BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
A 2014 film, The Antique tells the story of a kingdom invaded by spirits and robbed of a priceless antique that holds a major significance in the royal family. Forty years after this antique is stolen, the king’s son (Samuel Ajibola) is struck with a deadly illness that can only be cured when the antique is recovered by a young maiden from Irava, the land of spirits. Uki (Oge Indiana), a young motherless girl is chosen in spite of pleas from her old father and her lover, Uyi (Gabriel Afolayan). While she is away, a vindictive widow, Isoken (Kiki Omeili) tries to seduce Uyi and is later discovered to have sabotaged the selection process along with the chief priest for very selfish reasons.
Produced by Darasen Richards and Adetokunbo Odubawo (Dj Tee), The Antique makes a failed attempt to connect to the present day by making it a story told in the museum to an inquisitive visitor (Olu Maintain) by the curator (Tee A). In the end, the antique is stolen very unconvincingly by a white man. How he manages to pull this off without the instant judgment the gods are famous for puts the acclaimed potency of the antique in question.
The storyline isn’t the most original, following the likes of Nollywood classics like Igodo and The Egg of Life, stories renowned for sending men or women in search of a relic that can save the lives of other villagers. Still, The Antique infuses its own uniqueness with the story of the scheming seductress who really is the unsuspected antagonist. There is also an inclusion of comic relief with Uriri, portrayed by famous comedian Akpororo. A love interest is not new, but it works with Uyi’s profession of his undying love in spite of the many challenges he has to face to prove it. Loyalty on the part of Osas (Omowumi Dada) also makes for a pleasant spice.
Epic movies mean attention to detail in costuming and props, and The Antique does a brilliant job at it, with the setting and accessories employed. The cinematography is brilliant and so is the soundtrack, which is very cultural and fitting for every scene. I am a fan of how the movie begins by focusing first on the lovebirds and gradually tilting towards the rescue journey. Despite knowing that the entire plot is centered on the antique, it is brilliant that the writer manages to create a balance of the happenings in the village with the adventures on the way to Irava.
The movie is star-studded, with some of the biggest veterans making cameo appearances, although some of these seem unnecessary. The queen (Bimbo Akintola) is initially portrayed as having an interesting story about her, but we quickly realize it is all a fluke, as her character does almost zilch eventually. Ricardo Agbor who acts as Oba Akugbe barely does a thing except frown and bare his beads-adorned chest. Kiki and Omowumi give stellar performances, embodying their roles perfectly, and while Gabriel is the innocent lover boy to be empathized with, the chemistry between him and Oge seems almost nonexistent. Olu Jacobs is handed the predictable role of king once again, and while he is great at it, it springs no surprises whatsoever. Funsho Adeolu’s performance as Enoma, an old, poor and grieving father is ovation worthy, especially with the way he carries himself like he’s three times older.
The Antique would easily have been a classic without its sloppy end, which not only waters it down with its terrible acting, but also reduces the credibility of the entire story. Minor grammatical errors too do not help matters. For example Uki says at some point, “I am Ukinebo…I have overtook…’ and it would seem like Tee A wasn’t given a script at all as he keeps stuttering through his scene, fishing for what to say. The Antique doesn’t deliver well on the promise of its stars, and doesn’t quite hit the spot, thanks to its inconsistencies, but it passes for a good attempt; something a little more attention to detail could have fixed.