Pinoy Animation On Its First Steps

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I am a big fan of animated movies. Since I was little, I have always been fond of those Disney flicks; from AladdinMulan, to Pixar’s Up. And so when I learned about RPG Metanoia (Philippines’ first ever CG-animated feature film), I couldn’t be more excited. The Philippine cinema isn’t a stranger to animated motion pictures. If I can recall right, the films Adarna: The Mythical BirdUrduja and Dayo pioneered full-length animated films here in our country. And just last Christmas, Metro Manila Film Festival entry – RPG Metanoia brought the magnificence of 3D-animation to our native big screens. It is a film made by Pinoy for every Filipino. Like its predecessors Urduja and Dayo, it was also rated A by the Cinema Evaluation Board, granting it 100% amusement tax rebate.

According to what I have found out about RPG, it took four years from starting brainstorming to finishing up animation. It was a one-of-a-kind animated movie considering it was built up by mere 26 Filipino animators! Disney’s Finding Nemo also took about four years, but with roughly a hundred animators. RPG, for what I loved the most, flouted the “typical” storytelling formula by MMFF films. I also laud the concept of including in the movie, tons of Filipino trademarks. There shown are tricycles passing by, traditional Filipino street games (Piko, Patintero and Tagu-taguan to name a few), the typical Juan Dela Cruz family where the mother usually heads the budgeting and a Metanoia portal even looked like the famous streets of Vigan city. There is also this brand of us Filipinos that point out our cute habit of adding “H” to nicknames, for example: Bhoy. I was simply impressed that they depicted it when Mark typed his avatar name Adonis, erased  d-o-n-i-s   and then added “H” which made it Ahdonis. The film truly deserves fives stars in every aspect: animation, storyline, dubbing and a lot more! It might not be your standard Pixar or Dreamworks film, but it is something we all can be proud of. It is truly world-class.

What bother me though, are the critics it received; from everyday Tumblr teens to famous credible movie review sites. Yes, there were positive ones, but there were also ones who fall in the opposite type. They were “negative” in the sense that, it seemed that their deeds are due to close-minded judgments. I have heard such protestations to the praises RPG claims, as “animation is bad”. Well, just because Walt Disney led the way of animated films, doesn’t mean we have to shout out that our own 3D-animated film “sucks”. Even their (Disney’s) first 3D-animated projects such as Captain EO and 3D Jamboree weren’t as smooth as the ones they create today. You don’t know what it takes to build up an animated movie. It is simply idiotic to compare our own 3D films to international ones such as Despicable Me and How to Train Your Dragon. That’s one of our syndromes. We so lack patriotism to our own film industry. And that’s seeing other country’s movies always better than ours I am referring. Yes, there might have been a few flaws (including the imbalance of the music score and sound effects) but for a start, it isn’t that bad. It is actually impressive. Taking it for granted means also overlooking our own animators’ expertise. And besides, those countries have been giving out box office 3D-animated hits around the world for a long time already. RPG Metanoia was just our debut film. We don’t have yet a very complete set of equipment for pixel art but we still got to produce something worth the watch. It is not a joke to animate a film for three-dimensional viewing. A lot of people cannot see that putting up an animated movie, in the first place is a very tough job. Don’t compare it with all the other 3D films you have seen. They are great in their own ways, and so is RPG Metanoia. And one big factor why we should not compare such films is that, all those Disney and Dreamworks 3D films are from the west. RPG Metanoia was contracted in the Philippines by Filipino animators.

Our film industry must be enriched but how can it defy gravity if a black hole dubbed as “lack of appreciation” is pulling? According to facts, USA and UK gets a big contribution of national gross income by mainly: their film industry. Films not only require actors, but also directors, crew, animators, transportation, merchandise and a lot more. By the loosest definition, a film can open lots of doors for employment. RPG Metanoia, first and foremost represents how our native animation is going and how far it can go. It deserved rightful judgement and reviews than just reasoning out in the corner of your sealed head that it isn’t as smooth as your benchmark Hollywood animation. No one can ever comprehend you unless you prove it by making what you call your ‘ideal Filipino 3D film’ you assert to be more worth-watching.

Well, opinions are opinions, may it be foolish or plausible in everybody’s eyes. They are ought to be handled with respect and understanding. We are wishing the best of luck to our animations and I hope, with every film, all our Filipino animators – old and new, get hope and inspire those who are yet aspiring to be one. We are also in great hope that Pinoy animation ends its struggle building up a firm foundation & reputation and level up to a better acceptance by the Filipino people in the next years.
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1 Comment

  1. I really think that storyline is the bottom line always. Animation is secondary. There are a lot of animated movies that are very well animated and you can tell that sky is the limit on the production but did not made money, on the other hand there are also animated movies that has limited animation and low budgeted but made money. It is just a matter of encouraging the talent rather than trampling it. I agree with you support and encouragement propels talent. Based on the youtube teasers it’s not bad, I have not seen the whole movie yet. I hope I get to see the whole movie.

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