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Jock of the Bushveld 3D

Jock of the Bushveld 3D

by Kavish Chetty / 20.06.2011

Let’s have a moment’s silence: a funereal minute to consecrate the passing of that younger, more innocent era when it was sufficient to ask the question “what the fuck is this world coming to?” Now those syllables are left like ashes in our mouths. We have to freight in the past tense to acknowledge our debts and failures, and ask instead with a resignatory sigh, “what the fuck has this world come to?”

Okay, perhaps more than a subtle blush of melodrama to open a film critique on Jock of the Bushveld. But I maintain – that this shit-crusted cliché of a movie could be produced at all is the bat-signal for an age of mediocrity. What intrigues most is the recognisable and revered cast who whored out their voices in service of this film: I’m talking Ted Danson, Helen Hunt, Bryan Adams. Okay, Bryan Adams doesn’t qualify for the “revered” part of the above intrigue. Bryan Adams?! I can’t remember the last time Bryan Adams produced music – let alone anything worth listening to – and now he’s crawling out the rotted woodwork to voice “Jock” in an animated children’s adaptation of the book? I have a theory on hand, and pardon me it’s quite wild. I suspect the director (Duncan MacNiellie, or the “Dunkster” as he shall hereafter be named) was on holiday in America. He was hanging out on a “sidewalk” in true yankee fashion, probably eating a footlong hot-dog with “ketchup” and “relish”. Suddenly, an opulent gran turismo comes sharking down the main street. Ted Danson is behind the wheel, off his tits on cocaine and he’s got Helen Hunt and Bryan Adams in the backseat. They’re about to crash splendidly into a nearby Burger King. The Dunkster drops his hot-dog and vaults himself heroically through the passenger window. He smacks Danson off the steering wheel and commandeers them to a zigzagging halt. Sighing exhalations all around, and in the ensuing gentle lurch of sobriety, Danson and co. realise they owe their lives to old Dunky. In the thickest throes of gratitude they pledge a reciprocal favour – anything, anything, you name it; we owe you our lives!

Jock of the Bushveld 3D

If it seems like I’m being particularly harsh on this film, there’s reason enough for it in a single quote from Andy Rice who runs Jock Marketing. He has been quoted saying, “As with sponsorship, character licensing borrows the equity of a loved character and transfers this to the brand, giving it an immediate emotional competitive advantage.” Let’s just quickly run that little sliver of marketing argot through the bullshit-thresher. It comes out like this: ‘exhuming the corpses of childhood or national icons works on the emotions of our audience, softening the indigestible pieces of the product by playing on their nostalgia.’ A little bit extra, the part related to the brand, comes out: ‘oh, and of course we can license the shit out of the main characters, creating everything from duvet covers to butt-plugs.’ See, this is why Jock of the Bushveld should get you riled up. They appear to have had no other motive when making this film other than rushing out some cash cow – prematurely ripped from its mother’s bovine womb.

The film itself is ghastly in so many ways. The first jarring element is the animation. It starts off innocently enough – it’s just kind of average when looked at in still motion, but you wouldn’t admonish it because it has some of the “look how hard he’s trying” charisma of the slowest kid in playschool – the one who draws green bee-hives and writes his 5s backwards. But, after a few minutes, this “not very good” becomes positively hideous. It reminds me, actually, of playing videogames in the late 1990s. As graphics lacked realism, there was always this disconcerting sense of incompleteness to the games you played; you could tell that beyond the confines of the walls there was an infinite nothing, because the world hadn’t been crafted with potent enough illusions to convince you it was more than an empty simulacra. Jock’s graphics are kind of like this in places. But it’s really the motion that will get you because, the characters move like polygonal apparitions of an outdated age. In some flashback sequences, they stutter as though you’re running modern games on a 32 MB graphics card. There are two responses: there’s “ag, shame man, they’re only South Africans” also known as the cloaked-condescension gambit; and there’s “if you want to play the game, motherfuckers, there are rules” also known as the enemy-of-the-state reply.

Jock of the Bushveld 3D

But now I feel the true magnetic force of this film’s core eccentricity: its world. “This is Africa Mr. Fitzpatrick,” says one of the characters, “and nothing normal happens here.” This would just be another entry in the by now overcooked cliché of Africa as a dark continent (see Leonardo DiCaprio shouting “TIA – this is Africa!” in Blood Diamond). But the Africa wrought in this particular film truly isn’t normal – it’s bizarre. Apparently they saw fit to include accents from everywhere except South Africa – there is a British thug, a haughty French poodle, a venal Australian, and of course Jock himself is American. I don’t know why exactly, but Desmond Tutu saw fit to throw in a few cameo lines as a wise native, or “noble savage” as we used to call them in the 17th century. This world – this “Africa” – is a total mess. The focal tavern in the film has swinging saloon doors, a cast of customers who are dressed in the garb of the Western frontier mythos, and wild-west style poster plastered up on its walls. These curiosities can only be apprehended under a single rubric: naked profiteering. To “globalise” this film, as it were, to make it accessible to markets outside of South Africa (presumably, getting international distribution is contingent on domestic success), they’ve had to gracelessly insert anachronistic and misplaced markers like the above accents and aesthetic quirks. What they’ve done in the process is fuck the viewing experience for the local audience en route and furthermore, in this smorgasbord of incompatible signifiers create a world that eerily announces it is nothing more than a capitalist’s orgasmless wet dream.

