Syafiq Yusof’s latest offering, Desolasi, is filled with computer-generated imagery (CGI), up to 60 per cent of the film. It’s definitely a commendable effort.
At the press screening for the film, co-producer Yusof Haslam warns that we shouldn’t compare it to foreign CGI films since the levels of expertise are different.
That’s kind of hard for me to do (since I’ve seen so many foreign CGI films) but based on local standards, Desolasi certainly is in a league of its own. I learnt that CGI isn’t just about adding in an animated character into a scene, but also editing the scene’s components.
Desolasi is about Aiman (Syamsul) who’s on the brink of giving up on life. From the start, there are these short clips of CGI effects which looked like technical glitch occurring on a computer screen. I suppose that’s a clever way to show how convoluted Aiman’s mind is.
Seeing Aiman take on an onslaught of difficulties is rather upsetting. His demand for answers is certainly understandable.
It makes you realise that it can happen to anyone. After a huge fight with his father (Datuk Jalaluddin Hassan), he wishes for a world where his troubles are gone.
He wakes up the next morning and Kuala Lumpur is suddenly void of people.
The title Desolasi refers to Aiman’s state of mind, where he feels and sees emptiness. At first he is agitated, but he soon learns that he now has the power to do anything he wishes.
This is where CGI is mainly used. In the story, Aiman wrecks buildings using guns and bombs. The production team created those scenes accordingly. I wasn’t impressed by that but what blew my mind was that the normally busy Kuala Lumpur was totally devoid of people.
While watching, I was wondering how the team had managed to get everyone out of the city.
They had resorted to CGI. For this, I have to give the team two thumbs up because the visuals are stunning.
You’re so used to seeing KL city chockful of people and vehicles so it’s simply surreal to see the city completely empty and well, peaceful. These scenes will remind you of Will Smith’s post-apocalyptic horror film I Am Legend. Syafiq admitted that he was inspired by it.
Despite showcasing ground-breaking CGI effects, the film’s main aim is to relay a strong message about the importance of family. Aiman has had a rocky relationship with his father since a child. Growing up, it goes from bad to worse.
Desolasi shows these fights well but sometimes, they’re over-the-top, with lots of yelling involved. Nevertheless, the film successfully gets the message across, but with an over-dramatic touch.
Desolasi comprises religious themes as well, which mesh well with the importance of family. After encountering numerous obstacles, Aiman needs to find his way home, so the film documents his search for direction and meaning in life. This goes on until he meets a mysterious woman (Bella Dally) who opens his eyes to the truth.
Scenes leading to the climax is fast-paced yet blurry, with many turns-of-events thrown into the plot. However, it’s certainly fulfilling to finally learn about what’s been causing all of this that Aiman is experiencing. Here, Syafiq carefully put the scenes together.
Syamsul has done a commendable job as Aiman, giving the character a natural portrayal. You can expect a dramatic portrayal by Jalaluddin but Bella, however, seems stiff and forced. It doesn’t matter because the film is almost like a one-man show, featuring Syamsul. It’s safe to say that 75 per cent of the scenes are of him.
Desolasi overall is an engaging piece that not only will leave an impact on the industry but also on viewers.
DIRECTED BY Syafiq Yusof
STARRING Syamsul Yusof, Bella Dally, Pekin Ibrahim, Aida Khalida, Datuk Jalaluddin Hassan, Jacky Kam
DURATION 111 minutes