Producer Antonio P. Tuviera said he initially wanted to have the project as a TV series in 1997. But due to high production cost, he moved to have this as a full-length movie a decade later. See more »
I am not a cartoonist, nor an animator, nor a general 2D person. Professionally speaking, I avoid projects that require animation and movement. I hate it and I hate the technicalities involved with it.
Now Urduja is a good try, considering the various factors that dictate that everything else that could make it so much MUCH worse.
I would want to tell you the plot of the movie (probably spoil it too because I'd want to save you from ever watching it... too mean. Forget what I said), but there were too many subplots that within half of the movie you ask, "What's the story about again?" True story.
The plot in itself is simple, but layers upon unnecessary layers of plot-fat, the premise (and the focus) of the movie invariably gets lost in translation. With the plot-fat comes, as a lack of a better word, plot holes that render succeeding scenes WTF-able, watch it and you will see, don't watch it and save yourself some time.
The animation is good. In the beginning. You see a highly photographic-like atmosphere in the introduction of the movie, but as you continue on (more like struggle to) the middle, 3D becomes more apparent, textures become less obvious until ultimately, it's just flat cartoon, with no hint of the previous standard set earlier in the same movie.
The one thing I noticed just watching the trailer was the fact that there are no ambient light to reflect on the characters. There were no changes in the colors when they move environments, night scenes, day scenes, flying through the air scenes were all of the same lighting, except for the underwater scene (KUDOS! plus points).
There were no varying shadows and highlights whenever the characters move. As a matter of fact the shadow Urduja has was the one below her chin to show a bit of dimension. The most detailed shadows of any of the characters were the badjaos. Racism is also hinted within the dialogue.
Glitches are apparent, for example, having two right hands of the same character appearing on the same frame, I think they forgot to tween it or something.
The camera panning was exhausting. It pans too fast too soon even when the dialogue dictates that "ang ganda ng tanawin!" WHAT SCENERY?! it was too fast to appreciate! There were also inconsistencies with the actual character animation. Some scenes lacked frames, making the animation choppy, even rushed. Some scenes were extremely detailed, especially the close up talking scenes. The attempted slow motion scenes were a failure, instead of it being slow motion, it just feels choppy and incomplete.
Plus points for the extremely detailed monologue scenes though.
I'm not even going into the animation of the song and dance numbers.
Audio is relatively okay. It gives of the dubbed soap opera audio feel. The dialogue was "in-your-face" direct but still inconsistent. At least it was clean.
There were not much ambient sounds to realize the scenes comprehensively. You hear nuances, but rarely. Ocean breeze, or waves crashing? barely. Birds chirping? When there were birds around. Even the rustling of the trees when they were fighting in the jungle was missing.
The script? O no. no no. no. no. no no. The story is initially focused on the main character Urduja (Regine Velasquez), but as the non-story progresses, Lim Hang (Cesar Montano) becomes the de facto lead. Even then, both characters fail to spark an interest. Comedy relief characters such as Mayumi (Ruby Rodriguez), Daisuke (Epi Quizon), and the Disney-archetype talking animals (Allan K. and Michael V.) were far more interesting.
Historically, The story was painful and lacked research. It lacks the depth of primitive Philippine culture. Textiles within the Philippines, if not imported from China, was mostly dark reds and browns (as far as i remember from Philippine Art History) Not blue or green.
I do understand the need of plain clothes as the animation process is extremely hard. Textiles in the Philippines tell a story. It's like the Grecian vases but with cloth. This makes Urduja a failure as a culturally relevant movie.
Without the Filipino voices, there would barely enough visual evidence to suggest that the movie was pre-hispanic Filipino era. It could have been easily some other indigenous tribe anywhere in the world.
What irkes me is the semi-frequent use of the English language in a pre-colonial Filipino culture. Considering that only the comedic relief characters were the only ones talking the wrong language, but the already lost Filipino hint fades completely even for a second.
So what's left as purely good with the movie? Well... They give the succeeding Filipino films an extremely big room for improvement.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?