|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 Captain of the Guard 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 Toa curiously examines the mask and tells the Matoran to take it to Turaga Vakama once they've won the Kohlii match. 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 (who are also Kohlii champions), Ga-Matoran Hahli and Macku of Ga-Koro, which is built over a lake, and Takua and Jaller. The match carries on into the night, Takua tries a new move he has been developing but it fails spectacularly. The match concludes with Ga-Koro emerging 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. Tahu asks them when and where the Seventh Toa will arrive but Turaga Onewa tells him that, unlike the other Tahu and the others, the Seventh Toa must be found. Turaga Nokama adds that 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 scar. 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 Bohrok. The Matoran are initially scared but realise that they've been frozen. A figure then approaches and the blizzard suddenly clears, revealing Kopaka, Toa of Ice, whose personality is as cold as his powers. 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. Three new Rahkshi then arrive soon after. They consist of Turahk (who can make his victims very afraid), Kurahk (who can turn his enemies against each other), and Vorahk (who can sap his victim of its strength); the powers of fear, anger and hunger respectively. 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 use their various healing powers to 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. Takua takes the mask and begins shaking it. At that moment, a blast then shoots from it and destroys a section of the Great Temple, revealing something underneath. At that moment, 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're 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, and fires another burst which destroys the rest of the Great Temple, revealing a giant statue of his face to be underneath. He 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 his 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 and the Turaga. He tells them to gather the latter and wait for him to come back. 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 emerges from the wreckage, picking up Jaller's mask, declaring "It's time someone was your Chronicler". Takanuva enters 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. He remarks that he shuld just leave but the Toa refuses and sends Hahlii to fetch the others. To decide the fate of Mata Nui (Both the island and the Great Spirit), Makuta challenges Takanuva to a "simple 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 compete, Hahli returns to the surface to tell everyone to come below and awaken Mata Nui. Turaga Vakama wants to go but Turaga Onewa warns him that they may never return should they go down. This makes the group begin to debate amongst themselves when Hahli calls their attention and cites what a wonderful home their island is and that in order to honour Jaller's memory, they must go down and awaken the Great Spirit, to which everyone cheers. As they arrive, Makuta destroys the cave entrance, preventing them from leaving. Takanuva uses his Kolhii move from the start of the movie to throw the ball at Makuta: This time executing it perfectly allowing the ball to hit it's target and win the game. Makuta then rises, stating he will continue to protect Mata Nui, claiming that while his brother is sleeping he is spared pain. Takanuva retorts that he is not protecting Mata Nui and Makuta replies that his duty is to the Mask of Shadows. Takanuva remarks "then let's take a closer look behind that mask!". He then leaps onto the Master of Shadows, rips off his mask and the two fall into a pool of Energized Protodermis. For a few moments, nothing happens but then they emerge as a giant fused being: Takutanuva. The combined being lifts the gate to allow everyone through, 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 picks 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.
- There are rumors that before the BIONICLE: Mask of Light was released on theaters in Mexico as Bio Robot Wars: Máscara de poder, the movie was cut and was dubbed in Spanish with the new script.
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