An animated Indonesian film about two brothers, seven sisters, five monsters, and one sword. Not as interesting as it sounds.
The film starts with an overlong sequence of color-changing computer-generated clouds. It lasts about 50 seconds, but for a 41-minute film, that’s a long time! We see a palace in the clouds; an old, bearded man sits on a raised platform facing his wife and seven identical daughters, who each wear a different colored dress.
“You can’t stay in our culture any longer,” says the man to his daughter in green, “for you have married a human being.” She is to be exiled; she levitates then disappears. Her sister in white, Sari, seems sympathetic, and she too levitates and disappears.
Sari and her sister fly through the sky and come across a volcano. “I am so sad,” one of them says unconvincingly. The green sister suggests they part ways, “I don’t want to contaminate your pure soul.”
Sari, now alone, flies around for awhile, then teleports above an ocean. Blood (sweat?) drips from one of her toes into the water, which creates a rainbow portal that summons (releases?) some monsters: a fish guy, a dragon guy, and a devil guy.
Sari sees a palace, then navigates through another overly long sequence, this time a first-person view of flying through a cave. The animators must have been proud of this sequence because it shows up three times in the film.
Sari finds herself outside of the cave, facing a chasm. The three monsters we saw earlier, plus two others (a bull guy and a tiger guy), appear. The bull guy calls Sari a queen, and asks her to accept his worship and respect. Sure, why not?
Two identical warrior brothers, Mega and Batara, fly on pegasuses (pegasii?) through a forest and land at the mouth of the cave we just saw. Once the brothers dismount, the pegasuses disappear. “If we can inherit the country’s fortune, we can be the invincible Mataram soldiers,” one of them says. The other awkwardly nods. They seem to be after a sword and/or the queen’s approval. Well, at least we know their motivation.
They enter the cave and meditate. Mega runs out for a second to have a quick fight with the tiger guy, then goes back in to watch his brother astral project. Batara’s blue soul flies through the caves. We’re treated to that first-person “flying through a cave” sequence again and he arrives in Sari’s palace.
In her throne room…or rather, couch room, Sari tells her monster minions to take Batara to the grand palace. Apparently this means they should kill him because that’s exactly what they try to do. To Batara’s advantage, the five monsters have good sportsmanship and fight him one-at-a-time. There’s a lot of repeated footage in these fights. It’s pretty lame.
After defeating them all, Batara enters the palace and Sari gives him a tour then tells him, “If we work together, all this can be ours, don’t you know?” “No kidding, man.” They spin around for awhile and a baby appears in her arms! What?! She breastfeeds the baby and Batara, still a blue soul, flies through the caves again, back to his body.
There’s an earthquake, and a sword materializes in front of Batara; this must be the sword that was mentioned earlier. Mega gets jealous that Batara got the sword, so they spend the rest of the film in a long fight scene full of repeated footage. Mega is way out of his league and soon finds himself lying in front of the chasm. Is he going to fall? No. “I don’t want to fight. You’ll always be my brother” says Batara, who gives the sword to Mega. Mega summons his pegasus and departs.
Sari and her son appear by Batara, who tells her that he has to go defeat his brother “before he destroys the world.” Didn’t you just give him the sword of ultimate power? Sari tells him that he’s the only one who can change Mega’s mind, get him to give up his evil ambitions, and together, fight against “the dark force.” What dark force?
He embraces her and the child, then we cut to Batara standing on a cliff with his hair tied in a bun saying Sari’s name. Is he going to find his brother and get the sword back? We’ll never know because the movie ends right there! Did they run out of money? Was there going to be a sequel? No one knows.
This film is a mess. I spent most of the time wondering what was going on. Who are these people? What kind of a universe is this? Some things were built up that we never receive a payoff from – like Sari’s sister in the green dress, whose name I don’t recall (if it was ever revealed).
Wasn’t she responsible for all the events that transpired? It was her exile, after all, that made Sari want to leave the cloud temple, leading to Sari becoming queen of that one palace. We never see her again after she and Sari separate! Speaking of Sari, how did she become queen so easily, anyway? Where did those five monsters come from?
What’s Going On?!
The official summary of the film offers some clues at what the film is about, but a lot of it doesn’t match up with what was shown on screen. “…princess SARI is chosen by KING WILLIAM to be in-charge-of Water Palace in the bottom of a giant lake that is heavily guarded by his loyal knights.” One would assume that King William is Sari’s father, but he doesn’t CHOOSE her to rule the Water Palace. He doesn’t say anything about the Water Palace. In fact, I don’t think he even speaks to her at all!
The cloud scene in the beginning and the three cave sequences ate up way too much time. Between that and the constantly recycled footage during the fight scenes, I wonder if the filmmakers HAD to reach a 41-minute runtime or else. It’s not just the reused footage that’s a problem – it’s the reused character designs. The old guy’s (King William?) seven daughters at the beginning are all the same, as are the two brothers. The only marginally interesting designs are the monsters.
Some of the painted backgrounds in the first few scenes weren’t too bad, and I’d go as far as to say that the fight scene at the end between the two brothers would be decent had the reused footage not been too glaring. And the sound effects were fine. I particularly like the whooshes of the cloud and cave sequences. Really. They were calming and made me want to sleep.
The music is often slow and ethereal, though most of the tracks (if you want to call them that) are short and thus as repetitive as the animation. The fight scene music could have used more oomph, but otherwise I think the music fit the movie very well. Whether that’s a good thing or not is up to you.