Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Joko Anwar|
|Produced by||Sukhdev Singh|
Wicky V. Olindo
|Written by||Joko Anwar|
Comic series by Hasmi
|Music by||Aghi Narotama|
|Edited by||Dinda Amanda|
|Distributed by||Screenplay Films|
119 minutes (TIFF)
|Box office||Rp67.67 billion|
Gundala is a 2019 Indonesian superhero film based on the comics character Gundala created by Harya “Hasmi” Suraminata in 1969, co-produced by Screenplay Films and BumiLangit Studios, and distributed by Legacy Pictures. It is the first installment in the BumiLangit Cinematic Universe (BCU). The film is directed and written by Joko Anwar, and stars Abimana Aryasatya as Sancaka / Gundala, alongside Tara Basro, Bront Palarae, Ario Bayu, Cecep Arif Rahman, Rio Dewanto, and Muzakki Ramdhan. The first official news about the film was announced on April 4, 2018 on social media accounts of its director and production houses. At Indonesia Comic Con on October 28, 2018, a press conference was held to introduce the main casts and the first look at video of the film with a release date set around mid 2019. Filming has been done in September throughout October 2018. Gundala had its local premiere on August 28, 2019, and released in Indonesia on August 29, 2019. It had its International premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2019. The film received positive reviews from audience and critics with praise for Abimana's performance, Anwar's direction, visual effects, costume design and originality.
Sancaka is an astraphobic son of an Indonesian factory worker. One day, the workers protested and soon rioted on income inequality; it stopped as Sancaka's father is stabbed by an unknown man. Sancaka's anger makes him release lightning blasts from his body, and then faints. Sancaka's mother leaves to another city to find a job, and never returns. Sancaka became homeless in Jakarta, and met fellow homeless Awang, who taught him self-defense. They plan to freighthop, but only Awang is able to hop in the train.
Adult Sancaka works as a guard and mechanic in a printing factory. Most of Indonesia's corrupt legislature is controlled by crime boss Pengkor, who commands an army of orphans, who was once in his abusive uncle's orphanage whom they killed as a revenge, raised as assassins. Pengkor plots to poison rice supplies with a drug that makes the fetuses of pregnant women immoral. Many people them demand the legislative to release an untested antidote formulated by a pharmaceutical company to the public. The debate splits the legislative into two factions: one is led by legislator Ridwan Bahri and his colleagues who creates a bill to distribute it, and the other is controlled by Pengkor and his allies, who opposes it.
One day, Sancaka helps his neighbour Wulan fend off some harassing thugs. In a second fight, a bolt strikes Sancaka's body, awakening his superhuman powers. Sancaka is asked by Wulan to help her defend a thug-vulenerable market. Sancaka is unready, allowing the thugs to burn the market. With the help of Wulan, her little brother Teddy, and Sancaka's fellow guard Agung, Sancaka learns his powers and creates a DIY costume to harness his powers. With that, Sancaka starts fighting the thugs, including violinist Adi Sulaiman and Pengkor's nationwide orphan agents.
The legislature passes the bill on the antidote, but Ridwan soon discovers that the poison is non-lethal; it is the antidote that is poisonous, with the pharmaceutical company revealed to be owned by Pengkor's shell company. Ridwan asks Sancaka to stop the distribution, causing Pengkor and the team to attack Sancaka, seizing Agung, Wulan, and Teddy. Sancaka unleashes his powers, defeating most of the attackers, but Agung dies. Ridwan arrives and shoots Pengkor. Sancaka catches up with the distribution convoy and tries to stop them; he succeeds thanks to a mysterious woman stopping them, and uses his power to break all the antidote bottles.
Pengkor’s partner Ghazul breaks open an ancient tomb buried inside the walls of a museum and the seal of a container containing an old head, using Sancaka's blood he secretly extracted. He combines the body and the head, resurrecting Ki Wilawuk, a powerful medieval, and tells him of Sancaka, calling him 'Gundala' ('Thunder' in ancient Javanese). Ki Wilawuk orders Ghazul to gather his army, "for a great war is coming."
