RPG Metanoia, 2011
Re-posting because the Metro Manila Film Festival is just around the corner
The story and the script - The story is about an eleven year old boy named Nico who is addicted with online computer games, particularly RPG Metanoia. He and his friends frequent an internet cafe where they play online. For Nico, a computer at home that hangs every now and then could not satiate his addiction for the game. Soon an online tournament will take place and he and his friends are all eager to participate. Having discovered the Helmet of Destiny, an item that would lead them to victory, Nico and his friends were confident at winning the tournament. During the tournament, he failed to heed his friends' advice losing the game in the process.
Just when I thought I've seen this one coming, the plot takes a turn for the better. Nico's story arc was surprisingly good and well crafted. From a self centered only child, sheltered and fearful, he transformed into the story's hero that everyone will cheer for.
The supporting characters - Thanks to endearing and interesting characters in the movie! Nico has parents, who, despite their limitations, try their best to fill gaps in Nico's life. He also has friends who, despite himself will tell him the truth and can accept him, faults and all. If not for them, Nico would have turned out like the villain, Sargo.
Among Nico's friends, it is May, the girl next door, who showed him what he's been missing all along - real games played in the streets or in Filipino, larong kalye. With his boy barkada (gang) they spent the remaining summer days playing patinetero, piko (hop scotch), taguan (hide and seek), and tumbang preso. It is in playing these games where in Nico learned life lessons. Being good at virtual games does not equal to the vicarious experiences learned through play. Besides, Nico was able to overcome his own insecurities. In the end, he became better at computer games because he established a healthy relationship with his friends thus, strengthening his character.
The visual metaphors and avatars - The band aid straps on Nico's leg; the first rain drop on Mark's knee; the avatars of Nico and his friends are some of the reasons why the movie has lasting impressions. And yes, they are all good ones. Life is filled with growing pains. You get bumped and bruised, hurt and wounded. But hey, that's what it is to live and grow. Seasons come and go but true friends are forever. The Filipino has a very unique and diverse culture. Be proud that you're Pinoy!
The depiction of the modern Filipino child - It is the handling and depiction of the modern Pinoy child that I find most effective in RPG Metanoia. Nico is current and relevant. One may counter that his character is too ideal or stereotypical, but to me, it is just but right to give him a good set of middle class parents and supportive friends. Put these all together and the movie is a certified Philippine Children's Literature material. Children have RIGHTS and the adults who take care of them is responsible to ensure that these rights are expressed and exercised.
As far as the 3D animation is concerned, I can say that it's a good start. Then again, I always go for content and the storytelling rendition. In many ways, the creators and producers of RPG Metanoia have succeeded in making it a movie that can be enjoyed by kids and kids at heart.
What did not work
I was looking for a solid closure on Sargo/Cel at the end. I'm not satisfied seeing him attend May's birthday party. Other than that, I have no more complains.
Congratulations to the creators of RPG Metanoia! Here's hoping that they continue creating satisfying stories rendered in relevant and meaningful medium in the future!