I must admit, when I saw Dayo the first time during a forum at Mag:Net Cafe earlier this year, I wasn’t that impressed. My first impression was, “Hey, they look like the drawings on our text books!” But after I saw clips of the movie recently, I must say my opinion of the animation changed (the main character still looks like the drawings on the text books, though. But then, I guess it isn’t so bad).
Dayo is a story about Bubuy, an 11-year old human, and Anna, a 14-year old vegetarian manananggal, in their quest to save Bubuy’s grandparents from mythological creatures in the world of Elementalia.
Now, the movie isn’t out yet, so my impressions here now might still change when I see the actual movie in December. But below are some of my observations and reactions to the movie trailer and clips I’ve seen so far.
According to Dayo’s director, Robert Quilao, it all boils down to the story. I agree to some extent. First time I heard about Dayo’s story, I thought, “it’s not bad.” It’s not too complicated, which is good since they’re targeting children, but it’s probably not fantastic, either. But then, when I read the synopsis recently, it got a bit more interesting. Bubuy’s grandparents claimed Bubuy’s parents died in a transportation accident. Hoho! Secrets. (although, transportation accident? Isn’t that like one of the oldest excuse for death in the book?) Then we’ll find out Bubuy is half-enkanto or something. Hehe. The folks at Cutting Edge said they’re planning a trilogy for Dayo. I think the story will be interesting for its intended audience. I have a feeling we won’t be disappointed.
Now, here is where I’m impressed. If you’ve read my review on Urduja, one of my main problems with the film was that the charcters, especially the main characters, didn’t have character! But in Dayo, the characters had quirks and interesting tidbits to them. Take Bubuy, for example. Ok, he’s a kid who’s being bullied at school. He lives with his grandparents, and he dreams of flying. Normal. But then listen to him talk. He’s innocent and tactless at the same time! Character! What about Anna? Aswang. Rebellious teenager, but not obnoxious. And a vegetarian! Don’t get me started on the tikbalang, Narsi. Vain narcissistic tikbalang voiced by Michael V. Need I go on?
Now, I know it’s all about the story for me, too, in the past. But after a while, I noticed that more than the story, people tend to fall in love more with the characters! If you’ve got endearing characters, interesting quirky characters, they tend to worm their way into your heart and stick there longer than just the story. I’m not saying the story’s not important. Oh, no, with no good story to play in, your characters are useless. Anyway, in terms of characters, I think Dayo got it. Good job, guys!
When I toured the Cutting Edge Studio last October 4, and I saw their backgrounds, I was struck speechless. I mean, the detail of the pictures were like Hayao Miyazaki’s or some other big shot animation studio’s! They were great! They were beautiful! They were flawless!
And then I saw the characters. Simple, but good design. They thought about it well, especially the second set of wings of the aswang. The colors were very Filipino, more on the brown shade. Simple and clean three-level shading.
Then you combine the two.
Warning! The foreground is not consistent with the background. The background is very detailed but the foreground is too simple. Now, if I had the skill to make backgrounds like they did, I naturally would like to show that off, too. But if I don’t have the patience to match those beautiful backgrounds with foregrounds that would do them justice, I think it would be better not to make the backgrounds that detailed.
The key to a good scene is consistency. I’ve been taught that again and again when I used to study in Japan. Draw everything in low-detail, they told us. Then in increments, increase the detail of the entire scene. That way, if you run out of time, when you submit your work, everything is consistent and your work will not look unfinished.
That’s the thing. If the quality of your background and your foreground are not consistent with each other, it might look unfinished. Like you spent so much time with the background that you didn’t have enough time to make the foreground as good as your background. Yes, I may not realize how difficult it is to animate a movie like this. And yes, you have to make the foreground a bit simpler so that it doesn’t get eaten up by the background. But in my opinion, just my opinion, a little more detail (like t-shirt prints, clothes design, hairstyle, or even a few accessories that go beyond just plain gold rings) would go a long way. Just my opinion.
Exectutive Producer of Dayo, Jessie Lasaten, showed us some clips of Dayo with music. Beautiful. And their choice of artists for the soundtrack: Lea Salonga, Joey Ayala, etc, is really good. And with an orchestra to play the score, I think this is going to be great!
Overall, the dubbing is alright… except for the children. Bubuy, particularly. There are scenes when he gets a little too shouty. The older characters are great, though.
All in all, though, I think Dayo is a great piece of work, and deserves all the support we can give. Dayo will be out in theaters in December 2008 under Cutting Edge Production. Watch out for it. I know I will. 🙂