I’ve begun digging the ditch, so we may as well commit the burial here too and save on costs. The music in this film is abysmal. It sparkles like cheap glitter. You have to witness first-hand the sing-along in which the monkey lays down in awful seductiveness upon the piano forte while the baboon plays the harmonica. It’s tacky, rushed, banal – it’s everything the Lion King was not, and yet it isn’t selfconscious enough to recognise this.

I want to close by addressing what will be the natural counter-response – this film was made for children, so get over it. Thing is, lots of films are made for children and aren’t automatically terrible for those on the more sinful side of sixteen. Making a children’s film, novel, videogame, whatever, is not a license to shit. The animation in this film is so bad that Fitzpatrick, the pathetic loser of a protagonist who pretty much accomplishes nothing throughout the film, smiles like a pedophile. Even the sort of irresponsible parent who routinely drops off their kid at the cinema to nip out for some quick extra-marital reverse cowgirl won’t want their kid to suffer through that kind of trauma. This film is so unsubtle about its intentions (“get the money, dollar dollar bill y’all”) as to almost be comic, and I guiltlessly admit of no sympathy for its creators.

Oh, and this is South Africa’s inaugural 3D movie. Hurray, we’ve capitulated.

39   7
RESPONSES (74)
  1. Lizzy says:

    saw the trailer and cringed. I have a kid, so always on the lookout for vaguely entertaining fodder to keep her busy, but this looks worse than Rio, or even those straight to rental barbie movies. not ayoba.

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  2. Garcia says:

    Excellent review that cuts through the bullshit. And I stress on the “bullshit”. I’ve been cruising the internet following the reporting on this film, and I am shaken to my shits by the fawning, sycophantic drivel that’s been written about this. See for example the way Mandy de Waal on the Daily Maverick was praising this film as some kind of saviour for SA’s film industry, and praising the marketing wing of the company for establishing some kind of holy precedent for the licensing (KFC, Woolworths, Penguin books and the list goes on and on) they’re doing. This is cheap, greed-driven marketeering! it has nothing to do with the quality of cinema itself. It seems like SA is just desperate on becoming a lesser America, and falling prey to all their sins of excess.

    Here’s the link if you’re interested http://www.thedailymaverick.co.za/article/2011-07-11-fine-filmmaking-clever-marketing-set-to-make-jock-top-dog

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Regarding the graphics… I was at the preview and watched this thing. Like the writer says, they look passable (just passable – you wouldn’t accept graphics like this from overseas creators, definitely not) when you look at them still, or when there isn’t too much going on in the frame. But during some of the more active scenes, it looks utterly ridiculous. It looks fake, unrealistic, and outdated. Only in this country will people go crazy about wonky animation just because its local.

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  4. Steve says:

    This looks infinitely worse than the cut scenes from video games, which are not sold based only on the way they look.

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  5. layla says:

    wickedly critical and nuanced as always. love reading your reviews.

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  6. dudie says:

    the vodacom meerkat animation is better than this.

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  7. AT says:

    I don’t know what you’re on about. Personally I was thrilled to find a Jock sticker inside my box of Jock Smarties. A whole 10 months ago. And I can’t wait to sink my teeth into a KFC Jock Meal. Just because they couldn’t make a movie good enough to profit at the box office doesn’t mean they can’t whore themselves to the commercial world to cover their costs. Hell, Andy Rice, if no one else, is laughing all the way to the bank on this one.

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  8. Mark says:

    Let me guess. You hate The Parlotones too?

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  9. Jj says:

    Were you drunk last night when you wrote this review?? I saw the movie last night and found the music to be outstanding. You make some valid points but why do South Africans delight in slaying South African product. Read up your history – at the time of Fitzgerald there were no South Atfrican accents and I personally found the movie to be good entertainment and would recommend it to my mates!!

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  10. Garcia says:

    Jj, how old are you exactly? If you thought this movie was “good entertainment”, you must be under 12, in which case, shouldn’t you be at school right now? Seriously though, the music in this film is corny. Like mielies. Like the joke I just made.

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  11. LillieBliss says:

    Yes, Mark, at least now the Parlotones are our second worst export since this movie took the lead.

    The animation is worse than the Indiana Jones in-game graphics from the late 90’s. Shocking, appalling, depressing… Wow – it never fails to amaze me how mediocrity is accepted because we’re (insert relevant excuse). We should be producing better work. This standard of animation is unacceptable, and the acceptance of mediocrity because we’re ‘from Africa’ is fucking absurd. It’s simply embarrassing, not to mention lazy.

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  12. Ahnnie says:

    If this was released in the early 90’s I’d be excited. The animation quality looks like a draft.

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  13. Sarah says:

    Seems this a site for naysayers
    Good entertainment and fortunately few real people focus on the flaws

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  14. NazarethSavage says:

    I guess its more Joke of the Bushveld then.

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  15. WordWallah says:

    @Ahnnie My thoughts exactly! I saw the preview and thought for sure they’d used the first draft by mistake.

    This and tv shit like ‘Jozi Zoo’ go a long way to establishing South Africa as the special needs playground of animation. If only they’d spent more budget on rendering and less on celebrity voices.

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  16. JM Koet$ee says:

    I like the anger in your reviews.

    Note “What has this world come to” is present perfect tense, not past tense.

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  17. Trev says:

    Generally speaking, us South Africans tend to settle for mediocrity in many aspects of our lives. I suppose it may be part of our personalities to be more forgiving for things not always working 100% as we continue to try and elevate ourselves as a strong global figure. We put up with inefficiencies caused by the government, service providers and the general infrastructure of our country. That being said, the entertainment sector of our country has no real excuse for submitting us to sub-par music/tv shows/movies – other than the fact that they would like to milk us for our cash while they deliver a mediocre product. Of course this doesn’t hold true for all South African music, movies and TV shows… Just the majority. There is a wealth of talent in South Africa, lets show the world that we are something genuine and original, instead of some kind of less than perfect American-wannabees.

