Patintero, Tumbang Preso and Shato, etc. I liked the underlying message of warning to kids about addiction to computer games. (My 7-year old got that lesson!) The Filipino musical score by Ria Osorio and Gerald Salonga is also outstanding.
I also liked the international scope of the story, as we see the involvement of several foreign Metanoia characters in the virtual battles. There appear to be plans to distribute this to foreign countries, as the subtitles for the Korean and Japanese dialog were in English, instead of Filipino (even my 7-year old did find it odd though). I think we can be proud to have this film represent our country in festivals abroad.
OK, first of all, there is no point comparing this film to a Pixar, or even to a Dreamworks film. After all, this only the first full-length 3D computer animated film from the Philippines, so we have to cut it slack for its pioneering efforts. The animation quality is certainly more than passable. While the quality of the color palette, design neatness and the 3D can still be improved further, this is the best of local animation I have seen. This is an action film that requires a high level of sophistication in order to pass muster in terms of excitement level, and "RPG Metanoia" does so with flying colors. Kudos to Star Cinema for taking up this challenge, even if it did take five long years to make this one.