Backstory: 'RPG' : Vivid, action-packed
By Lea Salonga
Philippine Daily Inquirer
December 23, 2010
HERE IN MANILA on Christmas Day and for two weeks thereafter, all the movie theaters put away the reels that contain imported movies. Instead, the cinemas show only locally made films as part of the Metro Manila Film Festival, now in its 36th year.
The Film Fest (as it’s normally called) has produced some amazing pieces of cinema that are now considered classics, such as “Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon,” “Burlesk Queen,” “Kisapmata,” “Himala,” “Karnal,” “Bulaklak ng City Jail” and “Jose Rizal.”
As with most years, there are comedies (“Ang Tanging Ina Mo Rin and Father Jejemon”), fantasy films (“Ang Agimat ni Enteng” and “Super Inday and the Magic Bibe”), horror/suspense flicks (“Dalaw” and “Shake Rattle and Roll XII”), and dramas (“Rosario”).
This year, though there is one animated film featured, a co-production of Star Cinema and AmbientMedia titled “RPG Metanoia.” At press time, this was the only film that I had the chance to see (I do promise to view at least two ore tree more of the official entries).
“RPG” (by Thaumatrope Animation) is rendered from start to finish in 3D. The characters, backgrounds, special effects, even the leaves on the trees, a sari-sari store and the underbelly of a parked jeepney are all in 3D.
The story begins in Metanoia, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (think of World of Warcraft, or Ragnarok). Nico (voiced by Zaijian Jaranilla, better known as Santino in the ABS-CBN telenovela “May Bukas Pa”) is leading Zero, his avatar, through the bowels of this virtual world. He’s battling three-headed monster and milling about humanoid walking light bulbs until his mother (Eugene Domingo) reminds him that it’s late and it’s time to head to bed.
Sounds like Nico is pretty darn awesome as the video game’s hero. Well, he is, but unfortunately he’s a “zero” in real life, physically awkward and inept. A pickup game of basketball with the neighborhood kids only serves to embarrass him as well as expose his weaknesses - hence his decision to only excel in the virtual world.
His barkada are also Metanoia players, each with a special ability or impressive weaponry.
However, following one afternoon of playing the game and losing a bet with the resident bullies, the group is forced out of the Bomb Shelter (their computer gaming haven) for a week. It is in this one week that evil spreads throughout the game and poses a threat to every player around the world.
Also lending their voice talents to “RPG” are Aga Muhlach, Vhong Navarro, Eugene Domingo and Mika de la Cruz.
I was present at the premiere a couple of Sundays ago. With a bag of popcorn in hand and 3D glasses balanced on the bridge of my nose, I was ready to rock. I had already seen an evaluation copy of the movie a few nights earlier, but really wanted to see how a large audience would react.
Well, everyone int he theater was screaming their heads off in support. After all, this is somewhat groundbreaking, as far as Pinoy animation is concerned.
Let’s be honest for a moment. As far as animation quality goes, it isn’t as smooth as any Pixar or Dreamworks movie. I wasn’t sure if this was due to the digital movie player, or production equipment limitations. That said though, I found myself completely absorbed in Nico’s world, both the real and the virtual.
“RPG” as a film, with its vivid images, tight storytelling and amazing, action-packed musical scoring (by Gerard Salonga and Ria Osorio), has much that many filmmakers in our country can learn from. Not once does it patronize its viewers or dumb down its delivery. Instead, it spins its yarn from a very real place, and takes us along for an exciting ride.
We sympathize with our hero and root for him to win, at whichever turn he takes in real life and in the game. In this little guy, we see ourselves, battling scary monsters bigger than us, and, as in many other 3D animated films, winning, of course.
To AmbientMedia, Star Cinema, Thaumatrope, FILharmoniKA, and every single human being involved in the making of the movie (which took more than five years), I wish you all the best of luck.
“RPG Metanoia’s” soundtrack is released by StarRecords. Copies are now available at your favorite record bars. For more information on the film, visit http://therpgmovie.com.
Songbird weds Songwriter
By the time you read this, Mr. Ogie Alcasid and Ms Regine Velasquez have now officially become Mister and Missus! To these two wonderful people, I wish you nothing but wedded bliss and a lifetime of making beautiful music together. Congratulations!
Reason for the season
And finally, in the season of parties, school breaks, last-minute shopping and rushing around, let’s take a quiet moment to ponder the real reason for the season: the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Have yourselves a very Merry Christmas!
lea salonga on glee ~
if they cast her on glee. the show will definitely shine differently. she is the epitome of a complete broadway persona. a living legend as she is, she will bring much more character to glee as a show & it will be a dream come true to a whole new world of us, the glee generation. she is a true reflection of the finest.
i can’t stop dreaming. i will never stop dreaming. on my own.