Movie Reviews

Beast Of Two Worlds (Ajakaju) Review: Yoruba Folklore Brought To Life

The cast of Beast of Two Worlds was meticulously selected, and their performances conveyed a deep understanding of their roles and the story's demands.

Beast Of Two Worlds (Ajakaju) movie Review
Beast Of Two Worlds (Ajakaju) [PHOTO CREDIT: Youtube/@naijaprom]

Beast of Two Worlds (Ajakaju) is a Nollywood movie about a village where Antelopes have the power to become humans, A desperate king, facing banishment due to his wife’s inability to produce a son, takes a new wife from another world who promises him an heir. Still, her arrival brings unforeseen chaos to the kingdom, forcing the king to confront his fears and fight to secure his dynasty’s future.

While Adekola Odunlade played the lead role in Beast of Two Worlds, the movie was also Directed by him and Adebayo Tijani. The film which is Ajao’s debut cinema production was produced in collaboration with Anthill. Beast of Two Worlds is available on Amazon Prime.

Plot

There was a king who had ruled for ten years but remained without an heir to his throne. The longer he stayed without a male child, the more threatened his reign became. He had three wives, Oyenihun, Abiade, and Oyeyiola, all of whom were pregnant. Desperate to bear a male child, they had tried various means, with Oyenihun particularly relying on her mother’s assistance. However, it seemed as if forces were conspiring against her. One day, both Abiade and Oyeyiola went into labour simultaneously, but they each gave birth to girls. This news infuriated the king even more.

Alani was introduced into the story when he predicted that Oyenihun would bear a male child. Ironically, Alani, who had been praying to the gods for a daughter, found himself with two newborn sons. Frustrated, he confronted the Queen’s mother, offering to donate four of his six boys to the king. This led to his capture and transport to the palace.

Meanwhile, the king, driven by desperation, brought a mysterious girl named Adaralewa to the palace as a wife. With no trace of her family, Adaralewa quickly became pregnant. When Mercy visited with the intention of harming Adaralewa and her unborn child, Adaralewa transformed into a creature, commanding Mercy to ensure a safe delivery of a son. When Adaralewa went into labour, she gave birth to a son. The viewers’ joy was short-lived, however, as Adaralewa shockingly murdered the child in a fire.

Throughout this time, the priests were constantly reminding the king of his dwindling time on the throne, urging him on the necessity of having a male heir. With less than two years left, the king, in his desperation, forgave the queen. The queen responded with kind words, prophesying a long life and many male children for him. Meanwhile, the other wives confided in the Queen Mother, expressing their suspicions that Adaralewa was practising voodoo in the palace. This led to a dream in which the Queen Mother and Adaralewa engaged in a fierce fight. Upon waking, the king entered the room with Adaralewa, who then asked the queen to pray for her safe delivery.

Adaralewa gives birth to a son but then abandons him in the river. Frustrated once again, the king experiences a flashback.

In the flashback, Odenla, a hunter, approaches a god known as the Forest Spirit (Oluigbo) and asks for only large hunts. Oluigbo agrees on the condition that Odenla never hunts an antelope. Driven by greed and love for money, Odenla disregards the condition and shoots two antelopes, who were actually Adaralewa’s parents. Enraged, Adaralewa seeks out the Forest Spirit and vows to make Odenla, any other hunter in the forest, and their descendants suffer the consequences. She kills every hunter in the village and their families.

Overwhelmed by this curse, the priests consult Ifa, who reveals that the king is the only one who can solve the problem. The king manages to trap Adaralewa, who offers him a deal: she will provide him with a male child if he makes her his wife and promises never to call her an animal. Desperate, the king agrees.

However, fast forward to the present, the king reveals to everyone in the palace that Adaralewa is indeed the beast that has been killing people. Adaralewa then reveals to the king that she cannot have children because humans are wicked. When the king insists that his mother is different, Adaralewa shows him the truth: his mother had sworn that her son would never have an heir so that she could retain her place as the leader in the spirit kingdom. She also reveals that she didn’t kill her children but kept them safe with her people. After this revelation, Adaralewa vanishes.

As time runs out, what will become of the king? A few moons later, the king’s life changes.

Cast

The cast of Beast of Two Worlds was meticulously selected, and their performances conveyed a deep understanding of their roles and the story’s demands.

Odunlade Adekola excelled as Oba Towobola, meeting high expectations with his portrayal of the conflicted king, skillfully balancing authority and vulnerability.

Eniola Ajao, renowned for her versatility and dynamism, brought the character of Adaralewa (Ajakaju) to life with her stellar performance, making the fictional narrative almost believable.

Beast of Two worlds (ajakaju) review
Beast of Two Worlds (Ajakaju) cast [PHOTO CREDIT: PremiumTimes]

Sola Sobowale, portraying Iya Oba, once again delivered a top-notch performance, effortlessly embodying her role.

The film also featured notable actors such as Mercy Aigbe, Bimbo Akintola, Faithia Balogun, Femi Adebayo, Lateef Adedimeji, Olayode Juliana, and Ibrahim Chatta, among others.

The entire cast and crew contributed to making Beast of Two Worlds a delightful and memorable experience.

Language

In Beast of Two Worlds, Yoruba was the sole language spoken, and it was creatively expressed not only through dialogue but also through music, incantations, and eulogies.

Summary

Recently, Yoruba filmmakers have embraced a formula that heavily draws from the culture’s rich folklore and ancient literary traditions. This approach aims to immerse viewers in authentic Yoruba settings.

However, ‘Ajakaju’ fell short in some areas. The sudden flashback in ‘Ajakaju’ lacked the necessary buildup or foreshadowing, making it feel out of place and disrupting the connection to the main plot. This narrative shift created a sense of disjointedness, pulling viewers out of the story. Additionally, the subplot involving Lateef Adedimeji was unnecessary. Although intended to add depth, it felt pointless, especially with his sudden and inexplicable disappearance from the film.

As is common with many movies, Beast of Two Worlds suffered from a long buildup but a rushed plot, leaving viewers with unanswered questions, particularly regarding the ultimate fate of the Queen Mother and the other wives.

Moreover, the special effects and makeup teams could use some improvement. The unpolished animations and the artificial beard on Odunlade Adekola were noticeable flaws, detracting from the film’s overall impact. Additionally, Adaralewa’s transformation and costume as a beast lacked effort and creativity.

In conclusion, while Beast of Two Worlds successfully embraced Yoruba cultural elements and traditions, it stumbled in certain aspects such as narrative coherence, subplot execution, and technical refinement. Despite these shortcomings, the film serves as a testament to the ongoing evolution of Yoruba filmmaking, showcasing both its strengths and areas for improvement in future productions.

Beast of Two worlds (ajakaju) review
6.0
Review Overview
Summary

In conclusion, while Beast of Two Worlds successfully embraced Yoruba cultural elements and traditions, it stumbled in certain aspects such as narrative coherence, subplot execution, and technical refinement. Despite these shortcomings, the film serves as a testament to the ongoing evolution of Yoruba filmmaking, showcasing both its strengths and areas for improvement in future productions.

  • Costumes 5
  • Casting6
  • Plot7
  • Setting 6
  • Story 6

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