Publicity Stills of "Back To Gaya"
(Courtesy from Shaw)

Genre: Animation
Director: Lenard Fritz Krawinkel
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Emily Watson, Glenn Wrage, Alan Mariot, Bob Saker
RunTime: 1 hr 31 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: PG

Opening Day: 8 December 2005

Synopsis :

The imaginary world of Gaya is home to a race of creatures who are much smaller than humans, but who have an uncanny resemblance to them. The Gayans live surrounded by breathtaking scenery that is rich in dazzling colour.

But Gaya’s inhabitants are facing imminent extinction. Someone has stolen the magic stone Dalamite without which this world is doomed. Two Gayans called Boo and Zino embark on the dangerous mission of tracking down and recovering the stone. Their journey takes them into another world that is both strange and frightening – our everyday reality. It is only when the pair leave Gaya together with the feisty mayor’s daughter Alanta that they realise they are the heroes of a TV series. The intrepid adventurers discover that Gaya is merely a figment of a TV scriptwriter’s imagination and only exists on the small screen.

The tiny adventurers don’t have much time to reflect upon the peculiarities of the human world. After all they have a mystery to solve. The characters have three questions that need to be urgently solved: Who stole the Dalamite and why? And how did they manage to get into Gaya in the first place?

Movie Review:

No doubt that through the combined efforts of producer Holger Tappe and director Lenard Krawinkel, this movie is testament that it has broken the German film industry mold by being the first of its kind.

The movie opens with rich and beautiful sceneries of Gaya that have been realistically created with CGI (computer generated images) animation. Following which, we are introduced to the film heroes, Boo and Zino, admittedly upon observing these Gayans, I could not help but relate them to hobbits. Think hobbits with extremely huge ears and noses.

Boo is your typical brainy genius that is constantly being overshadowed by the heroism of his best friend, Zino. While Zino is the reverse version of the pair reflecting brawns and bravery, but sorely lacking smarts. This actually makes them special in terms of being animated heroes, because like anyone else, they are not perfect and have their fair share of flaws. These aspects are accentuated at one point of the movie as they are challenged to overcome their personal flaws when the other one points them out.

Other key characters in the story include the rebel princess of Gaya, Alanta (voiced by Emily Watson, whose other animated movie was Corpse Bride), and the resident bad guys, labeled Snurks. The trio consists of leader, Galger and cronies, Zeck and Brampf.

When the Dalamite gets stolen, these Gayans are brought into the reality of our world. Through a series of misadventures of finding the Dalamite and the road back to Gaya, everyone is forced to work together and their journey leads them to discover that they are actually fictional characters part of a children’s television show created by a scriptwriter named Albert Drollinger (voiced by Star Trek’s Patrick Stewart). In attempts to find the answers to their questions, they set off to find their creator, unbeknownst that the villain is trailing them.

While the concept of the movie is rather unique, the plot of the story though is fairly simple even with the numerous action scenes placed throughout the movie, making it somewhat predictable at times. The punch lines tend to come in a bit weak, but the simplicity of it will probably be a hit with the kids.

Visually, the strength in its CGI is the attention to detail the artists have given to each world, making each setting believable and full of personality, such as months gathering around the lamps along the streets of a residential neighbourhood. Even the characters themselves are drawn with careful details in their facial features and clothing. The one flaw that the animation has is in the animated movement of the characters. While this will probably go unnoticed to the average movie viewer, avid fans of animated film will find that certain movements may seem a little stiff at times and the lip-syncing is not always precise.

One fact that you should know about Back to Gaya, is that it is the first German film to be completely computer generated. Even though it might be short of the regular Hollywood standards, one should keep in mind that this movie does not have the luxury of having a Hollywood budget that is usually granted to American animated filmmakers, such as Pixar and Dream Works. Overall, Back To Gaya is actually pretty good for a family movie despite its shortcomings.

Movie Rating:

(Great for the kids and those young at heart - what the movie lacks in its script, is thankfully made up for in the wonderful visuals)

Review by Jolene Tan

DISCLAIMER: Images, Textual, Copyrights and trademarks for the film and related entertainment properties mentioned
herein are held by their respective owners and are solely for the promotional purposes of said properties.
All other logo and design Copyright©2004-2005, movieXclusive.com™
All Rights Reserved.