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  18. Tim says:

    Fuck, why did Neill Blomkamp move Canada-wise? I bet if he Jocked it would’ve been the boss…

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  19. Anonymous says:

    I am an animator here in SA and seeing the trailer for this movie, it is hard to believe that people want to praise it as some of the animation is crap and no matter what you do to try and hide it, it is still crap. Even the lighting is bad in some places where you have a character all lit up and the surrounding objects or even objects in their hands have no lighting.

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  20. Dissapointed says:

    I’ve worked in the animation industry for the last 12 years and as much as I wanted this to be good (or better yet, great!) the trailer alone made me cringe. I understand the complexities and workload needed to bring about such a large, character driven piece and it’s blatantly obviously that these guys just did not have the resources/skills to pull it off properly. As a result it is reminiscent of work I often see coming from 2nd year students. The animation of the characters is terrible and I’m afraid that even to the untrained eye this is unforgivable in this sort of production. Sorry chaps! We definitely have the talent in this country to pull off world class animation but appears not enough of it was working on this project.

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  21. Danny says:

    I too am a South African animator, and am extremely disappointed with the quality of jock. I do not feel that it reflects the general level of professional South African animation. I suspect that the lack of quality on the production is not because of a lack of skill on the part of the staff, but rather because of the producers’ intention to try and maximise profits, minimise expenditure, and their lack of creative integrity.

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  22. Mike Scott says:

    Didn’t read the full review, only the first bit. Gotta tip my hat to the author for not holding back. As I heard someone once say, ‘no matter what you do in this country (particularly animation) some dickheads will be at the ready to say they could have done better.’ Dudes and girls who are animators here – I am waiting for your shining master production. I may not like Jock or the Parlotones (I don’t) but I give them the credit for actually doing something rather than being a couch-mullet quick with snide remarks. I am STILL waiting for all the animators who discredit the local animation they see to find the money and time to put together a quality movie. There seem to be a large number of awesome animators in this country but perhaps being managed by thick bosses or people that aren’t bringing out the awesomeness in them. Sometimes the people with the bucks actually don’t know better. So, get all your sorry asses together and prove us wrong, that you can do better than the poorly managed and underpaid animators. And no blaming anyone else this time! Up to you! I heard that some Disney animators used to check themselves into hospital ahead of time as they knew the level of exhaustion and personal sacrifice that would be required to make something of substance. Instead of wasting your time writing how crap South African is, show us how cool it could be – put aside a half hour every day for a month and bring out a 30 second animated short. If there’s so much professional animation going on in this country, where the hell is it?!?

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  23. Sarah says:

    Sad that none have seen the movie but have formed such strong views. Scott has it right – Jock may not have got it all right but making Jock required Jock qualities of courage and determination. It is a huge step in the right direction for 3 D animation in South Africa. Clearly the final production has come a long way since the production of the trailer

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  24. Garcia says:

    Sarah, you need to shut up. You’re talking about these people having “qualities of courage and determination” like they ran into a burning building and saved some five-month olds. Let me remind you, sweetheart – they made a poorly-animated, poorly-storied film which is nothing more than a marketing platform to make them shedloads of cash. They are just greedy, talentless hacks of the most obscene variety you can get.

    So don’t be fooled. There’s is nothing admirable about what these guys did.

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  25. Danny says:

    Have a look at this for a South African animated feature film in production, better than Jock methinks.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWOyZaBDA6s

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  26. Nick says:

    “Waltzing with Bashir” should be the bendchamrk for local animators, ito worthwhile subject matter and what may be achieved with simple animation. Oh, and dogs are cuter, too.

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  27. Eric says:

    I have not personally seen the movie but will soon, though I know one of the developers and without trying to defend the graphics of something I have not seen I would like to add a bit of info.

    The average Pixar movie has many years to be made into a flik, Tangled took 10 years, and costs sometimes close to $200 million. Jock was around a year of development, and the amount of money that got raised via sponsorship, begging, pleading, out of own pockets etc. was significantly less.

    The average Pixar movie has 360 animators that get paid a crap house of money. The 23 animators in total that worked on Jock worked very long hours(often sleeping at the office) for not really that much pay at all.

    As for the equipment used. Pixar has massive server farms that can render obsene amounts of data every second, convert that over the many years they would actually work on the flik it all adds up.

    The animators who did Jock rendered, developed on IBM desktop systems. Basically powerfull gaming systems, nothing more than that. Some of these guys took their own home PCs in to aid in rendering.

    Though it may seem that I’m making excuses, I’m simply pointing out a few facts. I agree 100% with the statement that we should not sound the drum of any project simply because it carries the “Made in SA” label, but rather on the merrits of what was done.

    I simply want to make the point that these guys worked damn hard. They created a full length animated feature, and lets be honest that is a feat and a half.

    I look forward to watching the flik and will be taking my children along soon and to be honest I hope I enjoy it, and I believe my children would enjoy it.

    I hope they stay close to the original story, that I read as a child and watched in the original flik, because it is a damn good story. But I wont be too disappointed if the veer of to create a entertaining piece of viewing.

    Well see. But respect for those that made this movie, I know they worked hard with very little.

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  28. YsterHart says:

    I work in animation here in SA, and the general rumour floating around is that although this movie received plenty of attention and funding, based on it being the “first” south african 3D movie, most of that was blown on celebrating that it was the first south african 3D movie, leaving the developers scrabbling, using ancient even by our standards gear, and hiring students and interns to do the animation.

