Director: Avid Liongoren
Rocketsheep Studio, 2016
When I first saw the movie teaser for Saving Sally over on Facebook, I immediately tagged my teen aged kids. They were excited to watch the movie. They have been planning on spending their Christmas money to watch it weeks before the Metro Manila Film Fest. On December 25th, we were lining up for tickets.
This very simple love story is so charming and pure that, I am recommending this for families with teenagers to watch and see together despite the phallic symbols that represent one of the characters. Spewing a few more of it when he speaks. This was done in context and one that my teen aged kids fully understood both as cinematic interpretation as well as a metaphor for people who are so full of themselves. Don't we meet those kind in real life? Like Marty, we see them as monsters and, yes, dickheads.
Which brings me now to enumerate what I enjoyed about the movie.
It doesn't lie. Totoo siya. Its agenda is not to offer amusement, shallow humor or an escapist joy. Funny because, the movie is a combination of animation and live action and yet, it shows how things really are. It is overflowing with monsters, fictional characters from comic books, robots from a long gone TV show of my childhood but its speaks of truths that are lasting. Good is good. Bad is bad. And then, there are the gray areas in between that we all need to deal with at some point in our lives.
Marty struggles to find a voice for his feelings for Sally. His mom tells him that such issues can't be forced. Marty's dad lent advice and support at an arm's length. No wonder Marty turned out the way he is, the nice geeky guy whom you can always count on. Apparently, Marty needed a lot of growing up to do and in its wake, is heartbreak and a lot of adulting. Sally, for all her smarts and intrepid inventions, could not break free from the confines and cruelty of her surrogate parents. A victim of circumstance, she fell prey into the hands of Nick, the dickhead boyfriend, who took advantage of her vulnerability. See how valuable is the role of family in shaping one's identity?
This only goes to show that Saving Sally has a lot to offer. Love takes time and if it is real, it finds a way. Courage is found in the depths of our fears. Redemption begins from a desire to save one's self. In the end, the geek gets the girl. Then again, in the beginning of the movie, it was the smart, artistic and weird girl who saved the geek. YAY!
How Marty saved Sally is a feast for the senses. The visual metaphors are brilliantly done. I liked the floating sketches surrounding Marty and Sally. It pushed the plot forward. Their relationship is in suspended animation. They are neither friends nor lovers. The colors and lighting looked old, a lot of sepia and shades of brown in the back ground but this added texture and a warmth enunciating the themes of the movie. Monsters drawn in black, white and graying hues emphasizing Marty's perspective and world view.The robots that Sally created and the city where she and Marty lives in are rendered in steampunk. This makes me want to give steampunk another try.
Watch out for the easter eggs. If you're from UP Diliman, you will appreciate and understand Zorro's appearance. There are designs of buildings that are reminiscent of old haunts in the campus. I have my comic book faves and it is such a delight to see its covers in the movie too. The names and labels of stores, commercial establishments and places in the city are identified with Pinoy wit and humor. Even the sound track is cool and tender, comforting and heart wrenching the next.
I hope the movie gets an extended run and distributed in more movie houses. With eight wonderful films this season of the Metro Manila Film Festival, we all need to pick the ones we want to watch and the ones we need to give a chance. This year, it is worth to spend 200 - 300 pesos for three to five movies in the roster. But if you can afford it, go watch all!