People interested in the Metro Manila Film Fest 2010 have already been talking about Rosario and while I love that movie, reading Melai’s in-depth review of it already blew all the words right out of my head. So I’ll just concentrate on RPG Metanoia, the first Filipino full-length 3D animated feature.
One of the reasons why I was so interested in Metanoia is that some of our graduates (at the Asia Pacific College) worked on this project, even if they claim to have only done a small part of it. Another reason is that I wanted to see how far we Filipinos have come in terms of storytelling. I am mostly concerned about this because many of our local animation schools concentrate too much on the technical details, leaving out the most important aspect of an animated film: entertainment value.
Yes, one might name a few MINOR complaints: about discrepancies in the lighting imports (which result in inconsistent lighting quality); lack of gamma correction; other aspects being overly animated while some lacking in animation; background music drowning out the characters’ voices, etcetera etcetera etcetera…
BUT I found myself totally engrossed.
Having been a video gamer for more than half my life and having worked as a Gameplay Specialist for Level Up! Inc. a few years ago, I can totally relate to the MMORPG addiction. Protagonist Nico, however, is a lot like me — I prefer gaming alone. (That’s why I haven’t touched another MMORPG after I left LU. I keep to regular RPGs now.)
What surprised me about Metanoia, though, is that it didn’t just concentrate on the game world or the addiction itself. Don’t get me wrong. Its premise isn’t exactly original. Players suddenly falling into real life comatose because of an unknown virus that attacks the game world smacks of .hack//, a series of Japanese RPGs for the Sony Playstation 2. (For those who aren’t into gaming, but want to understand what I’m talking about, you can refer to the preceding anime series, .hack//SIGN.) What makes Metanoia such a riveting watch — certainly over the dialogue-heavy .hack//SIGN — is how the concept was localized.
Sure, a good chunk of the movie is set in the game world, but the significance of real-world games to child development are also incorporated. I suddenly found myself transported back to my pre-video game days of patintero, jolens and habulan. Heck, I was even reminded of the way our neighbors’ dogs would chase me down the street as I biked with one leg (the other would always be held up just to avoid being bitten).
The story just flows so easily; the pacing and beat changes kept me glued to my seat. I also appreciated the choreography of the fight scenes. Those were just…wow! And despite the unbalanced audio, I found myself in love with Gerard Salonga’s musical scoring.
To think, only yesterday I was lamenting how the Mexicans are already working on projects such as Tron: Legacy while we Filipinos are still venerating shallow comedies… Thank goodness for Metanoia.
So with this, I congratulate our local animators for pulling such a feat off. It’s not a perfect production, but it’s chock full of entertainment values.
For a more technically detailed review of RPG Metanoia, you can visit my other blog. My BFF Cris Dumlao wrote from an animator’s perspective.
Image credits: http://www.therpgmovie.com. Check out the official website for more fun things to do.