Movie Review: ‘Ajakaju: Beast of Two Worlds’ disgraced Africa by using goats as antelopes

Ajakaju: Beast of Two Worlds
If not for being a movie reviewer, I wouldn’t have bothered going to the cinema to see ‘Ajakaju: Beast of Two Worlds’. This is due to the publicity stunt pulled by the producers to draw attention to the movie.

To bring you up to speed, the producers awarded crossdresser Bobrisky as the best-dressed woman at the movie’s premiere. This generated backlash as many Nigerians condemned them for doing such in a country with laws against LGBT.

As the backlash grew stronger, talks about the movie grew bigger. That’s possibly the motive of the producers now publishing fake epistles as an apology to Nigerians while probably smiling to the bank.

Many must have asked – Why involve controversy to promote your movie? After seeing the movie, I realized why – It is not worth one’s time. The movie’s story sounds like something culled from children’s books, more like stories from Tales By Moonlight that aired in the 80s on NTA 2 Channel 5. It is simply for simple-minded people.

‘Ajakaju: Beast of Two Worlds’ is about King Towobola (Odunlade Adekola) who was surrounded by diabolic women, from his wives to his mother (Sola Sobowale). Faced with the threat of abdicating the throne for not having a male heir, he brought home a strange woman who spelt more trouble for him.

Who was the woman King Towobola brought home? Adaralewa, played by Eniola Ajao, the producer of the movie. Adaralewa was an antelope in the animal kingdom and a woman in man’s world seeking to avenge her murdered parents.

Firstly, I’d like to talk about the costume department. They disappointed me right from the first scene that showed King Towobola with a beard. The king looked like someone plastered with hair picked from the floor of a barbershop. I wondered why they made him have a beard in that scene when the other scenes had him without such.

Another thing I found awkward was one of the priests (Murphy Afolabi) with black powder on his face. If that was done to make him look old, I would say it was poorly done and there was no need for such.

I remember reading that Eniola Ajao spent all her money to produce this movie. That sounds like the same hype used by Femi Adebayo who claimed he sold all his property and used the money to produce his Netflix movie ‘Jagun Jagun’. Well, if Eniola Ajao spent much in creating the movie, how come she used goats instead of antelopes in a movie about antelopes? Are there no more antelopes in the Yankari Game Reserve in Nigeria and other places in Africa?

The money spent on hiring popular actors should have been spent on a trip to a game reserve to film antelopes. Or how do you explain the purpose of Lateef Dimeji and Yinka Quadri in the movie? I was even anticipating that Lateef Dimeji’s character would develop into some weird plot, only for him to disappear without fulfilling any sensible purpose.

Little-known actresses from theatre art schools should have played the roles of Mercy Aigbe, Bimbo Akintola, and Fathia Balogun. That way, Nollywood would be certain of a bright future instead of having a consortium that features in each other’s movies, thereby killing creativity.

I stated that ‘Ajakaju: Beast of Two Worlds’ is for simple-minded people because it is capable of dumbing down society. That’s because of the way it ended.

Ajakaju was a shapeshifting demonic antelope that killed several hunters in King Towobola’s kingdom. To destroy the demon, the oracles of the land ordered the king to go into the forest and do the job. However, the king struck a deal with Ajakaju after she promised to give him a male child if he spared her life. Ajakaju now became Queen Adaralewa. After several weak plot twists by the directors of the movie, it became clear to citizens of the kingdom that Adaralewa was Ajakaju who killed their hunters. Despite the horrific revelation, the king accepted her back, and they lived happily ever after, like in Disney cartoons. In what sane society does that happen?

I think Nollywood directors need to present their stories to psychologists so that they can examine them before they start shooting. This is because, in a sane society, Adaralewa would have been mobbed to death. On his part, the king would have been dethroned and disgraced for elevating a murderous demon whom he was ordered by the oracles to kill. Sadly, in Nollywood, anything goes. If Funke Akindele and Toyin Aimhaku could produce for cinema, I should be able to do the same. That’s the vibe I’m getting from Eniola Ajao, whose movie left no lesson.

Lastly, the sound department did a poor job because the soundtrack often overshadowed the voice of the characters, thereby totally stealing attention from their conversation. Also, the soundtrack’s attempt to create an emotional mood failed because the movie was not emotional. As far as I’m concerned, the movie is a 5/10 and could have been better.

Credit: Kemi Filani

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