Movie Reviews

Anikulapo: Rise Of The Spectre Review: A Captivating Tale Of Life, Death And Resurrection

Out of love for Saro, Orolake bestows upon him this mysterious power, propelling him into a position of influence in their new home.

Anikulapo: Rise Of The Spectre review
Anikulapo: Rise Of The Spectre cover [PHOTO CREDIT: What Kept Me Up]

For the Anikulapo: Rise of the Spectre review, we take a like at the plot, casting, setting, and cinematography of the latest season of the Kunle Afolayan series. As Saro’s journey reaches a tragic conclusion, the question arises: what fate awaits this captivating character? With the weight of his actions bearing down upon him, viewers are left to ponder the next chapter in Saro’s story. Will he find redemption in the face of adversity, or will he succumb to the consequences of his choices?

‘ANIKULAPO: The Rise of the Spectre’ is a Netflix mini-series directed by the legendary Kunle Afolayan, a sequel to the Anikulapo drama of 2022. A little recap of the 2022 Anikulapo movie follows the story of Saro, a man with the power of death in his pouch, known as Anikulakpo. Saro, who had previously eloped with Orolake, the king’s wife, to start a new life in another village, finds himself entangled in a web of mystery and power when Orolake discovers a charm that can resurrect the dead. Out of love for Saro, Orolake bestows upon him this mysterious power, propelling him into a position of influence in their new home.

Saro’s fatal decision to play god and disrupt the natural order proved to be his undoing, culminating in his tragic demise after betraying his wife, Arolake. His selfish actions reveal a recklessness that some might describe as audacious, even akin to challenging the devil himself.

While it may seem like viewers may find it challenging to keep up with the original story that serves as the foundation for the new series, ‘Anikulapo: The Rise of the Spectre,’ director Kunle Afolayan’s skilful execution ensures that viewers are effortlessly drawn into the narrative. His adept storytelling and attention to detail make it easy for audiences to engage with the captivating world he has brought to life on screen.

The introduction of the new series may prompt viewers to ponder several questions: Was the decision to extend the series by adding six lengthy episodes a wise choice? Is there still untold depth to Saro’s story, particularly regarding his repeated entanglements with darker forces?

Let’s delve deeper into the Anikulapo: Rise of the Spectre review.
Anikulapo: Rise Of The Spectre review
Stills from Anikulapo: Rise Of The Spectre [Image provided by KAP Motion Pictures and Netflix]

Plot

The story picks up as viewers witness Saro’s spirit departing from his body as he begins his journey to the afterlife, accompanied by other spirits. However, when Saro reaches the gates of the afterlife, he encounters an unexpected obstacle in the form of the gatekeeper. Perplexed, Saro inquires why he cannot proceed, prompting the gatekeeper to reveal the consequence of Saro’s actions: by resurrecting the dead too many times, he must now pay the price for playing God. Therefore, for Saro’s spirit to proceed to the afterlife, he must return to the land of the living and retrieve the souls of those he resurrected. It’s worth noting the exceptional execution of this scene by the cast and the outstanding cinematography that added to its intrigue.

While some may question the decision to stretch the drama into a six-episode series, each instalment proves to be a crucial building block in advancing the overarching narrative. Saro’s emotional journey to retrieve the souls he resurrected leads to an unexpected loophole in his judgement. 

Remarkably, a blind old woman refuses to return to the afterlife and strikes a deal with Saro, allowing him to live as a wraith in human form in a distant community. However, the souls he resurrected remain tethered to him, presenting a complex dilemma that adds depth to the storyline. 

Saro’s determination to seize the chance for a better life prompts him to plead with the spirits for an opportunity to live as a human. In a surprising turn of events, the spirits grant him a three-year reprieve to exist in human form as a wraith. With their assistance, Saro embarks on his newfound human existence, venturing into the palm wine business. However, an unexpected twist unfolds when he encounters unexpected competition from the father of his new love interest.

The kingdom of Oyo, from which Saro and Arolake had fled, grapples with the repercussions of Saro’s theft of the power of life and death from Akala. In response, two of the king’s elders, Bashorun and Fasogun, devise a plan to bring Arolake back to Oyo in hopes of appeasing Akala and also for Bashorun’s selfish interest.  Bashorun fueled by greed and ambition, decided to go against the king, which led to his newly found conquest of becoming “Anikulapo “ by stealing SARO’s power of resurrecting the dead.

