My friends and me got to see Mr. Shridhar’s epic tale in a special screening for press today. It is absolutely uncommon in Serbia to have film directed and produced by a foreigner, in Serbian language, for local audience. So our biggest fear was how is it going to reflect on the movie itself. The answer could be: good. But it is not.
I could go on about quality of CGI for so long, but you have to see it to believe it. That bad. I can tell you that the words put in the mouth of local actors are wrong. Also, one of the main problems is casting. A few of the characters (Marko, Ravijojla, Azra) barely work, and some others (Marko’s mother Jevrosima, Musa Kesedžija and other Turks) look like they don’t know what to do with the screen time.
I got to meet the director, very OK guy, and found out that his intentions were to make a family film. Yes, there is a lot of blood and kids can see that in video games too, but the second half of the film is a little… well, rapey. More verbally perhaps, but the word “rape” is actually said once. You must know that the folk songs about Marko tend to be very very dark, they are old hundreds of years. But the movie itself is not that dark until the last third, the one with the hippo fighting a talking horse. Yes, you read it right.
So what else you get? Good magic, bad magic, Mr. Shridhar himself playing a mage, terrible blending of green screen shots with shots filmed on the location, terribly done “American night”, Marko beating Turks with an ox (an animal), Chinese looking arena for Roman-like fighting to death on the seaside of Serbia (yeah, we don’t have that) and super-violent death of a hippo.
Marko Kraljević deserves a fantastic adventure on the film, but this is not it.
If you know Serbian language check my friend Krunić’s lenghty blog post about it: http://www.celuloidnamrznja.com/kasno-marko-na-kosovo-stize/