Dislaimer: aku biased, sebab terlibat secara tak langsung dalam pembikinan filem PASKAL The Movie.
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I have not written here in ages but I felt compelled to do it after the premiere of the film. This is obviously not a proper review, I just need to let it out of my system. Here goes…
Although people who have seen the early screening of the movie gave mostly positive reviews, I half dreaded watching it in a cinema full of Navy people. Takut ada yang bangun keluar sebab tak puas hati. But then, with a few admirals (past and present) in the audience, I don’t think anyone would.
The opening scene was based on true events, with the real characters watching with us in Hall 13. Cue real Navy pilot acting as a pilot, complete with lines. If this was Hollywood, he’d have his Actors’ Guild card already. My first thought was, “those are OUR chopper and ship!” Although pride had started to cloud my judgement, I tried to be objective and looked at the story as it unfolded.
There was a proper storyline, with a bit of drama and loads of action. It established the protagonist’s choices in career and life up until the present day, and the dilemma he faces. The back story could have been developed a little bit more, but it was not integral to the main story.
I love Jeb as the antagonist. His Jebat-like (Jeb, Jebat. coincidence?) point of view of a so-called ‘broken’ system as opposed to Arman’s honourable stance much like Tuah was believable and got through to me as an audience. I think Jeb had some really great lines. And the one-to-one showdown of knife fight between Jeb and Arman – favourite scene.
The military assets were a big part of this movie, they are no bit players despite their brief on-screen appearance. In droves the assets provided the impact needed to show how PASKAL are able to operate on land, at sea (above and underwater) as well as in the air. Yes, pride did colour my view of the movie. Memang aku bangga bila tengok kapal selam naik dan masuk balik bawah laut.
In an ensemble cast like this, the co-stars did well to support the main story. Cerita askar, kena la ramai kan. Had a bit of laugh watching real Navy people I know on the screen. Heh.
Technically, this movie had quality equipment and very capable director of photography. The POV angle during a certain scene was awesome. The CGI crew did well on most of the scenes, a few were so-so.
I was on location on the first day of shooting. My colleagues and I followed them to all the naval and air bases. We saw first hand how the film was made, about 70 per cent of it at least. I remembered some scenes, how painstakingly long the shoots were and how brief it ended up on the screen. At one point, I remembered shouting at people to go change their attire at six bloody am or else they won’t be working that morning. I remembered the headaches and the stress of being on set. However, I am touched that the crew still came up to me earlier, despite the things they went through with me during the shooting. Haha. Even got a hug from the military consultant, which was really sweet. A true professional and a great guy.
As an end product, I am happy with what I saw. I might go for a second viewing once it is officially out.
In the past month-and-a-half, I have watched five movies at the cinema, four are local films. Pulang, Hantu Kak Limah (way out of my comfort zone but I did enjoy it), OneTwoJaga and now PASKAL The Movie. Malaysian films are awesome this year!
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For visuals, check out the movie’s official IG