(director/writer: Ham Tra; music: Christopher Wong; cast: Kim Nha (), Khanh Nhur (My), Lai Truong Phu (Hung), Chu Diep Anh (Maika), Tin-Tin (Beo), Ngoc Truong (Thanh); Runtime: 105; MPAA Rating: NR; producers; Jenni Trang Le, Duy Ho, Anderson Le, Bao Nguyen: FPT Play; 2022-Vietnam-n Vietnamese with English subtitles)
“Should interest children audiences around the world.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Vietnam filmmaker Ham Tra (“Journey from the Fall”/”Angel Sign”) directs and writes this uneven kiddie themed sci-fi film. It’s most like E.T., just not as good.
The story focuses around an 8-year-old boy Hùng (Lai Truòng Phù), whose mother dies and he’s raised by his repair shop owner economically struggling father, Thanh (Ngòc Tuòng). Though living together, boy and dad remain detached even if dad is a kind man.
One day Hùng meets a beautiful alien named Maika (Chu Dièp Anh), who crash lands in his backyard. She can fight with her swift, arrow-like wings and if in trouble her wings can also save her from many other situations. Maika came here to retrieve her lost friend but her connection back to her planet by using a satellite connection that generates a special kind of force, is broken.
The film is overloaded with plot more than infusing the film with character development. It leads to a lengthy climax sequence involving a flight-out for Maika, whereby she’s taken hostage.
Despite big plot holes to climb over, things lead to predictable conclusion as Maika escapes.
Though much too long a watch, the child actors are good, the Maika character is charming enough, and the fantasy story should interest children audiences around the world.
It played at Sundance.
REVIEWED ON 3/13/2022 GRADE: B-