Cinemas pull the plug on Kajola

Cinemas pull the plug on Kajola

The much hyped
futuristic movie, Kajola, has been pulled from major Lagos cinemas in
Lagos, barely days after its high profile release. The setback comes
after an avalanche of viewer complaints led to the film’s removal from
the listing of movies at the Silverbird Cinemas, Victoria Island; and
the Ozone Cinema, Yaba.

Dubbed the
country’s first CGI (Computer Generated Images) movie, Kajola gulped a
budget of 130 million naira, making it the most expensive film ever
produced in Nigeria. It received a high profile premiere on July 30 at
the Silverbird Cinemas in Abuja, among many other movie centres.

However, by Monday,
August 2, the movie had been removed from the listing of movies on the
website of Silverbird’s cinema in Lagos, though it had featured in the
brochure. Not discouraged by this discrepancy, NEXT made efforts to
view the movie in Lagos, but found that the movie had been crossed off
the brochure, and had stopped showing.

Speaking with a
ticket sales attendant on this development, it was explained that due
to unprecedented levels of criticism of the movie by those who had
viewed it, ‘Kajola’ was no longer being shown at the Cinema.

“The viewers came
and demanded their money back from the management of the cinema, same
reactions were recorded at Ozone Cinema, so we had to stop showing it,”
said the attendant.

Set in 2059,
‘Kajola’ depicts Nigeria as a totalitarian state, just emerging from a
second civil war. Using technological effects, the movie trailer shows
the Lagos mainland in derelict conditions, with scenes of the Ikeja
metropolis reduced to ruins. The Island, however, has by comparison
recorded immense development, monopolised by the super-rich.

‘Kajola’- a plot to
rid the mainland of its dwindling destitute inhabitants, and rebuild it
to the standard of the island – is hatched. Allen, a rebel leader
learns of this plot and begins to head a rebellion to stop it; a
rebellion that must be crushed by Police Chief, Yetunde. These two,
sworn enemies, soon find that they are but pawns in the ultimate plot.
Kajola’s is a story addressing the need for Nigerians to start
correcting socio-political ills before they develop into a juggernaut
that may threaten our future existence.

Produced by Adonai
Productions and directed by Niyi Akinmolayan, ‘Kajola’ stars Desmond
Elliott, Adonija Owiriwa, and Keira Hewatch, and was billed to be the
next height in movie production in Nigeria. According to the producers,
“Kajola is the upcoming revolutionary action movie, complete with
stunning Hollywood-style visual effects.”

Whatever happened
to the extensive budget, novel animation technology and other
preparations – such as the month-long martial arts training supposedly
undertaken by the stars of the movie – one might never know. The most
positive review gotten so far from viewers was that the big screen
magnified the movie’s animation defects, and that the production was a
waste of movie-viewing time.

Though Akinmolayan
had on Facebook, prior to the movie’s release, expressed hope that the
viewers would “feel the emotion I felt when I made it,” Emmanuel, one
of those at the movie premiere, expressed great disappointment. “I went
to the cinema with great expectations because I thought it would be a
bar-raiser for Nigerian movies. I think the production is appalling.
The acting quality fell below even the Nollywood standard and the
storyline isn’t properly narrated. It is not a movie I’ll want to see
again,” Emmanuel said.

Premiering at the same time as the better-received ‘Ije’ (a movie
that has been hailed by many as a seamless meshing of Nollywood and
Hollywood) could not have done ‘Kajola’ a lot of favours either, as
comparisons are bound to have been made. So, is Kajola a major flop, a
‘turkey’ in Hollywood parlance? Only time will tell. The film’s
producers will be hoping, following its delisting by cinemas, that they
recoup the movie’s gargantuan production costs.

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