|BIONICLE: Mask of Light|
|Directors||Terry Shakespeare, David Molina
|Producers||Sue Shakespeare, Janice Ross, Stig Blicher
|Writers||Bob Thompson, Alastair Swinnerton, Henry Gilroy, Greg Weisman
|Distributers||Miramax Films, Buena Vista Home Entertainment
|Studios||Creative Capers Entertainment, Miramax Films, LEGO
|Release Date||September 16, 2003
|Run time||70 minutes
|Next movie||BIONICLE 2: Legends of Metru Nui|
BIONICLE: Mask of Light was the first of four direct-to-VHS/DVD BIONICLE movies, based on the late 2003 story. It has sold over 400 million copies worldwide since its release.
The movie revolves around the island of Mata Nui. The spirit protecting the island, put into a deep sleep, has returned and only the Mask of Light, in the hands of two Matoran who are assisted by six heroes, can return it to the Toa of Light and return his mask before it is too late.
The direct-to-video sales made Mask of Light one of the top selling DVDs of 2003 in the United States, and has helped in the development of two more movies in the franchise. It was praised for its visual effects and sound direction, but thought to be average in its storyline and character development.
"I WILL NOT LOSE!"
The story starts out with the backhistory briefly explained (How Mata Nui brought the Matoran to the island that they named Mata Nui in his honor, how Makuta put Mata Nui into a deep slumber, etc). The story then shifts to the fortress village of Ta-Koro, which is located in an active volcano. The island-wide Kohlii championship is about to start and Jaller is looking for his teammate and friend Takua the Chronicler. He soon finds him, looking at a warning totem next to a molten river. Just before they are about to leave, Takua picks up the totem, and the ground begins shaking. He drops the artifact into the lava, revealing a Kanohi mask that was embedded in the totem. At that moment, a wave of lava begins to rush through the chamber at Takua. He throws the mask to Jaller and tries to use a lavaboard to get across the lava river, but only gets halfway. Just as he is about to become "lava bones" (as Jaller later puts it), he is saved by the Toa Nuva of fire, Tahu. The two then rush to the Kohlii field, and Jaller puts the mask in his pack. At the field, Turaga Vakama introduces the three Toa present: Tahu, Gali the Toa of Water, and Pohatu the Toa of Stone. He then introduces the three teams: Po-Matoran Hewkii and Hafu of the desert Po-Koro, Ga-Matoran Hahli and Macku of Ga-Koro, which is built over a lake, and Takua and Jaller. The match caries on into the night, until Ga-Koro turns out victorious. At the end, the Mask Takua found falls out of Jaller's pack, shining a bright light on him. The Turaga deduce that this is the Mask of Light, which is to be worn by a legendary Seventh Toa that will defeat Makuta. The Mask of Light will lead its chosen herald to the seventh Toa. The Mask's beam of light originally fell on Takua, but the Chronicler - unwilling to accept the mantle of responsibility - had nudged the mask so that its beam of light fell on Jaller instead, leading all the others to think that he's the destined Herald. Unfortunately for Takua, Jaller volunteers him to come along as well to chronicle Jaller’s heroics. Pohatu leaves to spread word about the Seventh Toa, and Gali has left already. Jaller and Takua leave Ta-Koro the next day on Takua's Ussal Crab, Pewku, with the Mask leading them to Le-Wahi.
Deep beneath Mata Nui, Makuta, is fully aware of what is happening above. He talks to a large statue of a Kanohi Hau Mask, which he refers to as his brother Mata Nui. He then decides to release three of his spawns of shadow, the Rahkshi, to find and destroy the Herald. On the surface, Gali is at the Kini-Nui, a giant temple near the center of the island. The Rahkshi burst from the center of the Kini Nui and attack Gali, who narrowly escapes by hiding in a nearby river. Realizing the Rahkshi are headed for Ta-Koro, she gets there before them and alerts the city. The Rahkshi burst through the walls of Ta-Koro anyway, using their powers of shattering, disintegration, and poison to wreak havoc and eventually destroy the village, but all the Matoran escape unharmed. While Panrahk was knocking rocks, Tahu ran and confronted Panrahk by using his swords to create beams to make the symbol of Mata Nui. As Gali and Tahu take care of the Rahkshi, Guurahk hisses at the two scared Matoran in their hiding place. In the fight, Tahu's mask is scratched by the Rahkshi Lerahk’s poison staff, leaving a sickly green scratch. He doesn't care, though, as he is far more concerned about the destruction of his village.
