I still recalled a day when Laskar Pelangi, a 2008 film inspired by Andrea Hirata’s best-selling novel of the same title, became the talk of the town. The same happened when Sang Pemimpi, the second adaptation to the second Laskar Pelangi novel was released in 2010. Therefore, hopes were high that the third sequel of Laskar Pelangi would follow their steps.
Mira Lesmana and directed by Riri Reza, LaskarPelangi and Sang Pemimpi have definitely secured their places in Indonesia’s film history as key films that will be discussed in years to come. They are a good example of movie adaptation. Not only did they enjoy commercial success, they were also considered as acclaimed cinematic products.
Mira and Riri are indeed well-known for their magic hands. Their initial works – Kuldesak (1998), Petualangan Sherina (2000) and AdaApa dengan Cinta? (2002)- have brought Indonesia’s film industry to a renaissance era.
However, the movie geniuses are absent in the third installment of Laskar Pelangi.
The Jakarta Post reported that Mizan, Laskar Pelangi’scinematic copyright owner, wanted the third movie be immediately released. However, Mira and Riri, according to the Post, were still busy with another project.
As replacement, Benni Setiawan, an award winning director, was hired as the new director as well as the scriptwriter for the third movie entitled –oddly as– Laskar Pelangi 2: Edensor. (Confused why it is labeled 2 instead of 3? Well so am I). Benni was known for his works including Madre (2013), 3 Hati, Dua Dunia, Satu Cinta (2010) and Bukan Cinta Biasa (2006).
In Edensor, Ikal (Lukman Sardi) and his distant cousin Arai (Abimana Aryasatya) have acquired scholarships to study in the University of Paris-Sorbonne. Ikal studies economics while Arai biology.
Living a modest life, Ikal and Arai want to financially help their families in Belitung. As they cannot rely on their scholarship funds, they then find side jobs from being waiters until being street musicians.
They have ordinary lives there: They make friends from various countries. Ikal even set his eye on a German girl named Katya (Astrid Roos). His feeling luckily is not unrequited. Ikal, however, is involved in an inner conflict as he undergoes a relationship with a woman who has a very different racial, cultural and religious background.
As Ikal’s closest friend, Arai warns his cousin that their aim is to study instead of focusing on love. Thus, Arai scolds Ikal when his grades are failing; Ikal's academic life is disturbed by his romantic life. Arai and Ikal, then, are awkwardly involved in a cold war (yeah, you cannot really do much if you live in a same room).
The first 45 minutes of the movie, at least, tells about that theme: shallow average college life. The rest 45 minutes, disappointingly, still continues that shallow narration.
I cannot remember how many times I checked my mobile phone when I watched the movie. It was so boring! I felt that 90 minutes ran so slow. Benni could make it into a 60-minute movie if he wanted. The movie, in my opinion, is full of unimportant scenes. I felt like I was watching a sinetron instead of a movie back then.
Then, another disappointment is located on the narration. By far, it is the worst Laskar Pelangi movie in terms of its narration. The first and the second movie have good narration schemes. But sadly, Edensor fails to maintain it. For instance, the conflict in Edensor is … wait, is there really a conflict in the movie? I think I can just skip the first 40 minutes of the movie and can still understand the movie’s ending. I seriously wanted to push the fast forward button when I watched Edensor.
Despite all of the disappointment, however, I should praise Idris Sardi and Abimana Aryasatya’s multi talented skill. Many scenes require them to speak in French (one of the most difficult language in the world). They, in my eyes, have succeeded to speak French. They have also enlivened Ikal-Arai’s bromance so that I as the audience can feel the sincere friendship between them.
The magic of the first and second movie of Laskar Pelangi is undoubtedly lost in Edensor. It has lost its spell that binds people to pay attention to it. The third film has hurt my expectation of Laskar Pelangi film adaptations so bad.
(SPOILER ALERT! CONTINUE READING IF YOU WANT. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED)
The ending scene is so unimportant as it featured Andrea Hirata himself sitting in his own Museum Kata in Belitung. Who asked him to appear in the film? His whole appearance in the movie has no relevancy. The movie is about him. Ikal is Andrea. Why should he himself appear? I still cannot understand why that ending scene was set in the first place.