    A large issue I can see straight out , even in the trailer, is that the 3D modelling of the characters was done without thought as to how they would move, causing things to jerk around and textures to break. Thats certainly a student mistake, especially if your training hasn’t progressed beyond making 3D statues of your characters.

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  29. Anonymous says:

    Jock is Canadian, surely, seeing Bryan Adams is.

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  30. murray says:

    Quite allot of hate and self involved chest thumping.
    The movie is a little cheezy, but it is a kid movie. A large part of this movie was funded by individuals and not bankrolled by major studios.
    That said. they have produced a movie and that in itself is reason to celebrate.

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  31. Lizzy says:

    what i don’t understand is: if we don’t have the technology including “massive server farms that can render obsene amounts of data every second” why SA cannot simply produce a flipping great animated film without the 3d and special effects. perhaps we should use studio Ghibli as an example?

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  32. How the South was Sold Out says:

    I’d just like to put it out there that once upon a time, this movie was voiced entirely by South African actors.
    How exciting to have a wholly South African animated feature, about a South African character voiced entirely by the best of our local talent.

    Over the last few months most of the South African cast has been knocked off, one by one, without so much as an apology, in same cases people found out they were no longer in the film on the day of the premiere. And only because they asked, cos if they hadn’t they would have showed up at the premier to discover some American twanging through their role.

    As far as I’m concerned the “Dunkster” is a slimy prick who sold out all the cast that stood by and offered their voices and their performances to create this film.
    Total fucking prick.

    I guess, after reading your review, the SA cast actually dodged a bullet, since it is clearly a piece of shit.

    Stepping off soapbox now.

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  33. Roger Young says:

    @eric et al

    Yes, yes, great achievement, well done, pats on backs all round.

    Guess what? the audience doesn’t care.

    They pay the same for Jock as they do for a Pixar and they expect the same quality for their cash.

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  34. Eric says:

    @Roger. I wont argue with you about it even one bit. My personal opinion is that they should have spent less on a international cast and paid more animators etc.

    My point, I gues if I really have one, is that the animators achieved quite a bit against heavy odds.

    And your right the paying customers dont care, but these guys did work damn hard and I want to give some credit to them without the need to piss on them because they did not a PIXAR flik make.

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  35. Sam says:

    Were you high when you wrote this? It sure reads like it. Sigggghhh another moany whingey hipster shoot-from-the-hip arrogant review. It’s getting repetitive Mahala. Cheer up!

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  36. Sarah says:

    Some perspective needed. SA is less than 1% of the world market, the USA around 50%.
    Would you make a film that did not appeal to the international market?

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  37. Joan says:

    See the movie before you comment. The Martial eagle is magical, George the baboon is a wonderful animated character, and whilst some of the characters are a little wooden, the overall feel is totally watchable and you certainly won’t be bored ….

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  38. Anonymous says:

    This movie is embarrassing.
    It looks like the animatic phase of a 1st year student film.
    I work in the 3d industry and there is some really good stuff going on in South Africa, but this?

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  39. Anonymous says:

    Hectic. I went to the debut premiere of this film in Nelspruit last week, and really didn’t know how to respond. It’s such a special story, and something very intrinsic to the feel of Lowveld culture, and we all want the film to do well. Regardless of Nu Metro having screwed the screening up by messing with the film reels, the film itself had so many problems. Remember, kids, that this is a film. It’s got absolutely nothing to do with a “south african effort.” If your opinion is such that SA-produce should be revered solely because it is home grown, then you also definitely can’t complain if you drive a Joule and it crashes or fails otherwise. A film is a product. Respect that. If it’s a substandard product, then that’s the truth of the matter. Pondering the film after the screening it appeared to me that it just wasn’t finished. The “motion” was off. I likened it to the first Harry Potter computer game. The characters spoke out-of-sync with voice-overs. Having grown up in the Lowveld, I can assure you the environment in the film does not match reality. It appears as an unfinished draft of a 3D plane. The music (of which I share the writer’s opinion) was out. It just didn’t work, and the tonal quality of it was different to the rest of the film – as if the editor hadn’t the time to render it correctly. This is a children’s film – but that doesn’t mean characters are allowed to be undeveloped, which they were. There are WAY too many references to The Lion King in the film, which starts with Jock being raised into the sky a la Rafika and Simba on Pride Rock. And then ol’ Desmond Tutu’s character comes off like Rafiki anyway. There’s a character that is an unnecessarily camp combination of Timon and Madagascar’s King Julien – I will punch a dude if he ever such a position on a piano forte. Yes, it’s a children’s film, but it’s going to freak the shit out of them. The baboon isn’t just intimidating (despite the horrific accent and animation), for a child, it’s going to turn them away. The film, on the whole, considering the narrative itself, the character development, the themes therein, the music, the editing, the animation – just isn’t developed. Not for an audience as critical and aware as this generation is. There was nothing “special” about the film. No clever lines that you caught yourself using after the film. No development. It just isn’t finished. It’s sad, because you wan’t the film to do well. The story of Jock of the Bushveld is special to our part of the country. Here’s to hoping that other audiences are too naive to notice its flaws…

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  40. Scribbler says:

    I’m a screenwriter in SA. Yes folks, we do exist. On breadcrumbs and church soup kitchens, but we cling on. I’ve written four movies, two produced, two killed in development. I know of what I speak.

    Kavish, as a writer I couldn’t agree more with you. Yay for quality, death to the marketing snakes, boo to this smelly Jock and its dire animation, and nya-nya-nya to those stoopid Americans who insist on Yankyfying everything. Hear hear.

