Saturday, January 21, 2017
Saving Sally (Avid Liongoren, Metro Manila Film Festival 2016)
Saving Sally is a fantastical film that rightly benefited from the revamped selection process of the Metro Manila Film Festival. Although it is an animated film, it is not an outright film treat for the whole family. The story targets mostly teenagers.
The lead male character, Marty, is like a Pokemon Go trainer able to see monsters. Other human beings don’t see the ogres and creatures. Only the comic book geek Marty can see them. Several of the monsters are humans while others maybe mere figments of the young artist’s imagination.
The world inhabited by Marty (Enzo Marcos) is in muted colors. If there is one major complaint I can think about the film then it will be the lack of vibrant colors. The bland colors may be reflective of Marty’s life but I think it is more a reflection of the film’s financial difficulties. The filmmakers may have been forced to scrimp on low-end cameras just to keep the production afloat. One thing’s for sure, though. They patiently labored for more than 10 years to bring the film to fruition.
The simple yet effective special effects are non-intrusive. The audience will agreeably believe a world where monsters co-exist with humans. A memorable, magical moment was conjured with a sprightly Sally’s unleashing of her mechanical appendage ala Inspector Gadget. Right off the bat, Sally becomes a cool character.
There are other cool moments in the film. In a film teeming with samples of varied visual art formats, the simple ones hold their own against complex formats in telling a story. The charming pop-up Book of Happy is indeed a book filled with wonder and joy. The production design is a mix of Seussical whimsy and Tim Burtonesque wackiness. The smorgasbord of visual formats and mediums work because they visualize the changing mood of Marty.
The lanky Marty is in love with Sally (Rhian Ramos). But he feels like being trapped in a war zone. The truth is he is friendzoned and cannot slay the monstrous fear of rejection. Sally asked him a comic book question: 'Why do people never notice that the geek is the same person as the hunky hero?' Well, he answered that it is because no one cares for the nerdy people. Yes, no one pays attention to average-looking geeks like him. However, just like superhero comic books, there's a hero inside Marty after all.
The film’s witty word puns, and irreverent characters with dickheads seem to come straight from the fertile mind of wordsmith Joey de Leon, the pages of Jingle magazine, and the pen of Roxlee. Little details such as a funny company signboard leave a smile on my face. Sandara is the name of the park frequented by the two youngsters. The park design is similar to that of the park featured in the film 500 Days of Summer. This may be a homage because I do recall seeing the word Summer up in the screen.
I like it that the filmmakers didn’t dumb down their target audience. Teenagers can learn a thing or two on how the young characters deal with their problems. Bullying, premarital sex, physical abuse, and first love jitters are just some of the issues tackled by the film. Sally’s determination to leave her problems behind and take flight resulted in her ultimate project.
Saving Sally is a blast! No other Filipino film feature is like it. The film transports the audience into different worlds and teleports them back to their homes with adorable family scenes. I loved the scene wherein the mother of Marty feigns sleep on the sala set because she wants to hear fresh, first-hand account of Marty's activities. Such heartwarming, lovely scenes serve as counterpoint to the gloomy touches of the film. The end credits feature a more colorful and more animated way of showing love filled life of Marty.