Singapore has a rich history of legends and folk tales. Yet no one is doing anything with them. We have seen Greek myths like Hercules and Perseus see multiple big screen adaptations. Outside of hollywood, Britain, Ireland, Europe, they all have movies that reinterpret their local legends and local classic literature for a movie going audience.
Even malaysia had a few on their local legends such as Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat.
The singapore film market could do to move beyond drama and comedy (insipid and uninspired drama and comedy at that).
The realm of science fiction and fantasy awaits. With a competent director, a committed writer and a good crew, these movies are possible.
Now of course adapting the legends and literature word for word would be........boring. Who wants to watch a movie where the climax is a rock throwing competition?
So here are 5 local legends or classic literature that could do with a reinterpretation into movies.
1) Red Hill
Tone: 300 in ancient Singapura.
In a sentence: a vast legion of seafaring marauders looms on the horizon as one young man unites an island nation in a fight for their future.
Synopsis: they call them garfish. Named for their long lances and spear bowed boats, this legion of seafaring pirates have plundered the shores of temasek for generations. A young prince struggles to unite the islands tribes to stand against this onslaught. Seeking the help of a mysterious boy he encountered in the dark forest, the prince devises a cunning plan that would turn the tide against the invaders. Now farmers and fishermen take up arms to defend their homeland in one final fight for glory. But victory has a price; a price that can not go unpaid.
Tone: Hercules in mortal kombat
In a sentence: in a bid to claim the island of temasek, a ruthless king pits his deadliest warriors against the legendary strongman known as Badang.
Synopsis: at a meeting of the island rulers, the chief of temasek is conned by the regional tyrant into a contest with little hope of victory. Seven of the king's best warriors will challenge whoever the chief sees fit to seven feats of strength. Victory would win Temasek peace for another hundred years. Defeat would bring temasek under the rule of the empire. Now temasek's people had grown weak and domesticated, but an outcast veteran of wars long passed rises to serve his chief once again. His name is Badang the strong. This is his legend. Some say he made a deal with a devil for his immense strength. Others say he hunted demons to drain their powers. He had been branded a heathen, a heretic, a mad wild hermit. Yet he is the kingdom's last hope.
Tone: battleship against the beast from 20,000 fathoms.
In a sentence: Singapore mobilizes the full fury of its armed forces to stop a rampaging mythical beast.
Synopsis: something has surfaced in the straits of Singapore, attacking ships at random around the Riau Islands. Investigative journalist Jack Liu follows rumors of a sea monster to rural Indonesia. Dismissed by his colleagues as a fraud for chasing myths, Jack's persistence pays off when he chances upon the beast coming ashore. A long Crimson body like a serpent's culminating in an inhumanly twisted torso and massive arms. Slick scales like armor, a jet black head and grey fins forming a mane. No one would believe him. But jack sets a plan into motion which would bring him all the witnesses he needs, the scoop of the century, along with all the money and fame he hopes to win. The Merlion would go to Singapore. And may mercy be upon those caught in its wake.
4) Kusu Island
Tone: reboot of Gamera in the tone of 2014 Godzilla
In a sentence: a gargantuan tortoise monster from ancient times is awakened to battle the menacing Merlion.
Synopsis: Ismail's grandfather always loved turtles. In his childhood days among the orang laut, he kept a small sea turtle which he named Kusu. A tragic encounter left Kusu fatally wounded and Ismail's grandfather had to abandon the turtle at an ancient off shore shrine in hopes that the afterlife would be kind to Kusu. In present day, Ismail is a washed up old writer left to take care of his increasingly senile grandfather. His books of children's stories never sold well causing him to become cynical and cold towards what he perceives as useless fairy tales. And now an enormous reading appears on the sonar, making a beeline for the mainland.
5) The Crocodile Dies Twice
Tone: Pirates of the Carribean meets Heart of Darkness, Singapore style.
In a sentence: a young boy is swept up in a swashbuckling adventure across the high seas as pirates, police and secret societies race to possess a long lost treasure.