    All of which is why writers are at the very bottom of the moviemaking pile. The reality is that quality, goodness and apple pie have fuck-all to do with film as a medium. My God, Kavish, you probably still think TV is a medium for showing us news and entertainment, rather than a machine than broadcasts advertisements into your house and convinces you to watch them by interspersing them with content.

    It’s comforting for us wordy types to believe that film is all Terence Malick brooding on a thundercloud, or at very least, high-quality schlock like Spielberg. But Santa doesn’t exist, there’s no God, and guess what: films are exercised in accounting. Potential outlay versus potential income. If Jock’s final number is black, then it will have performed a miracle. If it is red, it will have joined the vast, worthy majority that underline, every week, why you should not let your children go into the film industry.

    Yes, this film is awful. Of course it is. For fuck’s sake, it’s Jock of the Bushveld. Even the original novel (let’s all cross ourselves at the mention of Percy FitzP) was barely readable. This adaptation is a hundred times worse. Of course it panders only to base corporate interests and badly re-heats cliches for unthinking viewing fodder. But Kavish, THAT’S WHAT IT’S SUPPOSED TO DO. If it makes a small profit, sells a few Jock toys, and disappears without a lawsuit or an accounting scandal, then it is a success.

    Your heart is in the right place, but you really need to activate your adult brain if you’re to make sense of film rather than just squawk about it from time to time.

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  41. Anonymous says:

    @eric as far as I know this has been in the making closer on 6 years rather then 1 year.

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  42. @Scribbler says:

    Nice venomous review by Kavish, and nice response by Scribbler. Question Scribbler – how does Terrence Mallick get funding for brooding on thunderheads and films that are only enjoyed by a minute (and dare I say elite) few. Just a question – because if Mallick can get funding for 3 hour long meditations on grass blowing in the wind, surely there’s no reason a bit of substance couldn’t be injected into a local film and still earn it money.

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  43. Darrin Hofmeyr says:

    Eric – I have been following Jock since it was first conceptualised to be a 2D feature back in the 90’s. Saying Tangled (which was WDFA and not Pixar) was in development for 10 years is the same as saying Jock was in development for 13 (of which I know). Jock (as viewed on their vwebsite) was in production in Nelspruit back in 2007.
    The average Pixar animator actually earns in the lower regions of salaries for animators and VFX artists at major studios on the West Coast. The fact that these animators were badly paid is a shocking statement and testament to the fact the producer abused his situation.
    The animators had to bring their own PC’s in for rendering purposes is absurd. This should have been budgeted into the production.
    It seems that every comment you have made actually supports the truth that the producer of this film did not have a clue about what he was doing and shows in the final product although probably not in his own paycheck.
    I am sure all the animators and talent involved in getting this to the screens worked damned hard and I am also sure none of them will see a cent of the marketing bonuses.

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  44. Darrin Hofmeyr says:

    http://www.jock-animation.com/news/Newsletter_June_2011.pdf
    This is a disturbing read –
    “Our licensing partners are really starting to feed their Jock-branded products into stores across South Africa. Look out for Jock grinning at you from T-Shirts in Woolies, Edgars, Mr Price and Pick n Pay. Then go and browse the Penguin Jock-themed book range in Exclusive Books, before grabbing some Bobtail dogfood and Beeno biscuits at your local store! Hungry? Pop down to KFC to buy some Jock kids’ meals (paid for with your Jock FNB card of course), and get a Nodding Jock at a BP forecourt on your way home! The list goes on…”

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  45. angela seasbury says:

    fuck off @scribbler you’re so ghoulishly smug in your rank capitulation…”wordy types”. uurgh.

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  46. Kat says:

    I haven’t seen the film. I have seen a couple trailers now and am wholly NOT impressed by the quality of graphics. Based on that fact alone, I’m likely to not go see this film. The rest of the world is eons ahead when it comes to animated graphics. So I’m spoilt for quality. Too bad this film doesn’t come close. There is no way I would be able to enjoy the film while grinding my teeth over shite graphics.

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  47. @Scribbler says:

    That’s possibly the most fatalistic thing I’ve ever heard in my life. So, in your head: Jock is a rubbish film, but film’s are designed as marketing machines, so we shouldn’t waste our time criticising them, but just accept them for what they are. This is an ontological nightmare of an argument.

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  48. Dirty Gav says:

