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Kunle Afolayan’s Anikulapo: The Rise of a Sceptre is nothing but a perfect blend of perfection and imperfection

Graphic summary of the movie review for Kunle Afolayan's Anikulapo focusing on the film's balance between perfection and imperfection.

Drumrolls. The movie recommendation for the week is the Netflix release “Anikulapo: The Rise of a Sceptre. Take a peek into Yoruba culture and tradition through the entertaining lenses of Kunle Afolayan as we find out the fate of the two estranged lovers, Saro and Arolake. The six-episode film is a sequel to the movie “Anikulapo,” released on Netflix in 2022. 

You’re definitely getting no spoilers from me. Let’s rewind back a little. “Saro Alaso Oke”—Saro, the cloth weaver and charmer, comes into town and captures the hearts of two peculiar women. One is old and independent; the other is young and bound by marriage. Both women have substantial influence and power; the young is Alaafin, the great king of Oyo’s youngest wife.

The cuckoldry with Arolake, the king’s wife, as its usual nature dictates, does not last long. Saro and the King’s wife have to face the consequences of their actions. Call it the providence of fate or sheer luck, they both escape. Their lives seem to become much better with a little gourd in their possession. With Akala’s little gourd, the couple became famous for their ability to raise the dead. Let’s just say there’s a limit to how much you can alter the course of nature.

It’s a beautiful love story until Saro, our handsome charmer, bloated by pride and his innate casanova personality, betrays his beloved wife, Arolake. Blinded by vengeance, Arolake destroys their precious gourd and source of wealth at the time when Saro needs it the most. 

Phew! That was quite intense. It’s about to get more intense. The news of Saro, the one who resurrects the dead, has spread like wildfire. Back in Oyo, the people are at the receiving end of Akala’s wrath. Now they know that Saro and Arolake are alive! Okay, that’s enough. 

Kunle Afolayan has got the story going with a mix of humour, an interesting set of new characters, twists, and a budding narrative. The prospect of a spin-off from Anikulapo had the audience pregnant with curiosity. The production did well to calm raging appetites with glimpses of behind-the-scenes activities featuring new characters, magnificent costumes, and set designs. 

Anikulapo: The Rise of the Sceptre is a period piece that should serve as reference material for cultural research studies. Kudos to the producers for their costumes and architectural accuracy. The period piece, rich in expression, however, lacks accent accuracy. The actors, in a bid to maintain consistency, chose to play safe with the regular Yoruba accent rather than explore the remnants of the existing ancient Yoruba.

His cinematic prowess and painstaking attention to photographic details glide us through the progression of the story through skillful framing and camera movements, which appear to be smoother than the unfolding of the narrative. Where the story lacks in holding the viewer’s attention, the camera fills the gap. Kunle Afolayan, as always, knows his cinematic onions. Stay up to date on the newest in the world of Fashion, Arts, Beauty and Lifestyle; Follow FAB on Instagram.

Kunle Afolayan did not only plan to make a film; he sought to create a meeting point between the past and the present. His selection of veteran actors and recent talents creates a seasoned cast list. What crowns this cinematic experience, second to the production design and all visual elements, is the brilliant selection of talents and their impeccable delivery, which makes one almost oblivious to the lagging pace.

What we have is a perfect blend of perfection and imperfection to create a piece that will be relevant for a long time in the cinematic world. I’ll give the story a 6/10. Go on and watch; let me know what you think.

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