Sunday, December 05, 2004

Really, this year's Asian Media Festival Film Showcase had paltry publicity. Maybe next year's will be better publicised at the very least.

Incidentally, it ended last Friday with Puteri Gunung Ledang.

Like any other legend, the one about the Fairy Princess of Gunung Ledang has quite a few variants, but the one used in Puteri Gunung Ledang is really a synthesis of elements from the main legend and others concerning Hang Tuah. It seems that the driving force behind the new fusion was a desire to suffuse the film with a universal appeal. There's nothing wrong with that, and this is not one of the Puteri Gunung Ledang's flaws.

The film is badly in need of more editing. It moves slower than a lame tortoise and many scenes could have been culled without affecting any narrative or character development. The acting is decent -- in fact Tiara Jacquelina is the main reason why I ultimately found the film watchable -- but the leads have zero chemistry whatsoever. The reunion scene was especially painful to watch. As for action, considering that this is the first time anyone in Malaysia is making something as big as this, the fights are good if slightly cheesy. The costuming is quite impressive as well.

I have to admit that the novelty of the whole thing was probably what kept me in my seat the whole time. Well, that and Tiara Jacquelina. Still, the film is a breath of fresh air in our Hollywood-saturated cinemas, and I think it's a pity no-one's picked this up for general release here yet. Besides, nature's sacrifice has already been made.

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