    Okay, so it seems as though you(the writer of the original review) have a grudge against someone involved in the movie.
    As my mother used to say, “Jealousy makes you nasty”.
    I think your language is foul, and no educated person would write the nonsense that you have subjected your readers to. At the same time, no educated reader would subject themselves to your uneducated and bigoted opinion either.
    I, as a neutral reader, found your review primitive and crass, and think you should go back to high school, where you might learn a thing or two about getting one’s point across with the use of vulgarity and profanity. The English language is a most profound and descriptive form of communication and does not need to be raped by people such as you.
    Firstly, let me say that I enjoyed the evening of the premier thoroughly, and met some real gems of people.
    Secondly, I felt so envious of the people who were involved in this groundbreaking feature, and would have sacrificed a number of things to have been given the chance to get involved in any way whatsoever.
    I am by no means at all a movie expert, and judge this kind of thing by the feeling I get from it and the response from the public. It’s quite easy to pick up on a vibe, and resonance of the positivity created by a production of this magnitude.
    So, I arrived at the premier with a biased opinion that I would like it no matter what, since good friends of mine had dedicated large portions of their lives to this, and had put their hearts and souls on the line to function at their best ability, to do a first for a country with such a rich heritage in the subject matter, to make us all proud, and not diverge too far from the original, much loved story.
    This naïve attitude was soon blown out of the water by the sheer extent of reach and interest that this feature had attracted.
    As a 3D virgin, I was constantly lifting my glasses up and down comparing “true” vision with the 3D vision that accompanied the film. I soon gave this up, as I felt I was missing out on what was really going on in the film when I tried to see it in “real” vision.
    As Jock ran through the bush, long blades of grass brushing his snout and face, I found myself putting my hand up, protecting my face from the oncoming dry, bushveld grass.
    I could almost smell the dust rising as we ran with reckless abandon into the wild that was gold-rushing Africa.
    I found similarities and parallels that the great Sir Percy Fitzpatrick would have been astounded at the accuracy of the descriptions given to them in this humble portrayal of life lived centuries before our time.
    I must admit that I do have criticisms, but they are constructive and positive, and do not detract from the feat that these people have achieved.
    So, I say with all the sincerity of an innocent staffy, go watch this movie, enjoy it, tell your friends and family about it, and feel proud to be a South African, knowing that you have this beautiful, diverse history, being explained in a story that has stood the test of time, by humble, talented, positive people, who have the same beliefs and ideals as all positive, forward thinking South Africans.
    Hambakahle

    Gavin Simmonds

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  49. Garcia says:

    Gavin, project much? You say you were “envious” of the creators and the only way the critic could have written such a critical review is if he was jealous or held a grudge? Haha! There’s a reason you’re writing below the kif/kak side of this article – you’re no critic.

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  50. WEugene says:

    Nobody says, “Honey, let’s take the kids to this new movie, I believe a crew of 23 animators worked through the night on some old fashioned computers to get this made.” A movie is a movie and if we still have to pony up how many ront it is these days for a 3d movie, we expect it to be decent wherever it has been made. I cringed watching the trailer and felt a sneaky sense of guilt for doing so but wow, not looking promising.

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  51. Kretz says:

    Saw the Cape Town premier last night and I agree with Kavish. The movie is kak. Cheesy, cheesy kak.

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  52. Scribbler says:

    @Angela Seasbury, sorry, I forgot, you make films, you understand film finance, you’ve thought long and hard about the compromises necessary to make a career in film – oh wait, that’s NOT you, that’s me. You’re just someone who knows fuck-all and uses “rank” incorrectly. Please leave the hard sums to the grownups, who are justifiably smug because they do it every day, and go back to your little life on the internet.

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  53. whenbearsfoghtback says:

    bad animation but havn’t seen the movie so maybe my kid will not really care about that as long as she enjoys it. Any animators out there willing to assist my band in doing a music video for payment in kind. Kinda talent exchange > Long shot but if anyone out there please listen to our music at http://www.reverbnation.com/whenbearsfightback and email me. And thanks to the great article.

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  54. @Scribbler says:

    There can only be one @scribbler. Angela you’re a cunt. Is that wordy enough for you?

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  55. Brett says:

    Read some of the review and came to the conclusion that whomever wrote this had to be some kind of coked up , anger ridden, egotistical, wannabee script writer /movie maker who cannot express himself eccept by writing profanities and making allusions to pornography.

    Another question to be asked of this critique is, What are the authors intentions?
    To trash is easy – to actually go out and do takes more than just a keyboard and lousy writing.

    I think i will wait for an honest critique from my 4 year old and then i know that there will be no hidden agenda

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  56. Anonymous says:

    Whether your fucking 4 year old likes it or not does not change the fact that the quality of the movie is shit.
    This is going to be S.A’s 3D industry’s first big impression on the world, and they’re going to look back at us and shake their heads in pity saying- try again.
    Look at Zambezia, the 3D film Triggerfish are currently working on. Its a quality film! Jock isn’t.
    I don’t care what industry you work in, but if you cannot tell that the quality of this movie is outdated, clumsy and generally bad, then you need to seriously open your eyes.

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  57. Brett says:

    i never said anything about the movie, please read my post again. If you feel empowered by swearing about a 4year old, well then it shows your lack of maturity and hiding behind an anonymous shows your lack of credibility

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  58. Anonymous says:

    The problem is that Jock of the Bushveld is too hard. It should not have been made into an animated film. The story is too demanding for SA visual effects.

    Pixar and the rest spend years with people who have phd degrees in computar graphics, physics and software development to produce extremely hard graphics like realistic fur, hair and environments. If you have a low budget you should plan the story and animation style to that. South africa shouldn’t compete with the rest of the world in what they do best like talking animals and the like. We just don’t have the budget. We should focus on creating something new in a new style with an original story. That’s the only way we’ll make people notice.

    The answer to 99 questions out of a 100 is money. The cast was expensive, but it was to make even more money. Nothing can happen without a budget, but a bad first film (wich it is if you take out the sympathy) lays poor groundwork for films to come who also needs money.

    the movie Waltz with Bashir (only seen the preview) has great style witch makes up for poor animation skills. The color, camera views, music and story outline makes it fresh and interresting. I am an animator and I don’t think that that was harder to make than Jock of the Bushveld. They just spent much more time planning the art and story of the film before making it. And I’m sure they had more money.

    Sorry for the long post

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  59. anim8or says:

    Waltz with Bashir was largely rotoscoped – they shot a lot of live action performance and basically traced over it. This is hardly a great example of animation.

    Jock just looks shit – no if’s, but’s or and’s about it. As a few people have already mentioned, have a look at Zambezia from Triggerfish in Cape Town – it is beautifully made and can compete quite comfortably on the intenational stage.

