Sunday, 29 December 2013

Movie Review - Kaleidoscope World

Didn't quite inspire me to dance.

   It's Manila film fest time and a music related entry would be one revolving around the songs of Francis Magalona.  This provides an instant audience for fans of the late performer and hopes to draw new ones who are interested in dance and hip hop.  

  Kaleidoscope World is about Lando and Elsa plus their friends joining a hip hop dance contest and dealing with issues regarding commitments, love and their respective families.  Things get even more complicated when a sudden shady plot is dropped into the mix.

   Kaleidoscope World is described as being similar the dance competition movies where underdog performers step up to challenge the system.  This film tries to be ambitious and adds superfluous scenes and plots that overly complicates what should be a simple and fun film.  The 'kid from the streets versus the Man' would have been enough of a story.  The 'rebellious daughter yearning to be free' would be a good counterpoint.  Including the 'young love from warring families' was ok and expected.  

   Now adding the political intrigue and traumatic flashbacks was just too much and absolutely not necessary.  It doesn't even add anything substantial to the theme of hip hop culture and doesn't even get a proper resolution.  It was just there as drama fodder for crying scenes and forced importance.  

   Other parts that were just padding were the bonus dance scenes.  Yes, they were needed as it is billed as a dance movie but proper transitions and placement would have helped.  The neon light performance wasn't executed effectively.  The bench bit in school didn't lead to anything.  The sequence with the nose was nationalistic but ultimately just used up time.  The rap battle had no place in the film.

   Kaleidoscope World boasted of having Francis Magalona's music.  Other than a cap with Francis M printed on it, his name isn't shown, not even as a clumsy name drop, though that might be a good thing   If the film is suppose to honor Francis M's spirit, it doesn't do it very well.

   Having kaleidoscope in the title has expectations of showing multiple facets and dimensions.  Having a rich girl and a poor boy's stories seem to fulfill this bit but it is too much of a coincidence that their families are linked together, plus apparently the boy used to be wealthy as well.  The real folks from the streets are shown performing but nothing much on their side of tracks are featured.  There was only one club scene shown, one where hip hop could have been on display properly but it was short and artificial looking.  Because of the contest plot, dancing became a chore and difficult, leading to lies and interfering with both school and work.  There was barely any joy or heart in the dance, which should have been what the film was trying to put across.  But nothing much is learned of hip hop; its definition isn't even given. 
When the music stopped, they made their own beats, yeah!
   The film should have been a fun showcase of the hip hop scene, one that would properly introduce newcomers to the culture and encourage them to try their hand at dance.  What they received is a confusing mishmash with dance as a backdrop.  It doesn't lead to an overall enjoyable viewing experience and might even turn off folks from the idea of hip hop.  Which is a shame because the dance performances were pretty good.


  1. I really wish they'd revamp the MMFF. It doesn't benefit the local movie industry to keep promoting the increasingly silly movies they include in the line up year after year.It's just ridiculous now.

  2. Can't be helped cuz it's the silly comedies that make the most like Vice Ganda's and Riza's.

  3. I'm bothered by your review. You did get the point that it is a simple melodramatic love story with dance in the background. Problem is I think you were expecting another Step Up which it wasn't. I actually appreciate the film's use of Dance to portray emotion and just not show the "fun" that you were looking for. Didn't you listen to the dialogue? What dancers are faced with when competing abroad? I watched the release last Jan 2 and the sound in Festival mall Alabang was great!