There is never a moment that I was proud enough to watch any movie, that I watch it thoroughly, even to the point reading the end credits. Not until last Saturday, after I watched Geng: Pengembaraan Bermula (Geng).
And I was not kidding about reading the end credits. The whole freaking end credits. And I even scolded at the projector operator for cutting it a couple of minutes (i think) short.
Geng, had been on the news since a couple of years back, when they started a series of interviews on the movie. Les Copaque, the animation company behind Geng, also released a series of 5 minutes episodes, especially during the fasting month of Ramadan.
But then, they are quite apprehensive about audience acceptance of another Malaysian animation, after the relative failure of over-hyped animations, like Silat Lagenda and Puteh. But after seeing how audience loved the main
characters used in the mini-series, Upin and Ipin, I guess they think it’s time to release the big kahuna.
Geng is a simple children’s story of a city kid, Badrol, and his pal Lim, who went back to Badrol’s hometown, to investigate a story about “Hantu Durian” (Durian Ghost) as told by Badrol’s grandfather, Tok Dalang, on a news report.
It is simple that half way, I’ve already know who or what the culprit was, although it didn’t change the fact that
this movie is darn enjoyable.
Bear in mind, that this is a cartoonish production, not a serious movie. Once you have that set in mind, the journey is no where near boring. Laughs are aplenty, from start to the end. The supporting characters, especially Upin and Ipin, provides the gags that are genuinely cute and funny, and not cheap. Kudos to the writers in that department.
The visual are nice too. Even when we are accustomed to those from Dreamworks and Pixar, still, Geng’s visual are nowhere near skimpy. I’ve seen similar treatment way back in 2004-2005 in a final year project portfolio, so I’m guessing the same animator responsible for the look and feel of Geng.
It’s just, at times, the animations are too fast, such in case of the snake chases, where it loses a bit of it’s niceness.
In other times, the animations are smooth as silk, and pair that with a funny script and a bunch of cute characters, it’s hard to get it wrong from there.
Audio wise, I would say it is better than most Malaysian movies. The lip-snyching are done prefectly, losing all sense of dubbing, and the lines are both funny and cute. Everthing that both a kid or a grown-up can relate to and laugh together. There no overly witty lines that goes beyong the head of a child, so don’t worry about bringing your kid to watch it.
But I believe that Les Copaque should be very clear about the age limit. I mean, the end fight are pretty intense, and scary. Even for some of the adults (my partner were clutching my hand until some time after the fighting scene ends). Pair dark visuals and convincing sound effects, and you’ll get kids to cry. Hey, if they even cry when watching Tai Lung ran amok in Kung Fu Panda, then they’re better off watching it in the comforts of their own fully lit home.
Having said that, I love the snake and the animals. Much attention to details have been put on their movement, and the snake does look scary. The final bout even seem like a smaller, cartoonish version of King Kong versus T-Rex.
The pacing, was typical, and while it does have it’s dynamics, the graph is pretty flat towards sugar-high. I guess they don’t want the kids to be boring. Luckily, they didn’t resort to use slapstick too much, since this is where many animations fail to balance. Put in too much slapstick in a sugar-high animation, and the only ones enjoying are the 5-year-olds..
Logic? I don’t want to discuss logic in a cartoon. Especially when the kids end up on top of a hill, after going for a downhill ride.
All in all, Geng is a polished movie, set to entertain both adults and the children. It is light, but also beware, some of the scene might not be suitable for minors. Having said that, I am still proud of those behind this movie, that I hope they’ll continue the good work. The first is usually the best since you have all the time in the world, but the next step defines the path Les Copaque will be threading soon. The Pengembaraan (Journey) had just begun!