its pretty good to be
reviewing a malaysian production here and i'm hoping non-malaysians find
their way to reading this.
after the hype of being
the most expensive malaysian film made and the awesome looking trailers,
i've been looking forward to catching this movie since march. i love the
asmaradana soundtrack they flooded the radiowaves with and liked
the full page adverts as well, all the while fully aware that the movie
itself had a high chance of being a total piece of shit, going by how
low malaysian movie standards tend to be (in terms of acting, scripting
so- what do i think of
the epic of Hang Tuah and the Majapahit princess's forbidden love? -it's
effects and action sequences were shit despite having so many crew
members from the Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (CTHD) set and
many of the spiritual/supernatural elements of the movie fell flat
because of this. scenes where the Hindu practising Majapahit princess
and her brother teleport/mentally project themselves to other places
could have looked less lame with better digital effects. the Malaysian
martial arts style of silat could've looked a lot better with better
the storytelling of the
movie was pretty good. but i wonder how people overseas who are less
knowledgeable about the political and historical events surrounding the
Melakan legend, will understand what exactly is going on. many non-malaysians
will find it difficult to catch the concept of patronage (where
weaker nations pay vast tributes to stronger nations for protection) and
the differences of culture and religion between the Melakans and
a big part of why i liked
sitting through this movie was because of the way it unfolded all my
secondary school history lessons of the warring territories of Melaka,
Majapahit and Demak(?) and the political structure of the region. also,
i thought the movie fleshed out legendary characters like the ever-loyal
admiral Hang Tuah, wise TunPerak-styled Bendahara (PrimeMinister) and
power/lust hungry Sultan pretty well.
Like most Malay movies,
sequences were draggy and much of the plot was subtle or left hanging at
places. However, the awesome sets, detailed costumes and epic soundtrack
helped make up for the film's weaker moments. All in, like some have
said, it could've been better, (especially with the money spent) but
Puteri Gunung Ledang is a decent effort.
to Understanding The Princess of Mount Ledang
if you've just watched
the movie and don't quite understand certain things about the it, here
is where I hope to help explain Malaysian aspects of the film non-locals
might not get.
why is it Puteri
and her brother seem to have magical powers ?
the princess and her
brother practice Hindu-ism and are not Muslims therefore, they believe
in the supernatural.
why does everyone
act funny when the Princess appears in her ugly grandmother form in the
it is a common
Malaysian belief that ghosts in the form of various old people or
monsters reside in jungles and appear from time to time to disturb and
scare humans. in order to resist getting "attacked" you must
show that you are in the jungle with pure intentions and you will not
disturb the creatures living there.
why is Hang Tuah so
bloody loyal to the King and why is everyone including the wise Prime
Minister so subservient to the King ?
in Malay tradition,
the King is granted powers from Heaven to rule and all must obey him.
his Cabinet of sorts comprising of the Prime Minister, Treasurer,
military man and others all must answer to him. Hang Tuah is most loyal
to his country and serves his King blindly, going against his love and
(in another legend) his brotherhood with his closest friends.
what is that funny
looking sword thing and what was that Tamingsari nonsense about ?
those are called Keris-
the Malay traditional weapon and Hang Tuah's sword was called Tamingsari,
supposedly blessed with supernatural powers. It is the Malay equivalent
why aren't there
any sex scenes ?
traditionally conservative people- even back in ancient times, couples
only "get it on" after they're married. even the dance Tuah
and the Princess had at night alone can be considered askew from
tradition as men and women are not supposed to engage in activities
alone at night.
what language is
that they're speaking- it doesn't sound like it's out of the Malay
it's a classical form
of Malay, much of it contains a dialect only used when conversing with
royalty. the dialogues between the Majapahit people also contain
Javanese accents and slangs.
i didn't quite like
the storyline and thought some of the characters behaved stupidly...
as the movie is based
loosely on several Malay legends, the characters' behavior might not
make much sense to some. classic literature also contains many
exaggerated sequences, hence the use of magic, fight scenes in alternate
dimensions and so on. the film was not trying to appear flashy for the
sake of flashiness, but merely trying to follow parts of the legend as
told in classic literature.
more on the legend-