Adam's older brother was killed in a car crash a year ago. His family has not been the same since. As his parents struggle to cope with their grief, Adam (10), plagued with guilt over his ...
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Adam's older brother was killed in a car crash a year ago. His family has not been the same since. As his parents struggle to cope with their grief, Adam (10), plagued with guilt over his brother's death feels he is all alone in the world. But everything changes the day he meets Abulele. The Abulele are ancient monsters, bear-sized. Local legends tell that they are extremely dangerous, but in fact, they turn out to be quite friendly and playful creatures. Abulele quickly becomes Adam's best and most secret friend. Together, they outsmart Adam's mean schoolteacher and beat the class bullies. But Adam's parents start to suspect he is harboring a secret, And when a government, Special Forces unit called "Thunder" appears in the neighborhood on a mission to capture Abulele things go from bad to worse. In order to save his best friend, Adam will have to get Abulele back home to its family, and to do so, he will need to put the past behind him and realize that when you truly love someone, ...
Abulele is, as the movie says, a traditional Jerusalemite version of the bogeyman. In this film, which bills itself as "for the whole family," he is shown to be frightening and sometimes out of control but not malevolent. It's explained near the beginning that he appears only to "special" children, and I was worried that we were on our way to another version of the protagonist who turns out to be "the one," but it turns out that "special" means something quite different, as the movie-- after an opening that may seem to promise little but boredom for adults-- takes a turn toward more mature and somber themes. Abulele seems sometimes like a film for the whole family in turn, rather than for the whole family at once, and at one point where the tension mounted I noticed a couple of small children leaving with their grown-up escort. As its "making of" short makes clear, the movie is notable for special effects and music. Abulele himself is played by a man in a furry suit with carefully engineered prehensile hands and with a computer-animated face superimposed. And although, as the filmmaker remarks, the whole project was brought in on a budget equivalent to the catering for a full-scale Hollywood movie, the music was recorded by a good-sized orchestra at a prestigious studio in London. The music does the job, setting the appropriate mood throughout, and the acting of Abulele by man and computer will satisfy any but the greatest sticklers. Much of the story retells E.T.-- sweet things tempt the creature to befriend the boy, there's a girl who comes to function as the boy's sidekick, the creature's return to its home becomes a constantly pending concern-- and the script even acknowledges the debt once or twice. But Abulele takes place in a different world, where inescapable reminders of the distant past take the place of futuristic visitors from elsewhere.
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