Meanwhile, Takua and Jaller are heading through the jungle of Le-Wahi, following where the Mask of Light shows them to go. They are then attacked by a Graalok ash bear, and are rescued by Lewa, Toa of Air, who gives them a faster way of traveling, a Gukko bird, with the use to fly to the icy Ko-Wahi (but they have to leave Pewku behind in the forest because there's no room on the bird). Upon their arrival, they learn of Ta-Koro's destruction, the message sent by the Drums of Le-Koro. Lewa then flies to Ta-Wahi to find out more, leaving Takua and Jaller behind. They are caught in a blizzard, and run into Kopaka, Toa of Ice, whose personality is as cold as his powers (freezing Bohrok). Upon arriving at Ko-Koro, they are attacked by the Rahkshi, and escape down the side of a mountain. Kopaka is knocked out in the escape, and Takua tries to get away across a lake, using Kopaka's shield as a raft and the Mask as a paddle. Just as the Rahkshi close in, Kopaka wakes up and freezes the Rahkshi in the lake. Pewku (who had been left behind in Le-Wahi) arrives, and Kopaka leaves to see to his village. The Matoran then leave for the underground Onu-Wahi.
In the underground network of tunnels, Takua gets lost. He is surprised by Makuta, who appears before him in the form of two glowing red eyes. He warns Takua that if he does not give him the Mask of Light, Jaller will die. Takua refuses, but later panics and leaves Jaller and the mask and behind. Pohatu and Onua (The Toa of Earth), are telling the Onu-Matoran about the Seventh Toa when Takua and Pewku arrive. The three Rahkshi not frozen by Kopaka arrive soon after. These Rahkshi have the powers of fear (makes victim incredibly afraid), anger (turns victims against each other), and hunger (saps victim of its strength). As the Matoran are forced to flee from their village, Takua realizes this is his fault, as he is the real Herald, meaning the Rahkshi are looking for him. Tahu, Gali, and Lewa arrive, and Tahu's scar has gotten worse. When he is hit by Kurahk’s anger energy, the poison and the anger cause him to completely lose his control of rage and sanity, and he attacks Gali. He is stopped when Kopaka arrives, freezing the enraged Tahu in ice. Meanwhile, Pohatu and Onua cause a cave in, and the Toa are forced to flee the village. Gali, Kopaka, and Lewa later free Tahu from his madness and cure his wounds.
Takua finds Jaller and the two head for the Kini Nui, which the mask says the Seventh Toa should be. Nothing happens, though, and all six Rahkshi surround them. The Toa come to their aid, and destroy all the Rahkshi except Turahk, who tries to kill Takua, but Jaller takes the blow instead. As the dying Jaller tells Takua "You were always different" the Chronicler realizes that the Herald doesn't find the Seventh Toa, the Herald is the Seventh Toa. Takua puts on the Mask of Light and becomes Takanuva, Toa of Light. He destroys Turahk with a burst of light, then mournfully picks up Jaller's corpse and carries it from the Great Temple.
Later, Takanuva is mourning at Jaller's grave, and he wonders aloud whether Jaller's death was worth it. Turaga Vakama, however, walks up and reassures him. Later, the Toa finish building the Ussanui out of Rahkshi parts, and Hahli adds the final touch to the front of the vehicle: Jaller's mask. As Takanuva mounts the vehicle and prepares to fly it into Makuta's lair, his fellow Toa ask why they can't come with him. Takanuva replies that it is his destiny to defeat Makuta, while theirs lies with the Matoran. The Toa of Light flies down through the dark tunnels and jumps out of the Ussanui before it could hit a stone door. As he passes, Hahli comes out of the rubble, picking up Jaller's mask, declaring herself the new Chronicler. Takanuva comes into Makuta's lair, (with the same shadow Kraata that powered the Ussanui) where the Master of Shadows taunts him, and tells him that he is no hero, just a big failure. To decide the fate of Mata Nui (Both the island and the Great Spirit), Makuta challenges Takanuva to a "game of Kolhii" (played with a ball of protodermis). If Takanuva wins, he can try to open the Hau-shaped gate; lose, and Makuta gets the Mask of Light.
