The Journey review

When I heard the news how The Journey broke the record for the highest grossing local film of all time beating KL Gangster with RM13 million in sales, I was curious to know what the film is all about. Is really that good or is it just overhyped? So I took my wife for a movie date last weekend. Here's what I think of the movie.

Warning: spoiler alert (duh)

The Journey is about a Malaysian girl who returns home after growing up in England, bringing along her boyfriend who wishes to take her hand in marriage. Being the good girl that she is, it is imperative that she seeks her father's blessing first. His father, being the quintessential chinese man that he is, demands that their marriage is steeped in tradition. The boyfriend (Benji) however finds it to be backward and unnecessary so he didn't go along with the idea initially. That changed after Benji found out her girlfriend Bee is pregnant and agreed to go with all the local chinese wedding tradition like sending out personal invites to the bride's every living relative and closest friends (apparently his father's entire primary school classmate) which is the entire premise of the movie.

Benji had one condition though. They must deliver the wedding invitations to such faraway places like Penang, Perak and Kedah using only his old Triumph (I think) bike. It appears that Benji is not your typical loaded mat salleh boyfriend since he can't afford a fancy car to drive around his future in laws. I suppose making a living as a rock star back home doesn't pay him much. So Bee's father (nickname: The Dog) agreed to Benji's request and they took a few days trip around northern Malaysia sending out wedding cards.

It was during this journey that Benji learnt that chinese tradition is more than just cultural norms but more about family values. He also learnt that his future father in law is not all that bad and rigid with his belief and he act the way he did just because of his love for his only daughter. I'm not going to spoil the movie more for you but let's just say that it has a happy ending and everybody lived happily ever after.

A few quirks that I had about the movie. For a girl that spend most of her adolescent life in England, Bee sure doesn't speak like one. I mean she sounded more like an expatriate Mandarin teacher from Beijing than a naturalized Briton. I also find the solar balloon scene a bit silly and superfluous. Benji and friends achieved an amazing feat by manufacturing that solar balloon in just a few days instead of weeks. Hmm, what else... Nope, that's about it.

What I love about The Journey is the excellent cinematic quality, comparable to a Hollywood production I should say. Shooting the movie in idyllic Cameron Highlands is definitely a plus point as you get to see the gorgeous tea plantation in the background. I'd kill to have a home somewhere thereabouts. The beach scene in Sabah is naturally beautiful. The Chinese New Year celebration in Penang would make a nice little visit Malaysia ad on its own.

The Journey offers the Malaysian audience something new, fresh and different at the movies (instead of the usual gangster/ghost theme). It's heart-warming, funny and had that mass-appeal that every Malaysian could relate to. This movie will make KRU Studios' Vikingdom totally shit in comparison. Overall, I'd give The Journey 7/10 stars.

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