As the plot unfolds. Arolake finds herself adrift in the aftermath of Saro’s death, wounded and emotionally scarred by his betrayal. Lost in the forest with no clear path ahead, her fate takes an unexpected turn when she stumbles upon a magical pouch imbued with the power to gain wealth. As she integrates into a new community, Arolake discovers a newfound sense of purpose and the possibility of a second chance at love. The scene depicting Arolake’s encounter with the enigmatic beings is a testament to the meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail that defines the series, capturing the imagination of viewers with its awe-inspiring beauty and depth.

Arolake, now wealthy and influential in her community, opts to return to the kingdom of Oyo in disguise as a wealthy merchant named Asake, conducting business. Akin, who provided Arolake with a new home and formed a close partnership with her, travels to Oyo to inform the king of Asake’s arrival.

The notion of Arolake returning to the kingdom where she betrayed her husband, the king, might spark curiosity among viewers. One might wonder if she is walking into a trap of her own making. However, Arolake’s ability to charm her way back into the king’s favour upon her return to the palace sets off a chain of events. The question remains: Will she be reinstated to her former role as queen?

Bashorun, the antagonist in the series, meets his unfortunate fate due to his insatiable greed and lust for power, as well as his scheme to reveal Arolake’s true identity. The consequences of his actions ultimately consume him. The lingering question at the series’ end is whether Bashorun will return as Anikulapo.

The “Anikulapo: Rise of the Spectre” series has sparked considerable debate, with opinions divided on whether it was a success or a failure, and numerous questions arising from each episode. Putting together folklore for a 21st-century audience can sometimes be described as a “Herculean task.” However, the originality and authenticity being portrayed in the series might have been the sole reason why the viewers may find the series entertaining and intriguing.

The plot of the series takes viewers on a tumultuous journey filled with a roller coaster of emotions, expectations, suspense, doubt, and occasional disappointments. Initially, viewers anticipate a storyline centred around the rise of the spectre, with Saro facing the consequences of disobeying the gatekeeper. However, it appears that Saro never faces any repercussions, leaving viewers questioning his character. 

The series provides no clarity on whether Saro remains a wraith in human form or returns to his original ghost nature. This ambiguity suggests that the Anikulapo franchise may return with additional episodes to further explore Saro’s fate.

Anikulapo: Rise Of The Spectre review
Stills from Anikulapo: Rise Of The Spectre [Image provided by KAP Motion Pictures and Netflix]

Cast

Kunle Afolayan’s deliberate casting choices in ‘Anikulapo: The Rise of the Sceptre’ are evident, with each actor delivering stellar performances. 

From Kunle Remi’s portrayal of Saro to Bimbo Ademoye’s depiction of Arolake and, of course, Gabriel Afolayan’s portrayal of Akin, the cast brings their A-game to the series. 

Notably, seasoned actors like Sola Sobowale and Jide Kosoko add a touch of sophistication to the series, elevating the overall quality of the production. 

Additionally, the series benefits from the talent of actors such as Olayiwola Razaq Olasunkanmi, Lateef Adedimeji, Layi Wasabi, Aisha Lawal, Damilola Ogunsi, Oyindamola Sanni, Sunday Omobonlale, Adebayo Salami, and the late Sisi Quadri, who contribute to the richness of the narrative with their compelling performances.

Language

The use of the Yoruba language in ‘Anikulapo: The Rise of the Spectre‘ serves to enrich the cultural heritage of Nigeria and underscores the importance of linguistic diversity in Nollywood. By incorporating Yoruba, one of Nigeria’s major languages, into the series, the filmmakers celebrate and preserve the richness of Yoruba culture and traditions. This not only resonates with Yoruba-speaking audiences but also helps to promote cultural appreciation and understanding among viewers of diverse backgrounds. 

‘Anikulapo: The Rise of the Spectre’ is a must-watch for fans of thought-provoking storytelling and compelling character-driven dramas. With its gripping plot, stellar performances, and rich thematic depth, it stands as a shining example of the power of storytelling to transcend genre boundaries and touch the hearts of audiences. Visually stunning and expertly crafted, from amazing cinematography to breathtaking special effects, every aspect of the series is meticulously designed to immerse viewers in its mesmerising universe.

Anikulapo: Rise Of The Spectre review
6.4
Review Overview
Summary

With its gripping plot, stellar performances, and rich thematic depth, it stands as a shining example of the power of storytelling to transcend genre boundaries and touch the hearts of audiences.

  • Costumes6
  • Casting6
  • Plot6
  • Setting8
  • Story6
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