While the players competed, Hahli returned to the surface to tell everyone (The Toa Nuva and Turaga) to come below and awaken Mata Nui. when they arrived, Makuta destroyed the cave entrance. Takanuva uses his Kolhii move from the start of the movie to throw the ball at Makuta. When all seemed right, Makuta rose again, claiming that if Mata Nui is awakened, he will siffer from great pain. Takanuva leaps onto the Master of Shadows and rips off his mask and the two fall into a pool of Energized Protodermis and emerge as a giant fused being; Takutanuva. The combined being lifts the gate, then regenerates Jaller by sending some of his energies into Jaller's mask. However, this transfer leaves Takutanuva too weak to hold the door up, and it crushes him. As the dust clears, only the Mask of Light remains. Turaga Vakama picked up the mask, placing Jaller, Hahli and the mask in the symbols of Unity, Duty and Destiny respectively, reviving Takanuva. Using his light makes a hole in the cavern, revealing the long lost city of Metru Nui.
- Jason Michas - Takua/Takanuva
- Andrew Francis - Jaller
- Scott McNeil - Tahu Nuva, Onua Nuva, Graalok the Ash Bear
- Lee Tockar - Makuta, Pewku
- Christopher Gaze - Turaga Vakama
- Kathleen Barr - Gali Nuva
- Dale Wilson - Lewa Nuva, Turaga Onewa
- Michael Dobson - Kopaka Nuva, Hewkii
- Trevor Devall - Pohatu Nuva
- Lesley Ewen - Turaga Nokama
- Chiara Zanni - Hahli
- Doc Harris - Kolhii Announcer
Miramax and Lego made a partnership in 2002 to develop and distribute three BIONICLE movies. When choosing a style for the movie to follow, directors Terry Shakespeare and David Molina noted that there were several already existing interpretations of the BIONICLE look, including the flash web comic, comic book, and CG commercials; they eventually decided upon the commercial look.
After attending several days of "Bionicle school" in Denmark, they were given a grounding in how they were developed. Several features were redesigned for the movie, including the introduction of a movable mouth to allow for a more human character. Also, characters such as the Toa Nuva were redesigned, beginning with the creation of a skeleton and muscles. For the design, Shakespeare noted that "The first film had primary colors that were coded to the areas and a younger feel."
Two scripts for the movie were created, one by writer Alastair Swinnerton (also one of the original BIONICLE creators) and one from the other, Henry Gilroy, to see who would write the better script. Due to time constraints, however, the Gilroy script was accepted with some of Alastair's ideas included. He reported that creator Bob Thompson, who had reportedly had some of the characters in mind for years. "I really made it my duty to stick close by his vision, while bringing my ideas of comical character and big screen action, all the while staying true to the LEGO ideals of construction and community." The Lego Company insists they would "never compromise their values for the bottom line." The movie was also an occasion for the expansion of the BIONICLE universe by the addition of the Rahkshi and its line of toys.
The film premiered on September 13, 2003, at Legoland in Carlsbad, California, which featured a huge mosaic built of Lego and a special effects show. The DVD was one of the ten best selling premiere DVDs of 2003.
- When asked by Lewa if he had ever flown a Gukko bird, Takua says, "I've been a second..."; this directly references the Mata Nui Online Game, where Takua rode alongside Kongu on a different species of Gukko.
- In the director's commentary in the movie, David Molina and Terry Shakespeare explain that when Takua, Hahli and Hewkii whack their Kohlii sticks and say "Play Well", LEGO placed this into the movie, because "Lego" is Danish for "play well" to give BIONICLE a LEGO-like experience.
- Some continuity issues in the film include, when accessing the Mata Nui Explorer feature of the DVD, in the area of Po-Koro, pictures of Pohatu Mata can be seen, instead of Pohatu Nuva. Another in the explorer is in the Mangai Volcano/Mangaia; when Panrahk is clicked on, two of the three images shown are of Panrahk, while the other is of Vorahk. This can be noticed because of the difference in their staffs.
- An early draft supposedly involved a human kid in the main role, alongside the inhabitants of Mata Nui. For obvious reasons, this idea was shot down very early in development.
- In the Kohlii game when Hewkii scores first, there is a Po-Matoran wearing a Huna and instead of cheering, he seems sad and just blinks, resting his head on his hands.
- Near the end of the credits, a message in the Matoran Language reads, "No Rahi were harmed in the making of this film."
- The only Kanohi the other Matoran wear are the noble Huna, Rau, Komau, and Ruru, along with the great Kakama (The Kakama being more rare). Jaller, Hahli, and Takua are the only three Matoran in the film to wear the Hau, Kau Kau, and Pakari in the movie. This was likely done to have them stand out from the rest of the Matoran.
- The words "Technic," "Toa", "Has", "One", and "Destiny" can be deciphered from the Matoran Language text inside of the Avohkii.
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