Dayo sa Mundo ng Elementalia

December 24, 2008 at 10:04 am (Animation Review, Opinion) (, )

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

Characters
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.

//*Start Spoiler Alert!//

Story
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.

//*End Spoiler Alert//

The Music
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

Compositing
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!

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The Sorry State of the Philippine Komiks Industry

November 25, 2008 at 1:10 pm (Opinion) (, , )

During the Komikon, the guys of Culture Crash got reunited and answered some questions for their fans. For a lot of us at the Komikon, that made our day. I love Culture Crash. I don’t care what anybody says. Sayang lang, the stories may never be finished. One of the questions raised was what their reaction was to a certain criticism. They were using the anime style, and were therefore branded as not Filipino.

James Palabay answered it well, but it got me thinking. Not about styles. But about how people liked to bring down other people who threatened or had the potential to be better than them. It was not only Alanguilan’s comment on Culture Crash’s art. My sister bought “Trese” during the Komikon. It’s a comic book from Visual Print Enterprise and Alamat that features a detective story with a Philippine Mythology twist. I loved it! But my friends, who were also aspiring comic artists, only said that the art was nothing great.

Let’s face it. Komiks is not a lucrative business in the Philippines. But this is, I think, because of a few problems in the people in the industry. If we adress these problems, I think the Komiks Industry has a chance. I could be wrong but this is what I think. And I say this not just to people out there, but to myself, as well.

1.) COLONNIAL MENTALITY – Let’s face it. Most of us, especially the upper class, think foreign is better. And we’ll argue, “Eh, it’s true. What we make locally are crappy.” I, myself, am guilty of this. Most of the local comics I see around I ignore. Why? Because deep inside, I feel like they’re all just Japanese wannabees. (But I shouldn’t talk. My style’s also anime) Who’s at fault here? The buyer who doesn’t want to buy, or the wannabee comic creator? BOTH!

Solution: Make better quality work, and give the local works a chance by becoming a fan of at least three local komiks.

For the comic creators, I personally find nothing wrong if one wants to write about something other than Filipino Myths. If a creator wants to make a comic that’s set in Japan, I have no problem with that. What I have a problem is, is the creator who makes comics about a place he hardly knows about. Just because one watches anime doesn’t make one an expert in Japan. They insert Japanese phrases in their comic book. But the usage isn’t correct! Yes, the creator knows the meaning. But does he know the formal and informal way of speaking and when to use them? Research! Kaoru Mori, the creator of the manga, Emma, wrote about England and about maids. She’s into the maid fettish thing in Japan? Probably, considering she has more than one comic book about maids. But she didn’t just write about the Japanese’s romantic idea of maids. She researched about the time period, the events of that period, the social structure of that period. And what she came up with, in my opinion, is a very well-researched and well-thought of book that has depth and can be appreciated by people other than just those with a maid fettish.

For the readers, it’s hard to break the thinking that local is poorly made, especially when it has been true before. But there are companies nowadays who are trying. And there is good content out there. They just have to be given a chance. We have to change our thinking that a local comic book is not worth my P50. We buy foreign comics that cost thousands of pesos, but we won’t buy our own? It sounds like we’re deliberately killing our industry! Besides, as my mom says, if someone took the time to write something, then we should take the time to read it. Time is a precious commodity, whether it’s an American, a Japanese, or a Filipino who uses it.

2.) CRAB MENTALITY – We like pulling people down, especially when they’re starting to go up (And we’ll never admit it openly that they’re going up). When my friends and I were talking after the Komikon, their reaction towards the other comic groups was like, “They’re not that good. They didn’t even sell much.”

Solution: If you’re not close with the creator, ignore the bad, praise the good. If you’re quite close, give suggestions to improve the bad (without saying, “You suck!” and adding, “Don’t get offended but,” in the beginning doesn’t make it ok) and don’t forget to praise the good (the ego of a creator is a beast. It has to be fed constantly). And if you’re the creator, learn to take criticisms graciously.

Friendly competition is good. As long as you keep it friendly. As some of you may know, my two friends and I put up a poll for our free online komiks (PLUG: Go to www.komikasi.com for FREE COMICS!). The story with the highest votes by the end of the year will come out first. And this is friendly competition. I get to see their work and compare them to mine. Then I can see that Martin has great details, and Jon has great anatomy. And I go, hmm, I should add more details to mine, and fix my anatomy so the quality of my comics would be better. They do the same, they look at the other two’s work and improve theirs. And we tell each other how we can improve our works, share techniques, and not get angry when there’s something that has to be fixed.

What we shouldn’t do is bash the other groups. We mustn’t curse them or wish they’d do bad. (And as a writer/creator, you of all people should know the power of words). Instead, we should help each other up, for the sake of the Industry.

3.) THE FEAR OF THOUGHT – As the creator of Talecraft, I see this a lot. Many people here are afraid of thinking. They either see themselves as dumb, or think that the majority of the population is dumb. They would say, “Oh, that’s just for smart people.” Like as if most of them are not smart! Yes, the literacy rate is quite low here. But I think it’s brought about by how people see people! They don’t put any priority on education because they see it as something they won’t be good at anyway.

Creators are also sometimes lazy to create more complex stories. They always also think that people in the Philippines are generally too dumb to understand it. But we watch Matrix, don’t we? And it’s philosophical, and we analyze and appreciate it, don’t we?

Solution: Research. And don’t be afraid to think! This will help us make world-quality stories. Don’t assume that people are dumb. Because if you say they are, then they will be.

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