Review: The Seven of Daran: Battle of Pareo Rock – The Seven of Daran: The Battle of Pareo Rock (2008)

The Seven of Daran: Battle of Pareo Rock – The Seven of Daran: The Battle of Pareo Rock (2008)

Directed by: Lourens Blok | 89 minutes | action, adventure, family, fantasy | Actors: Johann Harmse, Katrice Maitisa, Caroline Goodall, Hannah Verboom, Eddie Eckstein, Robin Smith, Steven Mofokeng, Basil Appollis, Yule Masiteng, Geoffrey Mbenge, Tsamgno Sebe, Ams Seutloali, Keketso Semoko, Ivy Nakutha, David Clatworthy, Lawrence Lichaba, Shanic Saban, Devin de Kock, Sandra de Barros, Francis Rangoajane, Carina de Barros

‘The Seven of Daran: The Battle of Pareo Rock’ is an exciting adventure film aimed at children from the age of eight to ten. The film is based on an original legend that tells of seven ancient magical animals that watch over the fortunes of the earth and its inhabitants. One of those animals is Seraph, a white, giraffe-like creature that can talk. Seraph has been captured by two traders who hope to catch big money for the animal. They are unaware of Seraph’s magical powers. The sight of her beautiful white-lashed eyes, however, is enough for the criminal duo to realize that catching this animal could well have gold on their hands.

The hero of the story is Jimmy, who lives in South Africa, a nice boy of eleven who, although he lacks nothing in material possessions, does not lack the attention of his mother. When she forgets to pick him up from school on a busy day at work, Jimmy decides to make his own way to their luxurious villa. However, his wallet is stolen and when he goes after the young thief he comes face to face with Seraph who begs him to free her. This is possible with the help of pickpocket Charita. Jimmy, Charita and Seraph are chased by the two merchants, Mr. george and mr. Van Pelt, but luckily Seraf manages to escape. However, the animal does not leave Jimmy before giving him a magical item and telling him the purpose of his mission or assignment. Jimmy and Charita end up in a cell at the police station, where Jimmy is picked up by his grumbling mother. Once at home, Jimmy can’t get it out of his head and a conversation with an old wise South African woman, mother of housekeeper Mia, strengthens him in his intention to go on the mission. He frees Charita from the police cell and the two go with Mr. george and mr. Van Pelt on his way to Pareo Rock to prevent a war between two tribes, the Saladirs and the Bombattas.

The original idea for ‘The Seven of Daran: The Battle of Pareo Rock’ came from Rolf Visser; Bart Juttmann incorporated it into an exciting scenario. Although the story follows a recognizable and tried-and-tested recipe, it doesn’t matter that the events are sometimes predictable. Director Lourens Blok, for whom this is his feature film debut, and his team have succeeded in turning ‘The Seven of Daran: The Battle of Pareo Rock’ into an immersive adventure that will effortlessly make the (young) audience forget reality. So it is completely believable that Seraf can talk. Twenty people worked on the magical animal for a year and it shows. The animation is fantastically done and Seraf blends seamlessly into the live action footage. The fact that Jimmy manages to control a helicopter thanks to his flight simulator experience will not raise any eyebrows with any viewer.

The two child actors play their roles well. Johann Harmse, for example, is certainly not inferior to Daniel Radcliffe in the first two Harry Potter films. The interaction between Johann Harmse and Ketice Maitisa is excellent and the dialogues are natural. Ketice as cheeky, but engaging Charita is a spirited character and she can hardly be seen as a sidekick. The adult actors are equally adequately cast. mr. George puts down a crook whose stupidity is fortunately at least as big as his double chin, which contributes even more to the predictability of the good ending. Caroline Goodall as Jimmy’s mother convincingly plays a tough career woman who has to adjust her priorities as the story progresses. The turnaround comes a bit suddenly, but it’s a nuisance that falls over it. Incidentally, the film has been dubbed in Dutch, with voices by Boyan van der Heijden, Vivian van Huiden, Tara Hetharia, Frits Lambrechts, Oscar Harris, John Jones and Gerda Havertong, among others.

Menno Westendorp’s cinematography deserves a special mention. His expansive shots of the nature of the African continent are sometimes breathtaking and do very well on a large (cinema) screen. Maarten Spruijt’s score also complements the images very well. The end result is impressive: ‘The Seven of Daran: The Battle of Pareo Rock’ is an excellent film, which hopefully signals the start of the filming of the rest of the legend.

Comments are closed.