3 stars out of 5
The Stars: Aznil Hj Nawawi, Diana Danielle, Fimie Don, Mawi, Maya Karin, M. Nasir, Nabil, Ning Baizura, Sharifah Aleya, Sharifah Amani, Vanidah Imran, Ziana Zain
The Story: Squabbling siblings Ayu (Diana Danielle) and Malik (Fimie Don) find themselves lost in a surreal fairytale alternate universe called Magika after falling down a (presumably) enchanted well.
Once there, Malik is captured by the evil Nenek Kebayan who is intent on using the young boy’s tears to create a potion of eternal youth.
It’s now up to the plucky elder sister and a helpful, handsome stranger (and also inevitable love interest) named Badang (Mawi) to rescue Malik and find a way back home to the real world.
The Buzz: This film’s aforementioned cast boasts massive Malaysian star power and name recognition. Even the movie’s director, Edry Abdul Halim, used to be best known as one-third of popular Malaysian hip-hop group KRU.
Already a big box-office attraction north of the border, This KRU Studios golden goose recently hauled in seven awards (from 12 nominations) during the 23rd Malaysian Film Festival including the coveted Best Film gong.
Although aimed squarely at the kiddies, this Disney-esque fantasy musical adventure should pack enough whimsical amusement for the adults as well.
Featuring a cleverly updated mishmash of old Malayan legends and myths (think Shrek) as well as standout vocal performances from the likes of Ning Baizura, Ziana Zain, and M. Nasir in particular, there’s a lot to admire about this production.
The acting and special effects are a little dodgy at times but that can be easily forgiven especially considering its relatively miniscule budget and Edry’s skilful interweaving of catchy tunes and choreography into the film’s narrative.
The humour here is reminiscent of Malay sketch comedy which makes sense considering the involvement of so many Senario (a kind of Malay Saturday Night Live) alums.
Its brand of comicality may seem overly slapstick to some, but it works fairly well in this context. Kids can easily identify emotionally to Magika given the siblings’ weepy history and they may even learn a couple of useful Aesopian lessons along the way.
About Hidzir Junaini
Hidzir Junaini is 24-years-old and a wealthy playboy billionaire by day and a caped crusader by night. Only one of those is true. He’s actually a freelance writer, blogger, full-time film buff and some-time socially awkward nerd. He also writes about music, restaurants and nightlife for MetroWize Asia.
Hidzir was the winner of the inaugural inSing Movie Lover contest that garnered over 1,000 participants. The Movie Lover contest is a search for a candidate who possesses outstanding passion for movies and a talent for writing engaging movie reviews.