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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Saving Sally: Beyond Art, There's Heart


A decade worth-waiting for, finally and with much anticipation, Saving Sally will be debuting the silver screen.

Written by Charlene Sawit-Esguerra, Saving Sally was directed by Avid Liongoren which stars Enzo Marcos (Marty), Rhian Ramos (Sally), TJ Trinidad (Nick), Bodjie Pascua and Carme Sanchez (Marty's parents) and Sharmaine Centenera Buencamino and Archie Adamos (Sally's parents).


The movie is about Marty, an aspiring comic book artist and his best friend Sally, a gadget inventor whom he is deeply in love with. However, Sally has a monster for parents and an inconsiderate boyfriend. In Marty’s fantasies, he must find ways to save the love of his life from the big bad world. It’s a typical love story indeed, but was told in a very colorful and imaginative way. It is a “boy likes girl who likes a douche” story but above all, will carry the viewers’ emotions with its romance, humor, character conflicts, and of course, the visuals.


MIXING LIVE ACTION AND ANIMATION

The film integrated the actors with lively animations, something that has been done many times before but this film took a step up in the Philippine cinema. With the artistic minds and skills the creative team have, these animations kept the film alive. Rocketsheep Studio did a fantastic job bringing life to the visuals. It is an eye-candy, surprisingly at par with ABC Studios' Pushing Daisies. The use of chroma is exceedingly perfect with the story which complements and stitches both live actors and the animation.


ON POINT CHARACTERIZATIONS

Right choice of cast is also essential. Marty’s character development is on the right pace: transitioning from a struggling torpe geek in the friendzone to a better person at the end. It was not difficult to give his character sympathy and empathize with him in which Marcos made Marty so likable and relatable. Ramos brought the charm in her performance as Sally, as she was able to deliver the character and make the audience see why Marty loves her so much. Marcos and Ramos did well in playing their respective roles and somehow built an imaginative chemistry. Trinidad effortlessly played being a jerk, that levels from a douche to a prick, or both, depending on how you rate a competitor. Trinidad’s physique suits very well for what Nick is supposed to be. He is the type of person that you'll love... to punch... in the face... with brass knuckles.

Two thumbs up for the supporting casts: first, the parents of the main characters: Centenera Buencamino and Adamos who delivered a very good performance for being the strict and brutal parents of Sally and second, Pascua and Sanchez who represent the typical Filipino parents: a comforting and supportive ones with a bit of comic and endearing you wish to have.


EASTER EGGS ARE ON A ROLL

There will be a lot of easter eggs scattered within the film. Appearances of such ranges from local comic books to pop culture. Watch out for the posters scattered on the walls, fences and even names of establishments. An example of which is the name of the park. You may now have a sliver of an idea of what it is but we are giving you the opportunity to watch it first.

To pursue the creative development of the film, it was said that local comic book artists also help the Saving Sally team during the production. In return, references from those artists can be found within the film. Regular local comic conventions attendees will immediately identify which are these, but don't worry, some local comic book stores have those titles and you may help them pay it forward.

And another something to watch out for--- there will be references from a certain university that is included in the film. If you caught the trailer, you may now have an idea.


MUSIC THAT TRANSPORTS

Hannah+Gabi’s Everything Refuses to Move is the theme song of the film. It has the vibe of a rainy Sunday afternoon: chilling, calming and soothing. Mixed this with Saving Sally and you'll get an instant transport to a certain point in time where you first fell in love or something reminiscent about your childhood. The scoring is on point and added value to the film.





INTERNATIONAL DEBUT

Another good thing to be proud of about this film is that they already set for international film festivals on the 1st quarter of 2017. Saving Sally will join the Animac International Animation Festival, Brussels International Fantastic Festival and Fantasporto.


OUR VERDICT

Overall, the movie was fantastic. The director, writer, cast and the production and creative staff all did a marvelous job in creating this masterpiece. The ten years was worth the wait and we would love to watch it again.


Everybody could relate to every character, most notably Marty and Sally. In some point in time, we became Marty and Sally. That connection bridges us, the viewers, to the the film. Despite its visual and approach, the movie projects a serious theme in which every millennial and Gen-X alike could relate to: how to get away with friendzone. 

Saving Sally earned its righteous spot in the Metro-Manila Film Festival (MMFF) 2016 lineup, and it definitely deserves to get that A rating from The Cinema Evaluation Board. It is not a Christmas film, but love is a universal theme regardless of season.

Overall rating: 9/10

Saving Sally will be released this Christmas on cinemas nationwide as part of the MMFF 2016.

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