In a mid-credits scene, Gundala meets Ridwan and thanked him for giving an upgraded costume. From afar, the mysterious woman who stopped the convoy earlier observes them; it is the superhero Sri Asih.
- Abimana Aryasatya as Sancaka/Gundala: A security guard who was struck by lightning, giving him superhuman powers and turning him into the superhero Gundala. Muzakki Ramdhan portrays Young Sancaka.
- Tara Basro as Sedhah Esti Wulan: Sancaka's neighbour and love interest. She inspires Sancaka to take up the responsibility as a superhuman and a hero.
- Bront Palarae as Pengkor: A disfigured mafia boss controlling the city's underworld. Pengkor was disfigured when he was a child after his father's plantation workers burned down their house, leaving him bitter and vowing revenge on the world. Pengkor means "limp" in Indonesian.
- Ario Bayu as Ghazul: Ghazul appeared to be Pengkor's partner and confidant at first, but was bent on world domination himself. The character remained nameless for most of the film, only revealing his name to Ki Wilawuk at the end of the movie. Ghazul is one of Gundala's most famous nemesis from the comics.
- Lukman Sardi as Ridwan Bahri: A politician allied to Sancaka and the leader of Rumah Perdamaian.
- Fariz Fadjar as Young Awang: Sancaka's fellow street kid who taught him how to fight. Awang would grow up to become the superhero Godam, to be portrayed by Chicco Jericho in future movies.
- Aqi Singgih as Ganda Hamdan: Pengkor and Ghazul's subordinate in the legislature.
Rio Dewanto and Marissa Anita portray Sancaka's father and mother respectively. Hannah Al Rashid portrays Cantika/Camar, Daniel Adnan portrays Tanto Ginanjar, Cornelio Sunny portrays The Painter, Asmara Abigail portrays Desti Nikita, and Kelly Tandiono portrays Mutiara Jenar/Bidadari Mata Elang, all of which are members of Pengkor's orphan assassins. Some of these characters would have bigger roles in future Bumilangit Universe movies.
Additionally, Zidni Hakim portrays Dirga Utama, a young legislative member opposing Pengkor, while long-time Indonesian choreographer Arie Tulang portrays Kamal Atmaja, a powerful hypnotist allied to Pengkor. Indonesian comedian Aming portrays Sam Buadi, another of Pengkor's assassins, a carver. Donny Alamsyah and Tanta Ginting portrays Fadli Aziz and Ito Marbun respectively, two of the leading thugs. Indonesian presenter and radio personality Dimas Danang plays Hasbi, Ridwan's assistant, while martial artist and fight choreographer Cecep Arif Rahman portrays Swara Batin, one of Pengkor's main assassins.
A couple of cameos appeared near the end of the movie with Pevita Pearce portraying the superheroine Sri Asih, while legendary Indonesian musician, actor, and artist Sudjiwo Tedjo portrays Ki Wilawuk, who appears set to be the universe's main villain.
In 1981, the popularity of the Gundala comics in Indonesia reached the big screen. By purchasing a license from the author, PT. Cancer Mas Film visualizes the comic to a film titled Gundala Putra Petir ("Gundala the Son of Lightning"), directed by Lilik Sudjio. The actor who was appointed as Ir. Sancaka or Gundala is Teddy Purba who was famous as one of the Indonesian action stars at that time. His mortal enemy, Ghazul was played by the character actor W. D. Mochtar, while Sancaka's lovers, Minarti played by Anna Tairas. Other actors and actresses involved in the film include Ami Priyono, August Melasz, Pitrajaya Burnama, H.I.M. Damsyik, Gordon Subandono, A. Hamid Arief, Rini Ratih, Dewanti, and Ratno Timoer. Even though the setting was changed from the setting on the comics, the film remained faithful to storytelling based on comics written by Hasmi. It was told that an engineer named Sancaka managed to find the anti-lightning formula. Unfortunately this discovery resulted in Sancaka having to break up with her lover Minarti due to forgetting to attend her birthday. In the midst of sadness and heavy rain, Sancaka was struck by lightning and carried over to the world of Emperor Kronz. There, he was given the power and costume that turned him into Gundala. Meanwhile, the circulation of narcotics by a group of organizations led by Ghazul began to run rampant. That is when the battle between good against evil began.
