Many would think of the scout movement (Pramuka) as simply a group of children wearing boring khaki-colored uniforms with red-and-white ties doing outdoor camping.
The latest flick, Lima Elang (Five Eagles), by noted filmmaker Rudi Soedjarwo, would put that simplistic view to the test.
This film may be the first in decades that touches on the scout movement as its main theme, with a dose of drama, comedy and action to give the film some much-desired flavors.
The film centers on a city kid, named Baron, who is annoyed by his parents’ decision to move to Balikpapan in East Kalimantan.
The boy, who has a penchant for playing with his remote control car, is unhappy about having to leave his close friends and the capital city of Jakarta. Worse, he encounters problems adjusting to his new school.
The twist comes when his school has to find at least six children to represent the school in the scout’s camping competition – a preliminary competition to get into the national jamboree in Jakarta.
Rusdi, a student at the school, is thrilled to join the camp and persuades Baron to join him.
Unlike Baron, who has no interest in the scouts, Rusdi embodies the scouts’ principles. He is overly optimistic and positive about scouts, which annoys Baron the most.
Unwillingly, Baron joins the camping trip, thinking that he can escape and go visit a remote control car exhibition nearby.
The two team up with Anton, a boy who likes performing fire tricks, and Aldi, a small but flamboyant boy, who joins the camp in order to meet up with a girl from another school.
At the camp, they make friends with Sinday, a girl from another school who is fed up with her friends’ bitchy attitudes; they make use of her strength and bigger physique to finish most games for their group.
The five youngsters develop a close friendship with each other and begin their adventure in the camp, bracing themselves for a danger that lurks in a nearby forest.
What is interesting about the film is that it does not try to fool around by implying that scouting is the coolest thing to do.
Although the central theme is scouting, the story remains understated with a background of muted enthusiasm concerning scouts among students at Rusdi’s school.
The film’s director, Rudi Soedjarwo, manages to portray interesting activities and values that are held within the scout movement.
“I was imagining myself making this movie for my children. I hope this film can be an oasis because the film industry lacks children’s films,” he said.
The five child stars in the film deserve praise, especially since four of them have never appeared in a film before.
Iqbaal Dhiafakhri Ramadhan, who plays Rusdi, handles most of the burden as his character is supposed to know much more about scouting than his friends.
Credit should also be addressed to musicians Aghi Narottama, Bemby Gusti and Ramondo Gascaro, who have created cheerful and spirited music for the film.
A witty script amuses the audience from the beginning to the middle of the film. Unfortunately, however, the story fails to give a surprising ending after it reaches its peak of the adventure since it is too predictable and reminds one of Hollywood movies, like Home Alone.
Overall, though, the film is inspiring for its educational content, although it is quite amusing to learn that in real life most of the main actors and the director himself were not familiar with scouting, and had to learn it all for the film.
In the end, whether or not you fall in love with the idea of scouting after watching the movie, the decision is yours.
Verdict: A must-watch movie for children and all the family.
Film: Lima Elang (Five Eagles)
Duration: 88 minutes
Writer: Salman Aristo
Director: Rudi Soedjarwo
Cast: Christoffer Nelwan, Iqbaal Dhiafakhri Ramadhan, Tauku Rizky Muhammad, Bastian Bintang Simbolon, Monica Sayangbati
Production: SBO Films