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  60. griff says:

    The author must have been a real cunt as a 7 year old kid: “What is this La Linea one-dimentional flat animation blue screen busllhit. Can someone please invent 3D, for Christ’s sake?. I’ll be waiting in my room playing with my dad’s Rorschach cards and practice my violin.”

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  61. Blah says:

    Sounds like the producers spent more time on marketing than making the film. Sad.

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  62. Anonymous says:

    Waltz with Bashir was not rotoscoped.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waltz_with_Bashir

    The animators for jock of the bushveld is not at fault. The task was impossible and I hope they won’t be held accountable for this film, but rather be seen as having gained valuable experience.
    Too bad zambezia is also another attempt to compete with american animations with talking animals. The jokes in the trailer is super lame and the story looks old.
    The artists did a good job.

    Will have to see.

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  63. Anonymous says:

    Scribbler: regardless of your medium, compromise and selling out is never something to be glorified in art, regardless of whether or not your medium is film. It’s not held to a special and sacred standard that excuses a mentality that focuses on a bottom line first and artistic merit and quality second. Musicians in this country struggle too, just barely, like you ‘wordy-types’ (great use of those words there, by the way) which means your argument applies to the similar situation of, for example, the parlotones. You’d be defending their music because of their means to commercial success. And, as Mahala well knows, the parlotones do not make good music (regardless of if we’ve listened to every song or not, Kahn).
    People like you will be the ruin of any potential for quality in our movie industry, and if you are as active as you claim to be, i implore you to revise your intentions. You can pay rent selling KFC for the parlotones behind a counter, don’t dilute our export quality so you can afford comforts, cause then you frankly don’t deserve it. The way you talk with such gluttonous ego from your position at the ‘front lines of SA cinema’, with that air of arrogance, preaching about how people don’ know nothin’, aint gonna get a movie made, got to know the budgets and the accounts, and do so with a sense of associated pride, really bothers me. Are these the people us unfortunate enough to be out of the loop are relying on to deliver us quality productions? Bottom dollar dwellers? I hope not…

    Gavin Simmons: Dont preach objectivity for causes you’re only showing interest in out of a biased prior emotional investment or it renders your whole little essay up there irrelevant.

    The movie sucks. Despite what friends of the movie makers have said, or someones 4 year old kid (always the best film critics), or how some idiot ‘felt the grass on his face, and could almost smell the dust’ or whatever hippie gav had to say about his first 3D experience (which included him checking his glasses throughout to “experience ‘true’ vision”) – Good to see SA audiences and consumers are capable of calling for better standards. Maybe we can convert that into $$ signs in film makers eyes and so they can finally justify some artistic integrity on a mass marketed scale. Audiences want to see good movies. What a fucking surprise. And yet they are going to keep insisting that what we really want is shit, and somehow this is better for us.

    Or script writer wordy type up there (yes folk, they DO exist! Like fucking Jesus Christ) can keep giving us ‘Parlotones Mentality Movies’. In 3D!

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  64. Anonymous says:

    Also, @Sarah, you say
    “Would you make a film that did not appeal to the international market?”
    And the implication is that you believe this film is of international standard, whereas it is not.
    So apparently, the creators of jock wouldn’t either. But they got Bryan Adams, right? International audiences fucking LOVE Bryan Adams, they call him Big Bieber. A Grade celebrity right there.

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  65. whips excite me says:

    Fucking awesome review – kick fat Barry to the curb! There’s a new guru in town and he’s fucking hilarious, straightforward, and saving me time and money!

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  66. CREATIVE OAK says:

    I totally agree with everything being said about how bad the animation and motion is regarding this movie.

    This is what happens when non animators, designers and vfx artists decide hmmmmm lets make a movie on a famous book…. not a bad idea.

    The bad idea comes in when they decide to recruit amature creatives and pay them a shitty salary of 5-10k to produce a feature. Trust me, there are fantastic animation houses in this country for example… MASTERS AND SAVANT, CLEARWATER, ORIJIN, LUMA, BLACK GINGER, SHY THE SUN, CONDOR and the list goes on….

    What im trying to get at is… to produce a animated feature you need the perfect team on board, people who are passionate about what they do and for god sakes pay them! animators in S.A get taken for a ride.

    moral of my message… next time when you want to produce a full length feature… get inspiration from John Lasseter( animator and founder of pixar) and get the right people on the job.

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  67. Nod says:

    I dabble in animation and know the level of technical difficulty in creating something of pixar quality (I will never achieve this), and obviously the budget was not there for Jock. The problem is trying to be pixar. Creative oak is right, we have top animation studio’s but we sell our identity in favor of bad copies of america, this is visible in our music, television and everything else. There are heap loads of original south african talent, the power of what gets chosen seems to be in the wrong hands, well its that or the public has to be educated on taste, cos ugh….like your straight forward article Chetty, felt you could have skipped the wild theory though.

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  68. zuki says:

    perfectly matched: awful film reviewed by an awful writer

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  69. Anonymous says:

    You know I think i like anybody else South African filmmakers have the potential make great films. They just have to start be honest and taking risks.

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  70. Joke of the Bushveld says:

    There seems to be a ton of nay-saying about the naysaying.

    let me help clear some of this up.

    I got a glimpse of this project when they were making it. I was at ground zero.

    And this movie was made for the money.

    when I was able to see the project (about half way through) the sponsorships, marketing deals and money churning merchandise plans were all but nailed down. The movie itself? not even half way completed.

    characters were created for their marketing potential (the clown, the baddie) and then got thrown into the movie.

