Anthill Studio’s Niyi Akinmolayan’s cinematic journey is defined by his bold ambition to elevate Nigerian cinema. As a visionary filmmaker, he recently set out to reshape children and family cinema, and the movie “Mikolo” serves as a compelling testament to this mission.
A Talented Cast Ensemble
Through the movie, Akinmolayan takes parents on a voyage that rekindles the transformative power of experiences that awaken children’s curiosity while igniting their sense of adventure. He assumes multiple roles in this endeavour, serving as the producer, director, and writer of the film, which features a talented cast including Femi Adebayo, Daniel Etim Effiong, Yvonne Jegede, Riyo David, Binta Ayo Mogaji, alongside the remarkable child actors Fiyinfoluwa Asenuga and Pamilerin Ayodeji among others. “Mikolo” graced the cinemas on August 18th, marking a significant milestone in Nigerian cinema.
Set against the backdrop of Ondo State, Nigeria, “Mikolo” is a family adventure film that follows the journey of two children, Funmi acted by Pamilerin Ayodeji and Habeeb acted by Fiyinfoluwa Asenuga,, whose visit to their grandmother leads them to the enchanting Irumole forest, inhabited by magical creatures.
A simple snack entices one of these magical beings, Mikolo, to follow them home unbeknownst to the children. This sets the stage for an adventurous holiday, and the children go missing. Their parents are forced to put aside their differences and work together to find their missing children.
What happened to the children? What about the creature Mikolo? How did they go missing? You can head on over to the cinema to find out.
“Mikolo” brings a breath of fresh air to the Nollywood scene as Niyi Akinmolayan dauntlessly rejuvenates the landscape of children’s cinema within Nigerian theatres. The film skillfully interlaces imagination and reality through its visual effects. The portrayal of magical environments, celestial skies, interactions with the tangible world, and overall compositions is praiseworthy, though there is room for improvement.
Akinmolayan’s readiness to embrace risks, complemented by Anthill’s dedication to innovation, yields a movie that seamlessly connects Yoruba culture, captivating narrative, and astonishing visual effects. Particularly astonishing are the vibrant colours showcased in the magical forest scenes.
Akinmolayan demonstrates a keen understanding of his target audience, creating a movie with children in mind and involving adult viewers. The movie showcases exceptional performances from the characters, with the child actors impressively conveying the message that children should be adventurous, daring, brave, and kind.
The adult cast, including the parents and grandmother, adds depth to the narrative. I particularly like Riyo David’s character Abula who is the protector of the enchanting Irumole forest; he almost gave off a Wakanda vibe. Almost!
Cinematography in Mikolo
The cinematography in “Mikolo” is noteworthy and contributes significantly to the overall visual appeal of the film. The cinematography effectively utilizes visual composition techniques to create aesthetically pleasing and impactful shots. The framing of scenes are well thought out, capturing the beauty of the locations and the characters’ emotions. The use of wide shots to showcase the Irumole forest and its magical elements adds a sense of wonder and enchantment.
Lighting plays a crucial role in setting the mood and atmosphere of the movie. “Mikolo” demonstrates skillful lighting choices, especially in scenes within the mystical Irumole forest, and those where the creature is depicted with the children. The rich, vivid colours contribute to the film’s sense of magic and wonder. The interplay of light and shadows enhances the film’s fantastical elements and adds depth to the visuals.
The cinematography employs a variety of camera movements to enhance the storytelling. Steady tracking shots and sweeping camera movements are used effectively to follow characters which including Funmi, Habeeb and their parents on their adventures. The movie employs cutting-edge production methods, such as advanced VFX software and real-time scanning of actors, to craft great flying scenes.
These movements add dynamism to the film and engage the viewers in the action. The cinematography achieves a good balance between the real world and the fantastical elements of the movie. The contrast between the ordinary world and the magical forest is visually distinct, highlighting the sense of adventure and discovery.
Overall, the cinematography in “Mikolo” is a standout aspect of the film. It captures the story’s essence and enhances the audience’s immersion in the magical world created by Niyi Akinmolayan. The skillful use of visual composition, lighting, color, and camera movement contributes to the film’s appeal and showcases the talent and creativity of the cinematography team.
While “Mikolo” is a family movie with commendable cinematography, it could benefit from tighter editing, as some scenes felt slow-paced, especially during the children’s exploration of the town with the creature Mikolo. Additionally, there were moments when character interactions and certain elements of the special effects seemed disjointed. The movements of some of the characters, Mikolo in particular, in some scenes, lacked fluidity. However, I believe there will be more improvements in future projects.
To sum it up, “Mikolo” is a family-centric movie with broad appeal across various age groups. The film reinforces the idea that children should explore beyond digital screens and social media, promoting real-life encounters with the mysteries of the world, akin to the adventures of Funmi and Habeeb.
“Mikolo” is not merely a cinematic creation; as it aims to acquaint children with enthralling narratives deeply rooted in Yoruba culture, nurturing a spirit of exploration, discovery, and limitless imagination—all while highlighting the significance of family unity as the siblings, during their adventure also serve as catalysts for reconciling their parents’ troubled marriage, highlighting the power of family unity and togetherness.
I thoroughly enjoyed “Mikolo,” from the outstanding cast and their performances to the thematic depth and cinematography. This film marks a significant step in Nollywood’s exploration of family and kids’ movies at international standards.
Niyi Akinmolayan’s groundbreaking effort deserves applause, and it paves the way for future producers to venture into this genre, aspiring to reach even greater heights. For families seeking an entertaining and inspiring cinema experience with their kids, “Mikolo” is a highly recommended choice. I would rate this movie 8/10.