WATER CUT SUNDAY. 8am ( Sunday ) to 12am ( Monday ). Farking hell, the water department must SUFFER for this. They always schedule water cuts on WEEKENDS. When everyone is at home. When people don't go to work. Christ, don't people think anymore?
But YESTERDAY ( Saturday ), I went to watch Puteri Gunung Ledang in Gurney Plaza. There, I found Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose in MPH ( a Vintage Classic ) so I bought it ( woohoo! ). And when I went home, I watched the movie The Name of the Rose ( based on the book ) starring Sean Connery and a very very young Christian Slater. Valentina Vargas was in it too, and they didn't only have her naked boobs inside, but also her asscrack ( MMMM ). I think the book's more intellectual though. But no Valentina Vargas in that. And, if you like pretty boys, no Christian Slater either. I think there might be some Slaterish asscrack around in the movie too, but I was too busy trying to see if we got full frontal nudity of Ms. Vargas. Also, if you're into ambiguously gay older men, there's kissage and very minimal sexual tension between Sean Connery and some balding monk.
But I digress. We're here to talk about Ms. Gunung Ledang 2004, and boy is she hot. The movie's not too bad too.
*Warning Spoilers Ahead*
Let's start with the story. I don't really like it at all. I have a tendency to dislike weepy love stories, and the end got pretty weepy. It's all nice and tragic, something out of a Ravenloft novel. You know what? Maybe there's some kind of love-hate relationship I have with the movie. Cause I did find myself transfixed to the screen. Local movie, semi-epic feel, kinda expensive to make... it's all good. It's just that sad endings are depressing. I mean, I walked into the cinema knowing fully well how it would turn out, but still! Maybe I was hoping they would have disneyfied the ending, eh? Ah, the romantic in me rears its crazy head again.
The cast was good. Again, I have this thing against making the bad guys REALLY obvious. I rather prefer to find out myself who the villains are through their actions. It's both irritating and ridiculous when you can take one look at a character and go, "Oh, so that's the bad guy." I'm really cool with making an expensive movie, but we really need to stop forcefeeding the plot to the audience. But, back to the cast.
M. Nasir plays Hang Tuah, and he was cool. And I think he had a bulging stomach or something. But still, mucho coolness factor there, yeah. He can be my Datuk Laksamana anyday, as long as we don't fall in love with the same girl. But then again, I just want ONE wife, so probably not a problem. Hang Tuah has the ultra-cool silat moves and the ability to summon rain. And he can put down any whippersnapper who dares to challenge him to ukur kesaktian. Actually, that sounds kinda vulgar to me, but no one in cinema said anything, so I held back my chortle. The man truly oozes seriousness and coolness. Except for the meltdown in the mud, but we're all entitled to a nervous breakdown every now and then.
Tiara Jacquelina is the Puteri of Gunung Ledang. She walks around bare-shouldered, but I don't find her VERY HOT. I mean, I'm walking in the forest and I bump into her, of course I'll be doing all manner of indecencies to her that would have gotten me burned at the stake in the old days. But she's not that hot until I will go walk in the forest to find her. Especially now that she has that pesky curse which can make you puke blood and die painfully. First it's AIDS and now it's painful death by blood vomit. We humans sure know how to punish ourselves for carnal pleasure. But, digression. Well, she's kinda pretty and she can manipulate tree roots pretty well so I'm thinking maybe she doesn't need male company after all. You've never sinned 'til you've been greened hehehe.
God-knows-who is that horny sultan. It's a testimony to his acting skills that I'm not bothering to look up this bastard SOB, cause by the end of the movie I truly didn't like him. Really not agreeing with the way they portrayed him though. I expected a bit more class and flair, and the sultan really came off as a thug.
Not so his wife, played by Sofia Jane. She's REALLY HOT. And classy. And elegant. And I really wish they had pornified the movie - Sofia Jane would have murdered the sultan in his sleep, and then she, Tuah and Tiara Jacquelina would have retired to Gunung Ledang for a much needed menage a trois. Sofia totally owned every scene she was in. I've seen many pretty girls in tudungs, but this one really takes home the grand prize of Women In Tudung 2004. There's an ethereal grace to her movements - the poor Raja Muda is going to have one major Oedipus Complex. I did notice a pimple though, but that is merely one blemish on her otherwise ethereal beauty. SHE should have been the Puteri of Gunung Ledang. That would significantly raise the wankability of this movie, cause the princess has to get wet at certain points of the movie ( oooh wet ).
The emperor of Majapahit looks suspiciously familiar, although he walks around looking constipated most of the time. His advisor drags out his words, so he comes out sounding a little weird. The Datuk Bendahara is everything you would expect a prime minister to be, and more. I don't know why he comes off a bit like Geoffrey Rush's character in Elizabeth. Maybe it's all the background political scheming. And that's cool.
Melaka itself was a letdown. Here I was, expecting this bustling port city with Chinamen with pigtails, Arabs in turbans and the occasional European walking around. Basically, I have this image of Melaka as THE port of call to be trading in back in those days. I envisioned many different kinds of ships docked at the port. Chinese junks and stuff like that. Instead, I got a kampung where they had to land sampans on beaches. COME ON! Where did all the money for the film go to! At least have the decency to get some university students with too much free time to do a CG representation of Melaka! Or at least put in some Chinamen damnit. Melaka as a trading port just isn't complete without the Chinamen. We NEED the Chinamen.
Well, in the end, I was watching the movie in rapt attention. It's kinda lengthy, but I realized that I actually found the dance / love scene between Tiara Jacquelina and Hang Tuah to be romantic ( there were complaints that part was boring ). Like, REALLY romantic. There they are, bound by laws of society and decency and shit like that so they can't do the hot and sweaty, so they opt for the sexual tension-charged dance instead. Okay, actually the censorship board said no sex, so someone put in a dance scene instead of a love scene. I mean, there're feelings of love involved and it's physical. Surprisingly, it worked remarkably well. The movie did a good job building up the love between Hang Tuah and Tiara Jacquelina so that you actually feel for them at the end.
So there it is. Puteri Gunung Ledang, in all her Javanese glory. A epic? Maybe not on part with Braveheart, but we're getting there. A movie about love, loyalty, abuse of sacred rights... go watch it, yeah. It's a movie which makes supporting the local film industry truly worth it. I actually wouldn't mind owning this on DVD. Actually, this one has an incredible soundtrack too.
The Verdict: There is much to like about Puteri Gunung Ledang.
Gunung Ledang or Pontianak?: Without a doubt, Puteri Gunung Ledang. Better production values, gripping story, and you can never go wrong with Hang Tuah.
Maya Karin, Aleya, Sofia Jane or Tiara Jacquelina?: Without a doubt, Sofia Jane. Especially in Puteri Gunung Ledang. Maya Karin was sweet, Tiara Jacquelina is good for a roll in the forest, you just want to shut Aleya up by stuffing some body part or something in her mouth. But SOFIA JANE. WINNER.