Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa || A piece of Malaysian Cinematic History

Truthfully, I have never been this excited to see ANY Malay movie at the cinemas. With the local film industry churning out one bad horror flick after another, my interest was practically nil. That all changed after I saw the trailer for KRU's latest movie a few months ago. It really looked as if it had potential!

So after gathering all my roomies, we headed off to watch it. We actually took public transport! That should cast a little light as to the effort that we were willing to invest in watching this movie. 

source: Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa Facebook Fan Page

Yusry Abdul Halim

Stephen Rahman-Hughes as Merong
Gavin Stenhouse as Marcus Carprenius
Jing Lusi as Princess Meng Li Hua
Craig Robert Fong as Admiral Liu Yun
Dato' Rahim Razali as Kesum
Khir Rahman as Kamawas
Wan Hanafi Wan Su as Taji
Ummi Nazeera as Embok

Basic plot 

In an effort to unite two of the most powerful forces of the ancient world, Rome and China decide to marry off it's prince and princess. The Golden Chersonese, a land with no king was to be the place of this union. The Romans, with forces depleted by the raging seas are forced to enlist the help of Merong, a fearless warrior (and self-proclaimed descendant of The Great Alexander) on his own quest of self-discovery. When Garuda pirates kidnap the Chinese Princess and all but hope is lost, will Merong be able to lead the his people, the Romans and The Chinese army towards his destiny?

What I liked about the movie

The visuals were breathtaking. Each scene was simply a feast for the eyes and senses. The fight scenes were well choreographed and immensely bloody. The actors were likable (or hate-able when appropriate). There were many light-hearted moments and tear-jerking moments too. The formal speech (which I despise in present day movies and tele-movies) did not seem out of place due to the fact that it was a period movie. Most of the actors were perfect for their role and the genuine friendship and comraderie between the main characters transcended the silver screen. Although probably every female member of the audience left the cinema drooling over Stephen Rahman Hughes, I must admit that I was far more enamoured by the sweet and understated performance of Gavin Stenhouse. I also enjoyed the amazing villanous skill of Khir Rahman who made it a pleasure to feel contempt and hate towards a character, bravo! 

What I disliked about the movie

Not much. I cringed at every blood spurt but artistically speaking it did make the fight scenes more authentic. The only scene that seemed a little "fake" was the the Archimedes death ray scene. Probably if the contraption was made much bigger (I think it was featured on Mythbusters once). 

A quote I liked from the movie

"Empangan kalau dah dibuka, masakan boleh ditahan airnya" (Ahaha, simply because of the audience reaction to it)

Rating: 4.8/5

Congratulations to everyone involved in the making of this movie especially Yusry (definitely not biased here..hehe). I sat in that movie theatre and knew that I was watching HISTORY being made. This movie has set a new standard for Malaysian cinema. Hopefully, it will get all the support and recognition that it deserves. 

Yusry, Gavin & Stephen (source: HMM Facebook Fanpage)


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