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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jan 3, 2011

Well crafted 'RPG Metanoia' is the best local animated film so far

I SPENT THE holidays with my daughter Hannah, her husband Erfe Wabe and their two kids, Louise (8) and Sammyboy (5), at Cagayan de Oro. My two apos and I bonded well together watching so many entries in the ongoing Metro-Manila Filmfest. Both born in the U.S., these two kids speak English mainly, so I had to translate most of the Tagalog lines for them. They were bored by “Tanging Ina” but they enjoyed the scene where Ai Ai de las Alas and other cast members kept on saying “Weeeeeh!” Now, they also keep on saying that all the time.

They wanted so much to see “Super Inday and the Golden Bibe”, but it’s not showing in Cagayan theatres. Guess what movie they enjoyed the most, “RPG Metanoia” from Ambient Media and Star Cinema. They wanted to see it again, but I had to go back last Sunday to Manila. Reared with TV and computer games, they got really curious with the local street games shown in the movie like tumbang preso, patintero, piko, sipa, and jolens that were standard fare for children of our generation.

The animation in “Metanoia” will not put Disney or Pixar out of business but, by local standards, it’s the best home grown cartoon flick we’ve ever seen, easily eclipsing previous works like “Ang Panday”, “Isko” and “Urduja”. The quality of the 3D graphics is definitely word class, including details in the mise en scene (we specially like the daing na bangus). Director Luis Suarez and his team of writers and animators should definitely take a bow and we’re happy to know it’s doing well at the box office even if it wasn’t that really well promoted by Star Cinema.

The lead character is a 10-year old boy, Nico, whose dad works in Dubai and whose mom often leaves him alone doing the housework. A shy clumsy boy with very few friends, he finds a supportive ally in May, a feisty girl who helps him blend well with other boys in the neighborhood. Together, they will join hands to combat some evil forces that threaten chaos not only in the cyber world but also in the real world through the multiplayer online game called Metanoia. The use of Nico’s yoyo as a weapon that gives him power to go swinging like Spiderman is a stroke of genius.

There were just some talky sequences but, overall, the film is really worth seeing as it offers very valuable messages about the importance of family, friendship and working as a team. The quality of the voice acting is also good, particularly Zaijian Jaranilla who’s just perfect as Nico. Also to be commended is the imaginative use of local songs and the splendid musical score by Gerald Salonga that never tries to unnecessarily intrude.