On December 19, 2008, I went to the Red Carpet Premiere of Dayo. I was so looking forward to watching this movie. And my overall impression is, it’s good. People should go watch it. It’s enjoyable, it has endearing characters, and the music is absolutely beautiful. Is it world class quality? Well, the movie’s not quite there yet, but we’re getting there. Definitely, we’re getting there. Dayo’s almost there.
And so here are my observations:
REASONS TO WATCH THE FILM
Forget watching it just because it’s the first fully digital Filipino animation. This movie is enjoyable and should be watched with the purpose of being entertained. Bubuy, the 11-year old hero of the film, is the type of character that worms his way quite close to your heart. One of the best things about this film, in my opinion, is its characters. They are well-developed and well-thought of. They have quirks. And when you watch them, you get the feeling that when they were being created, the writers weren’t just making them for the sake of producing a Filipino animated film.
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Another good point about this movie is you see things that can intrigue you. You see a girl in the photograph. But Bubuy claims she wasn’t his mother. And they left it at that. Intrigue! In another part, Lola claims Lolo was very fast when he was young. Just like a horse. Hm hm! What does that mean? Makes one think Lolo has tikbalang blood. Intrigue! Because of these, one would see that the story is bigger than the movie. This is a good thing, because one must remember, the film is merely a medium. What you’re telling is the story.
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The one thing I would give an A+ to Dayo for, is the music. “Lipad” is a beautiful song, and Leah Salonga is a wonderful singer. Plus, the score was great! And the timing of the music, and the choice of the music, and the feel of the music, they all just clicked with Dayo. Really wonderful. Really beautiful. Definitely their strongest point.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
One of the things in the movie that is a little weak is their compositing. They haven’t quite nailed the art of combining 3D, 2D and pictures seamlessly just yet. Great compositing means it becomes difficult to tell which is 3D, 2D or picture; or at least it is combined in such a way that it blends well with one another. Though the lighting and the camera angles are okay, the difference between the three forms is still quite big. But hey, not even Disney got it perfect the first time they combined 3d and 2d. Nothing to be discouraged about, but something to look into for improvement.
Consistency of Intricacy
Like I said in an earlier post, Dayo’s backgrounds are sometimes more intricate than the foreground. Yes, in animation, definitely the foreground is supposed to be simpler than the background. But not to the point where it would look like the background team put more effort in their work than the foreground team. If you want the background realistic, then your foreground has to be quite realistic, too. Maybe not as many levels of shading, but more creases maybe, and a little more detail. You want a more comical look to your characters, lessen the detail on the backgrounds just a tad. What happened with Dayo is many of their backgrounds look like something out of a Hayao Miyazaki film, then their foreground looks like it was taken from a Tender Juicy hotdog ad. And the backgrounds themselves are of different level of detail, too. The school is a lot less detailed than Elementalia.
Cut Scenes and Animation
I’m going to have to watch the movie again to give my full comments on this, but the cuts change so fast, it’s a little distracting. And while the animation is okay, it’s still not very consistent. You could still clearly see parts with smooth animation, and parts that are a little choppy.
ALL IN ALL
All in all, I would recommend watching the movie. The things I talked about above in “Room for Improvement” are exactly that. Just things to improve upon. Not things that would condemn Dayo as a flop. Like I said, Dayo is fun, it has a nice story, and it has great music. Congratulations to everyone who was part of the production of the film! I enjoyed it.
ON A SIDE NOTE
During the ending credits, when I saw how many different studios from all over the country helped in coming up with Dayo, it reminded me of the first animated short we did in college. It was an 11-minute animation where we pitted our teachers against each other, Celebrity Death Match-style. The animation itself wasn’t great, but we had an interesting story going. And it was probably the only group project where everyone really participated. There were challenges along the way, definitely. We even forgot to include the sound when we were rendering the movie on the day of the presentation (and we didn’t have time to re-render it). But after everything, once we finally presented the movie, the sense of fulfillment was so great we felt it was all worth it, and that the short was a masterpiece.
To the people responsible for Dayo: well done!