    Andy Rice was quick to explain to us the potential profits the movie stood to make as he showed us some “work in progress” that was, as it turned out, the final level of programming.

    what he failed to grasp, what his money blinded eyes did not see was that movies like the toy story franchise and any thing by pixar (even Cars), the movies were amazing. they sold themselves. people wanted Woody toys because they loved Woody as a character, not because he was simply in a movie.

    I was horrified when I heard and saw what I did. I feel as though our history got whored out.

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  71. The Happy Critic says:

    An Animators Perspective

    After reading an extensive amount of reviews which largely reflects “Jock of the bushveld” in a negative light, I decided to finally make some time to watch it for myself to formulate my own opinion. To my surprise I had to dig deep within to try to endure watching more than 10 minutes of this “movie” at a time. I write this review with the intention of briefly discussing the failures of this movie, hence if all you seek is an answer to the question “Should I even bother watching this movie” then there is no need to read further, the simple answer is “NO”. This is 80 minutes of your life that you will never get back.

    With that being said, I cannot for the life of me begin to understand how such a movie was released “on the big screen”. Everybody that paid to watch this movie should rightfully be given their money back. This movie was an absolute disgrace to our South African Animation Industry. In all honesty, I have seen far better animation in low budget daytime kiddies shows. It seems as if the creators of this movie were so hell bent on making money from people actually paying to watch it that they didn’t even care about the quality of this film. I find it extremely hard to believe that it took them 5 years to come up with THIS.

    The character designs were extremely and painfully weak and I found it impossible to create a connection with any of the characters, the emotions that the characters displayed lacked any sort of actual human qualities. I can only laugh at the poor character models in this movie. The facial expressions could be described as mediocre at best as they were highly unconvincing, poorly timed and extremely amateur.
    To my absolute astonishment, there were scenes in the movie where the characters clashed with the props. For example there was a scene where Fitz’s hand went right through the bar stool. This is probably the most unacceptable error which an animator can make. Why didn’t anybody on the team spot these errors and take a few minutes to fix it. There was also a scene where the chicken’s feet were floating. Once again, a few minutes are all it would have taken to fix these small but detrimental errors.
    The animation was disappointing in every sense of the word. However the award for worst animated character ever goes to the movie’s main human character, Fitz. His motions and reactions were so unnatural throughout the entire movie. Let’s take one scene out of the movie. Let’s use the scene where they are crossing the river and Fitz shoots the crocodile. It is almost as if his body parts are fighting with each other. His reaction and movement is completely unnatural, unrealistic and so poorly timed. I have never in my entire life seen a human move or react like this guy. There is absolutely no fluidity in the animation. I would love to know how much reference was actually used in this film. The way in which he handles his pistol and his recovery after he shoots the crocodile is completely unbelievable and appears to have been animated by a person or multiple people that have minimal(if any) knowledge on animation.
    There were a few scenes were the camera angles were chosen correctly to give the audience that dramatic effect. However majority of the film the camera seems to be telling a completely different story as it should have. Everything needs to blend together in a scene to give the audience the desired effect and to get that part of the story across. Unfortunately a good camera angle mixed with bad animation (for example) completely ruins everything.

    The texturing of both the characters and environments were dull and one dimensional, almost as if all they did was slap on a standard texture, “played” with that texture in photoshop for no longer than 5 minutes and it was good enough to be used.

    5 years? Really? The supposedly “dramatic” fight scene between Jock, his mother and the leopard could have been so much better and so much more effective. Here’s what you (the creators) should have done. You’ll (the creators) should have taken 10 minutes out of your “busy” day and watched the scene from The Lion King where Simba fights Scar and reclaims what is rightfully his. And I can guarantee you that watching those 10 minutes would have highly increased the value of this scene. While I am on the topic of reference, you’ll should have also taken some time to watch the part where Mufasa dies and Simba is all alone with nobody to hear his desperate cries for help. Had you’ll examined this scene and question as to why this scene evoked so much empathy in the audience and used that knowledge to better the Jocks Mother Dies scene, perhaps it wouldn’t have been so easy for the audience to brush off such a vital moment in Jock’s life. These are just 2 examples from a single movie that could have highly increased the overall quality of Jock. Can you’ll (the creators) imagine the possibility had you’ll taken a little more time in those 5 years to focus on the audience and how reaction to the film. We have all come to know who Bryan Adams is, especially due to his brilliant music in animated films. However just because his music or voice is featured in a movie isn’t enough to make the movie good. Sadly not even the voice of Bryan Adams could save this train from derailing.

    There is something that could have been changed in every scene of this movie, be it minor or major, that would have made this movie a part of South African history and not a part that we’d rather forget. This movie could be compared to Apartheid, it happened, it was extremely horrible, now let’s all try to put it behind us and move on with our lives.

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  72. Oggy says:

    What a sorry situation

    Oh dear – it seems the producer really doesn’t give a toss. Ol’ Dunky knows (but chooses to ignore) the fact that reputation is built on quality, talent and originality. Dunky’s sold out to commercialism in an arrogant and callous way. (Don’t bleat Dunky, we know, you know). But you only get one shot at this Dunks and you blew it. There is no redemtion. And those talented, creative, wonderful people that make up the core of the SA film industry, will pay the price. I hope you made enough to retire or that Daddy’s money won’t let you fall, because in the real world, and especially the one towards we’re migrating, this kind of behaviour simply won’t be acceptable. You give us all a bad name. I hang my head in shame.

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  73. Edeezable says:

    I am in the process of writing an academic article on this film and would like to thank you dearly for your witty remarks. This critique of Jock has made my day!

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