Jack Neo, who gave us many scripts, allowed his brain a rest in "Homerun". He cast this "Children of Heaven" remake back to 1965 rural Singapore, which share similarities with present-day Iran; the movie is, nostalgically, set in the era Neo grew up in. Ironically, "Homerun" has to be filmed in Malaysia, since urbanized Singapore no longer houses enough rural lands.
The story is adult-lite and kids-heavy - an ideal family film.
Majid Majidi gets wonderfully artless performances from his leads, especially the 5-year-old Bahare Seddiqi. She is perfect in her role. In Neo's remake the children are older (by three to four years); his kids are excellent but not in Majidi's league. Maybe Shawn Lee looks to me just too well groomed for a rural kid (if one visits rural regions from China, Malaysia or Taiwan, one would know they don't speak perfect standard Mandarin, scrubbed entirely clean etc.); Megan Zheng has good tear-ducts, though she can seem a little lost.
What bothers me somewhat is Jack Neo using too much of Majidi's shots - the early penning scene, where the siblings exchange writings, is almost exactly alike - or the scene where Megan loses her shoe in the drain. Yes, this is a remake, but we can't afford to make two films too similar.
New here is a long, unsubtle parody of the recent (2003) water dispute between the Malaysian and Singapore governments. I don't blame Malaysia for banning this film. The Malaysians are very unflatteringly portrayed, while the kids on the Singapore side are so rational and clear-minded. This is too one-sided to be unconvincing. Not so good too is the sentimentality at the end, a song tacked on - the camaraderie isn't genuine in a movie about innocent kids.
In sum, I would call it a commendable effort, though one of Neo's lesser films.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?