Review: Dayo sa Mundo ng Elementalia (3/5)

PEP Review: Dayo sa Mundo ng Elementalia (Unedited)
by Fidel Antonio Medel

When “Urduja” was released in mid-2008, its claim was that it is the FIRST full-length animated film produced locally. That claim was fallacious. “Ibong Adarna” has earned that distinction single-handedly in 1997. With the release of “Dayo sa Mundo ng Elementalia”, Cutting Edge Productions promises another first in Philippine cinema. It is touted as the Philippines’ first all-digital, full-length animated movie. Unlike “Ibong Adarna” and “Urduja”, the production of “Dayo” is completely paperless. Animation is rendered through a combination of traditional and 3D technologies.

Much has been said about the sheer talent of Pinoy animators but because of the lukewarm condition of the animation industry in the country, these animators are forced to search for greener pastures elsewhere. Many are employed by Disney and Warner studios, while some are subcontractors of animation houses. I can just imagine the excitement and dedication over this animated film in its two-year span of production.

The Gist

“Dayo” unfolds like a typical underdog story. The shy and timid Bubuy (voiced by Nash Aguas) is always picked on by the bullies in school. He dreams of soaring the vast sky and flying high above the clouds in order to escape his humdrum life. His life is turned upside down when his grandparents were abducted by elementals. Together with Anna (voiced by Katrina “Hopia” Legaspi), the vegetarian manananggirl, they cross the portal separating our world and Elementalia. With the help of Narsi (voiced by Michael V.), the narcissistic and feeling cool tikbalang, and Nuno (voiced by Peque Galaga), the wise sage, Bubuy braved the dangers that lurk Elementalia in order to save his grandparents before the next full moon rises to its peak. His adventures in Elementalia transformed Bubuy from zero to hero.

The Verdict

“Dayo” is brimming with authentic Filipino elements – folklores, myths, pop culture references, and even Pinoy slang. Mythical creatures abound Elementalia, but “Dayo” reanimates them in a manner never seen before. Here, you’ll see a diwata that transforms itself into an evil bruha, mermen and mermaids defying the law of gravity, an evil kapre who speaks in Waray, a band of aswangs and tiyanaks that shape-shifts, a cross-breed between an alitaptap and a tutubi (aptly called alitubi), and many more. These creatures can give Pokemons a run for their money.

The voice acting from the star-studded cast is also commendable. The rest of the ensemble consists of Pokwang as Vicky, Anna’s yayananggal; Laurice Guillen as Diwata/Bruha and Kapre; Noel Trinidad as Lolo Meong; Nova Villa as Lola Nita; and Johnny Delgado as Carpio, Anna’s father and Elementalia’s manananggol.

The laudable soundtrack and musical score, likewise, deserves special mention. Lea Salonga recorded the theme song “Lipad”, while Roots of Nature performed a more upbeat version of the song. Jessie Lasaten took over production duties and records the musical score with a full orchestra under the baton of Gerard Salonga. In order to jive with the feel and mood of Elementalia, the orchestral score is accompanied with ethnic Pinoy instruments courtesy of Joey Ayala.

“Dayo” has its own share of shortcomings as well especially on the technical side. There were glitches here and there with regards to animation rendering and shading. There are scenes where the images become flat, as if they have turned into cardboard figures and paper dolls. Cutting Edge Productions could really use some help in this department, especially if they plan to turn this animated film into a trilogy.

The film is intended to make the kids giggle in excitement and jump for joy, but for adults, the simplistic story will get in the way of sensible enjoyment. This is not Wall-E that imparts socially relevant messages about the planet and humanity. 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.

* published in Philippine Entertainment Portal


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