With the release of Dayo saMundo ng Elementalia, Cutting Edge Productions promises another first inPhilippine cinema. It is touted as the Philippines' first all-digital,full-length animated movie. Unlike Ibong Adarna and Urduja, theproduction of Dayo is completely paperless. Animation is renderedthrough a combination of traditional and 3D technologies.
Much has been said about thesheer talent of Pinoy animators but because of the lukewarm condition of theanimation industry in the country, these animators are forced to search forgreener pastures elsewhere. Many are employed by Disney and Warner studios,while some are subcontractors of animation houses. I can just imagine the excitementand dedication over this animated film in its two-year span of production.
It is interesting to note that the CinemaEvaluation Board has given the animated film a Grade "A," allowing thefilmmakers to receive a 100 percent amusement tax rebate. Dayo isendorsed by the Department of Education and the National Council for Children'sTelevision.
THE PLOT. Dayounfolds like a typical underdogstory. The shy and timid Bubuy (voiced by Nash Aguas) is always picked on bythe bullies in school. He dreams of soaring the vast sky and flying high abovethe clouds in order to escape his humdrum life. His life is turned upside downwhen his grandparents are abducted by elementals. Together with a teenmanananggal named Anna (voiced byKatrina "Hopia" Legaspi), they cross the portal separating our world andElementalia. With the help of Narsi (voiced by Michael V.), the narcissisticand feeling cool tikbalang, and Nuno (voiced by Peque Galaga), the wise sage,Bubuy braves the dangers that lurk in Elementalia to save his grandparentsbefore the next full moon rises to its peak. His adventures in Elementaliatransform Bubuy from zero to hero.
THE VERDICT. Dayo is brimming with authentic Filipino elements culledfrom folklore, myths, pop culture, and even Pinoy slang. Mythical creaturesabound in Elementalia, but Dayo reanimates them in a manner never seenbefore. Here, you'll see a diwata (fairy) that transforms itself into an evilbruha (witch), mermen and mermaids defying the law of gravity, an evil kaprewho speaks Waray, a band of shape-shifting aswangs and tiyanaks, across-breed between an alitaptap and a tutubi (aptly called alitubi), and manymore. These creatures can give Pokemons a run for their money.
The voice acting from thestar-studded cast is also commendable. The rest of the ensemble consists ofPokwang as Vicky, Anna's yayananggal; Laurice Guillen as diwata/bruha andkapre; Noel Trinidad as Lolo Meong; Nova Villa as Lola Nita; and Johnny Delgadoas Carpio, Anna's father and Elementalia's manananggol.
The laudable soundtrack andmusical score, likewise deserve special mention. Lea Salonga recorded thetheme song "Lipad" while Roots of Nature performed a more upbeat version of thesong. Jessie Lasaten took over production duties and records the musical scorewith a full orchestra under the baton of Gerard Salonga. In order to jive withthe feel and mood of Elementalia, the orchestral score is accompanied withethnic Pinoy instruments, courtesy of Joey Ayala.
Dayo has its own share ofshortcomings as well especially on the technical side. There are glitches hereand there with regards to animation rendering and shading. There are sceneswhere the images become flat, as if they have turned into cardboard figures andpaper dolls. Cutting Edge Productions could really use some help in thisdepartment, especially if they plan to turn this animated film into a trilogy.
The film is intended to make the kids giggle in excitementand jump for joy, but for adults, the simplistic story will get in the way ofsensible enjoyment. The plot is as basic as it can get. Perhaps intentionally,in order to help the kids easily digest what the film has to offer.
See how 500 animators from Naga, Dumaguete and Baguio created the fancifulworld of Elementalia. Let your imagination soar with Bubuy and Anna as theyinteract with the various characters whom they meet along the way.
Be part of history when you and your family watch the first-ever animated film to take part in the 34-year history of the Metro Manila FilmFest.
Dayo sa Mundo ng Elementalia will open in cinemas nationwide startingChristmas Day, December 25. The official soundtrack of the movie is nowavailable in record bars, courtesy of Sony BMG.