Movies Review

Review: Donkey King; Democracy as the punch line

The emphasis for the marketers of Donkey King was on their tagline ‘a fun film for ages’. Having seen the film, I understand that approach. Donkey King, isn’t necessarily a film for kids. So, the basic idea of an animated film is for children, had to be dismissed. The film has plethora of tongue in cheek political references, which are primarily targeted a current affair consuming audience. Hiding behind the laughs, and slapstick comedy are deeper meaning jibs at how democracy is curtailed in our country, the role media plays, and the social classes division.

The film tell us a simple enough story of Mangu, a donkey who ends up on the throne. The incumbent ruler has decided to call it a day. The natural course of action is to handover the reigns to his son, but due to a combination of treacherous planning by the fox ‘Fitna’ and a passionate movement of rights; the king decides to have a democratic election process. Mangu, who dreams of better days is lured into the reckoning by Miss Fitna, who wants to be the de facto ruler behind the veil of Mangu’s Kingship to attain her wicked goals. Mangu is caught between enjoying the perks of being King and doing what is right for the Kingdom. All goes haywire before Mangu gets a shot at redemption.

It’s an easy to comprehend story even for children. Evil loses, good is triumphant in the long. It directs us to dream big but keep a check on personal desires. The film is its own way is quite serious, pointing out the hypocrites of our society. The script although not watertight, is engaging. There are moments where scene just go on more than required like the song about not having utilities. The point was already made earlier.

Jan Rambo as Mangu, is decent. At times he did go off the decibel limit but overall it was well done considering the director’s motives was to paint Mangu as an adorable fool. Hina Dilpazeer evil laughs are a thing now. Marketers should make use of it. She does a stellar job as Fitna. I am not an animation expert, but for an uneducated eye, it looked perfect. Animating team under Zeeshan Kirmani, painted an alluring picture fit for the fairy tale. The title song is beautifully done, and is very catchy.

All in all, this is a fun one time watch. If you are aware of current affairs, it will make the film that much more enjoyable. Go to watch a light hearted, fun yet profound portrayal of democracy in Pakistan.

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One Comment

  1. This movie lacks humour. When you’re writing a script for a movie, it should be original. Each joke was a decade old and copied from those forward whatsapp messages. Parts and bits were copied from Bollywood, be it Rangeela’s takiya-kalam (stolen from FIR) or the way Mangu’s chacha direct all the dhobis to wash clothes (munna bhai mbbs/salman khan’s movie) or the time when Mangu falls into the river and then comes back when everyone’s weeping (welcome/some other movies). Heck, even the start of the movie began with a ripped version of KBC. They didn’t even spare that Titanic scene. It’s SO old. Please. Raja Idol had that same old Shah Rukh Khan’s kikikikiran mimicry (why does no one mimic his wittiness) and that same Donald Trump wall joke. Mangu’s own character was really cringy, most of his dialogues were repeated through the movie even though they were not funny (hint: washing machine, punjabis eating meatballs). The plot wasn’t juicy enough, it became boring as the film progressed. I do admit that the movie was a combination of all genres. The ring master scenes were really scary, specially his laughter. It was the same old plot, we’ve seen it a billion times; just this time, it dug into the current political situation but it wasn’t deep enough. If they were inserting jokes that they knew only adults will understand, they should’ve tried to make it a little darker–but then again, our cinema and the movies that get banned. One thing that I hate about animated movies is the fact that they use “Allah” in a song or even in a dialogue. Those are cartoons. Firstly, you shouldn’t be drawing them (which is your own decision, not saying anything about that) but even if you’re animating them into cartoons or whatever; you shouldn’t at least use words like InshAllah or SubhanAllah in them. This movie made a whole song (Allah meherban) using God’s name and I thought ‘Main, Jaan, aur meri pyaari mama’ was the culprit. I don’t know why people don’t point this out. Every animation movie does that. The way Ms. Fitna looks into the camera and talks to us, like she already knows that she is a character being watched, is a really good break of the fourth wall.

    Overall, in my opinion, the movie was a 4.5 on 10. Copied jokes, same plot, loathful protagonist. It did explore all genres, had great graphics, and was dubbed perfectly. The voices behind the characters (Momo, Mani, Javed Sheikh etc) were great, specially Adeel Hashmi. It did show what’s actually happening in Pakistan right now, horrifically more in Karachi. Had this movie been released later this year, it would be really fun to see a joke about the current dollar exchange rate. But our cinema and the ban on our movies, oh.
    My 50 paisas. Spent.

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