Monday, January 3, 2011

RPG Metanoia


The movie starts with choppy animation that reminds you of Gumby, and makes you think that you are going to be nauseous in the next half hour if it does not stop. However you realize that the events onscreen are actually unfolding in the online gaming world. Later on you breathe a sigh of relief once you get to see that the animation in the “real world” is rendered smoothly, after which you easily admire the ingenuity of Filipino animators as you see vivid colors displayed onscreen. The said difference in the texture and movement between the two worlds becomes less evident as the line between reality and fiction in the movie’s universe is blurred.

The thing about electronic gaming is that it has progressed through the years from being a solitary activity to a highly social one, where relationships based on a common goal and interest are developed. This greatly affects RPG Metanoia’s plot line, since various personal issues of the characters are tackled both online and offline, and the story progresses in the same way bringing about some sort of cohesion between the movie's two worlds.

As a kid exposed to any kind of electronic gaming platform, anybody can actually relate to the kids’ dilemma in this movie no matter how shallow their problem seems to be. See, the world of electronic gaming can easily give anyone a sense of accomplishment. One level up after another, one can take a break from the monotony of daily routine and get some sort of ego boost, which rarely translates to real world self-esteem, unfortunately. It serves as a defense mechanism for the child, much to his or her detriment. Who cares about getting bullied at school when you know that after getting off the school bus and logging in to you online world you are actually a level 150 god who can whip any online ass you choose.

What is remarkable about this movie is its attempt to bridge this gap between traditional and modern games that children nowadays are exposed to. Gone are the days when kids went out to the streets to play Patintero or Dodge Ball. Nowadays everyone is just glued to their laptop screens pitting plants against zombies and farming on Facebook. Even adults! Face-to-face communication is slowly being replaced by online interaction. This is where RPG Metanoia racks in points. The message of the movie is crystal clear: You have a life out there and that is the one that really matters, so live that life. The kids realize this in the movie after losing their Internet access.

Stop bitching and comparing this to any Pixar or Dreamworks movie to date, unless you have a million dollars that you could personally give to Filipino animators as a much deserved budget hike. Saying that this movie is a breakthrough in Philippine Cinema might be asking too much, but one has to give credit where it is due and consider it as a big leap forward for animation in the country. As long as these animated films could continue promoting important values coursed through a plausible storyline, nothing can stop the genre’s growth other than the usually restrictive budget allowance.

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