On the course of the last couple of years, it’s fair to say that the exertions of Egyptian filmmakers have finally paid off for they spruced up the prevalent standards of the industry, yielding at least a one head-turning flick on an annual basis. One of the main reasons of such leap is due to the consummate duo Marwan Hamed and Ahmed Mourad, whose consistency and diligence have played a major role in upping the overall qualities of films, which had their work veer far from their peers’. 5 years after their first team-up in 2014, the witty director and the aspirant scriptwriter have joined forces for the third year in a row, unveiling their latest artwork and eagerly-anticipated sequel The Blue Elephant 2.
5 years after the proceedings of the franchise’s first installment, The Blue Elephant 2 tracks the life of Doctor Yehia Rashed, who has opted out of his psychiatric job after setting his old friend Sherif El-Kordy free from the possession of the malevolent jinn. Trailing Yehia’s not-so-amicable family life, the film follows his dicey venture as he rebounds back to the psychiatric wards of El-Abaseyya hospital to confront a malicious spirit that would revive his anguishes, demolishing his life.
Back in 2014, the release of The Blue Elephant was met with utmost praise as it has ushered in a prosperous era for the Egyptian cinema. In addition to its unprecedented visual and auditory aspects that were, to a great extent, on a par with international films, the booming success of the first installment was mainly due to the preeminence of some factors, and fortunately for the fans of the franchise, the 2019 sequel comprises these very same elements.
One of the aptitudes of The Blue Elephant was the layered structure of the lead character, who possessed an agonizing background, self-destructive traits, an unusual routine and a perplexing mission that he has to untangle its givens, and that has thrust the progression of antagonism. Unlike how things have ended in the precedent film, Yehia Rashed returns to his straying self at outset of the sequel’s proceedings with the pros and cons of his personality, which injects the kickoff of his new animosity. Similar to the first film, the sequel has also availed from the remarkable layout of its antagonist, whose philosophical savvy and psychic powers had her imbibe ample eeriness, intensifying the film’s main opposition. Also, mind games have reached its zenith in this film, employing mirrors as a vital thematic element to decipher the succession of riddles, which is reminiscent of the eminence of the ancient robe of El-Ma’moun in doping out the puzzle of the 2014 film.
Not only did the sequel of The Blue Elephant maintain the fortes of the franchise, but it has also encompassed new attributes that had it break new grounds, the first of which was the way the film has raised the stakes for the protagonist. Unlike his prior portrayal, Yehia Rashed has something to lose now that he has started a family, which has upped the antes and developed new angles for the evolution of threat. Additionally, the film heavily relied on its feminine roles for they represent the tenor of the film, and it was riveting. As they sway between subtle peculiarity and utter eeriness, the 2 lead female characters project abundant notions regarding the hardships of marriage and family that definitely had them stand out, overshadowing the protagonist at certain chapters of the film. The vital roles of female characters in this sequel have offered much room for the filmmakers to depict their take on the malignant outcomes of treachery, jealousy and lust, crafting it within the crux of the plot.
On a similar note, the visual experience of The Blue Elephant 2 was absolutely enthralling with regards to the technical and artistic aspects. Topping the feats of the 2014 film, this installment features marvelous VFX that enlivens the visions and delusions of Yehia Rashed in the finest way possible. The meticulous work conducted by the visual effects team had all the imaginary and historical sequences become bona fide, whether they were set in sandy areas, aquatic environments or grandiose citadels. The impact of such aspect, however, is amplified when it meets the exceptional storytelling techniques of director Marwan Hamed, who can visually articulate entire stories and foster profuse feelings with only a few lines of dialogue. Such commendable quality culminates during the final sequences that piece all threads together as he brings his epic to a conclusion. Needless to say, the auditory work of Hesham Nazih is, once again, top notch. Through his peerless meld of rhythmic and melodic sounds, the witty composer adorns the cinematic experience of the film throughout all chapters as he rises up to the occasion with his palpable compositions, which you’ll keep humming for days.
As for the acting performances, they were all superb. Karim Abd El-Aziz hits the spot once again as he revisits the intriguing Yehia Rashed 5 years after his last impersonation of him, exhibiting his finesse in picking up the strings of the character as if it was 2014 all over again. Contrary to the conventionality of her part in the first film, Nelly Kareem has also availed from the dynamic turns that her character has undergone. For that, she was given much room to showcase her abilities as she oscillates between soundness and insanity. On the other hand, Hend Sabry was charming as the female antagonist, but although she infused her embodiment with diligence and rigor, her rendition didn’t quite live up to the harrowing performance of Khaled El-Sawy in the 2014 installment. Nevertheless, having her join the cast of The Blue Elephant along with Eyad Nassar was surely a solid move for they pulled off solid enactments that bolstered this sequel.
Albeit its tip-top qualities, the film comprised a couple of minor setbacks, such as the succinct flashbacks that popped up on a couple of occasions to point out certain relations for the viewers to connect the already-evident dots. Also, the interrogation scenes that featured the confined Farida and doctor Yehia have had significant resemblance to those of the renowned Hannibal Lecter in 1991’s The Silence Of The Lambs. However, Hannibal’s interrogations were more intense and gripping, unlike Farida’s scenes that sometimes dragged out, over-injecting the dialogue with philosophical talks.
The Blue Elephant 2 is a 130-minute feast for the eyes. It’s brimmed with flamboyant framings, nifty motifs and slick artistries. Long story short, it’s a must-see and the best part is that it leaves the door open for a potential sequel in the coming years, so we’ll be on pins and needles, awaiting its release. So, make sure to catch it in cinemas as soon as you get the chance and make sure to recap the 2014 flick before attending this one.