In 2010, Iskandar Salim, a photographer and graphic designer, created promotional material for a movie that was not being made about Gundala, because he noticed that there had never been a movie featuring an Indonesian superhero and wished to start a public debate on the subject. He created an official website, a Facebook page, posters, and staged photographs that allegedly showed the movie being made. As a result of the attention generated by the hoax, Gundala's creator, Hasmi became involved in negotiations to produce a real film based on the character.
BumiLangit Studios as the owner of Gundala Intellectual Property has been developing the idea of making Gundala movie since 2014. The search for the right director and scriptwriter for Gundala film was not easy, and took BumiLangit years to finally find the perfect match. Then in 4 April 2018, Joko Anwar was announced to be the writer and the director for the film. He is one of Indonesia's most prolific and celebrated film directors.
Joko Anwar admitted that the scriptwriting process of Gundala film was the hardest work during his career. He usually spent 1–2 months on a scriptwriting process, but eventually spent 7 months for this project. Reinterpreting the original origin from its 1969 comic, he reworked the story in a way that could attract millennials and centennials. Hasmi's comics and notes about Gundala helped him to write the script.
Joko Anwar felt that Abimana Aryasatya is the perfect actor to portray Sancaka / Gundala due to both of his vulnerable and strong aura. After several attempts, Joko finally convinced Abimana and he finally accepted the offer.
Gundala costume was a teamwork effort between Iwan Nazif (Bumilangit Creative Engine) and Chris Lie (Caravan Studio). The production was handled by Quantum Creations FX based in Los Angeles, known for their works in Daredevil, Watchmen, Supergirl, The Hunger Games, Star Trek, and Iron Man.
The filming process for Gundala took 53 days in 70 locations, including Jakarta, Cilegon and Purwakarta, involving 1,500 extras and 300 film crew. Principal photography began in Purwakarta on September 1, 2018, with Ical Tanjung serving as director of photography. Filming wrapped on October 31, 2018.
Post-production began in November 2018 and was completed around June 2019. Gundala film involved many of the best film workers in Indonesia, one of them being Khikmawan Santosa who often won the Best Sound Designer award at the prestigious Indonesian Film Festival. Gundala was one of his last projects before he passed away on May 11, 2019.
One of the soundtrack complementing this film was the 1962 song "The End of the World" by Skeeter Davis. The production team agreed that the lyrics represent the main theme of the film; when many people in a country do not upheld justice, they will head on towards the "end of the world".
A first look video of Gundala film was shown at Indonesia Comic Con on October 28, 2018. The first teaser released on the official YouTube channel of Screenplay Films on April 12, 2019. A month later, the official poster revealed on May 28, 2019.
In order to raise public awareness regarding Gundala film, M&C! and Koloni publisher will publish two types of Gundala comics, remastering version of Gundala classic comics (published in July 2019) and Gundala comics adaptation from the story conveyed in the film (published in August 2019). The remastering version is targeting the original Gundala comics’ fans back in 1970s–1980s and collector of Indonesian old school comics, while the adaptation version is targeting Indonesian millennials who were not aware of Gundala character before. Gundala comics will also be available in a digital form on WEBTOON, targeting Indonesian teenagers who frequently accessed the platform. Koloni, along with Gramedia and BumiLangit, will also hold several roadshows around Indonesia. The Gundala film roadshow began on June 15, 2019 in Jakarta.
Gundala had its local premiere on August 28, 2019, and released in Indonesia on August 29, 2019. It had its International premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2019. It was acquired by Premiere Entertainment Group, who began shopping the film to domestic and international buyers at the AFM on November 9, 2019. On April 30, 2020, Well Go USA Entertainment announced it would be releasing Gundala via digital, Blu-ray, and DVD in North America on July 28, 2020.
Variety's Richard Kuipers wrote that the film is "an action-packed and emotionally satisfying adaptation of the treasured Indonesian comicbook created by Harya "Hasmi" Suraminata." Victor Stiff from ThatShelf.com praised the film, stating, "From beginning to end, Gundala delivers fast and furious action and rarely stops to take its foot off the gas."
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