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Review of MMFF 2020 entry ‘Magikland’: Spectacular scenes meant for the big screen

Magikland
MAgikland

MAGIKLAND’ is an ambitious fantasy-adventure flick produced by Lore Reyes and the late Peque Gallaga, who earlier gave us “Magic Temple” and “Magic Kingdom”, for Brightlight Productions. This time, they got a new director, Christian Acuna, whose more fluid way of storytelling is quite better than his mentors.

Magikland
Magikland

The movie is a magical journey about four heroic kids to save a fantasy land in peril, Magikland, which is actually a video game they play on their cellphones. The film’s story is rooted in ancient myths in Negros and pays homage to their local heroes who are featured in the Magikland theme park located in Silay City.

The story starts in Magikland which is about to be wiped out by a usurper, Magrodo-or (Jaime Zabarte), who wants to be the ruler not only of their kingdom but the entire world. Four saviors are needed to defeat him and save Magikland.

In our own world, it’s Christmas eve and we first meet Miggs Cuaderno as Boy, the son of Jaclyn Jose who’s dying in her hospital bed while her relatives Jackielou Blanco, Agot Isidro, Rowell Santiago and Luis Alandy are all blaming Boy.

Then we meet sisters Elijah Alejo as Mara and Princess Rabara as Kit. Their parents are Maricel Laxa and Audie Gemora who are already separated but they are together for their noche buena dinner. The sisters are always fighting as one is loyal to their mom while the other sides with their father.

The last boy is Joshua Eugenio as Pat, an unkempt orphan and streetkid who chances upon a stolen cellphone. All of them are playing the Magikland video game on their cellphone and they become the top four winners in the mobile app’s final Christmas challenge. They all then get to meet each other in person and are sucked in by the portal that takes them to Magikland.

Upon reaching Magikland, they get help from Mama Mandalagan (Bibeth Orteza), who becomes their adviser in their journey to get four amulets that will help them as they face a series of dangerous challenges in their quest to get a magical breastplate, bracelet, hammer and sword they will need in their crucial fight against the villain.

The film imparts very positive values concerning the importance of unity, courage, faith, teamwork, friendship, loyalty and love. It comes out as a modern fairy tale, a marvelously realized flight of pure fantasy that creates an entire new world. This utterly enchanting family treat is a perfect holiday movie for kids of all ages that should leave them with wide-eyed wonder.

It has enough exciting action scenes with dazzling sets and stunning imaginative special effects that make use of animation and green screen/rear projection. It was shot on various locations and the best is the Minalungao River in Nueva Ecija where the kids encounter some fish people. There are many fantastic creatures created for the film but the best is the Bakunawa, a fire breathing dragon who becomes the kids’ ally.

The spectacular production design and the art direction involve a lot of imagination and only a certified grinch would dislike this kiddie flick that is a delight on various levels. It may have cost a mint to bankroll it but it has loads of charm and wonder going for it, with a magical narrative that will surely fascinate tot viewers.

All the four kids who play the lead roles give solid performances in their respective roles. Miggs Cuaderno is the most veteran among them, having started as a child actor who has done several films and TV shows. He and Elijah Alejo are currently in the afternoon TV series, “Prima Donnas”.

Princess Rabara and Joshua Eugenio are first timers but both very competent. Joshua has a charming screen presence, shows much promise, and he’s on the verge of adolescence as his voice is already cracking.

They are supported by a big cast of name stars who play various cameo roles. Aside from those we’ve already mentioned, we also saw in the movie Mylene Dizon, Jun Urbano, Jackielou Blanco, Paolo Contis, Katrina Halili, Ryan Eigenmann, Geoff Eigenman, Lotlot de Leon, Valeen Montenegro, Chanel Latorre, etc.

The ending of the film is a tribute to the late Peque, showing an animated version of him walking against a giant full moon and giving the audience a final farewell with his hand. Those who personally know Peque will be teary eyed. Somehow, we feel sad for the movie as it’s just being released via streaming when it truly deserves to be seen on the big screen as it offers a lot of breathtaking spectacles.

Publication Source :    People's Journal
Mario Bautista
Former member: Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino (Urian)