I have to say that the trailer of Sri Asih is a great hook to begin with. I am very interested. I watched Gundala, love it and feel proud to see Indonesian universe. Thus without trailer I would have watched anyway but the trailer is a strong hook already.
Sri Asih is second installment of Bumi Langit universe after Gundala, with female lead by Pevita Pearce as Sri Asih (and Alana). This movie cost a fortune as it features strong ensemble. It has Ario Bayu (Ghazul), Jefri Nichol (Tangguh), Reza Rahadian (Jatmiko) and Surya Sahputra (Prayogo Adinegara). It further has Christine Hakim (Eyang Mariani), Dimas Anggara (Kala), Randy Pangalila (Mateo Adinegara), Revaldo (Jagau) and Jourdy Pranata ( Farzan) as well as Jenny Zhang (Sarita). I can call it super ensemble perhaps. In fact there are even cameo of Dian Sastro as well as Najwa Shihab !
Gundala and Gatot Kaca as well Jagat Arwah struggle to find smart method to set the context in such short time and yet still interesting. Sri Asih progresses well bridging it with projector and narrated by Farzan and Eyang Mariani, with short dialogues with Sri Asih and Tangguh, making it lively and yet well understood. The context set in stages as well making it not too exhausting and allow the story also set the context as it unfolds, which is quite nicely. With the context set quite nicely, the super ensemble carry the story, some with very strong acting some average but overall flow quite nicely thanks to expert directing by Upi. I particularly like the sprinkle of humorous dialogue especially between Kala and Tangguh, it enliven the movie to be not too monotone.
The cinematography is worth mentioning in Sri Asih because some frames are truly picturesque and gorgeous despite the setting especially the Javanese ones are slightly overdone but I guess it needs emphasizing given the title and center piece nature of Javanese character. With exception of costume for Sri Asih which is quite nicely dressed, the rest is a bit cliche similar like when you see Cdrama where winter coats are being worn inside the building as cliche signature (sometime). Antagonist characters doesnt have to be dressed as typical antagonist character for example with the gangster like costume.
Special mention is for sound and visual effects which is quite advanced, must be using more of CGI technology (probably making the cost a bit more expensive in the process, justifiable so). They truly make the movies entertaining and source of my pride. It no longer look like basic effects anymore and hopefully the next installment will be even more so.
As hard core action fans especially the fighting scenes, I have to say the quality is a bit uneven. I can truly see Pevita trained well and transformed excellently. It is sight for sore eyes to see her fight beautifully in some of scenes. However the quality of the fight choreography is a bit uneven. Fighting scenes in the ring are great but the street fighting scene is slower, sluggish and of basic movements. I have to say though fighting scenes are notoriously difficult to choreograph even in western movies so there is indeed room for growth for the next installments. Having said that, they are still enjoyable.
A franchise like this especially now it is second installment, there must be already opportunity for merchandise, events and need more marketing. Unfortunately this movie missing opportunity for additional revenue stream and as well quicker viral even just from all these super ensemble casts. As we say in Indonesia, sayang sekali !
Overall congratulation is indeed in order for Joko Anwar. Two movies so far and they are of solid quality from Bumi Langit. It is not easy achievement and I am very much looking forward to the third installment hopefully will be even stronger with all learnings from first and second installments.
Lastly, I watched it in 21 and my God, the advertisement nearly take 10 minutes and these are not even mostly for the next / upcoming movies. I watched movies in CGV with less advertisement and equally nice setting (if you got velvet or gold seat).
Verdict : absolutely a must watch !