The Sunday Mail
STER-KINEKOR Sam Levy’s was buzzing last Thursday night with hundreds of movie fans turning up for the premiere of “Black Panther”.
Despite being the second most anticipated movie of the year behind “Avengers: Infinity War”, people came particularly to support Zimbabwe’s biggest export to Hollywood, Danai Gurira, who stars in the film.
It is no surprise that tickets for all the cinemas at the movie house sold out a day before the launch, considering the hype it has generated over the past few weeks. The red carpet event could have easily been mistaken for a fashion fete, with the majority showing up dressed to the nines.
While others opted for western influenced fashion, a reasonable number stuck to the theme and donned their best African attires. There was even one lady who tried to replicate Gurira’s look in the film, from the bald head to the traditional garbs.
Besides the complimentary wine that was flowing, attendees also got to challenge their taste buds with an unlimited supply of pizza platters, which were doing rounds during the reception, thanks to the recently opened Pizza Hut.
Extravagant is a word that could be used to describe the occasion, which had numerous popular figures including Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa, MisRed, Tytan and the controversial Olinda, to name a few, in attendance.
Although the reception had a life of its own, the moment that everyone had been waiting for finally came and people were instructed to go to their respective cinemas.
With the lights switched off and 3D glasses put on, there was total silence until Gurira made her first appearance, a moment that saw the auditorium exploding with wild cheers. Being one of the main characters in the film, as she plays Okoye, the leader of an all-female Special Forces unit tasked with protecting the king, she is basically at the centre of every explosive scene in the movie.
The upmarket audience might have been a bit conservative or rather too silent for such an action packed movie, but there were numerous instances where they would burst into laughter or loud roars. When the film finally concluded, it was hard to believe that two hours had already lapsed.
The movie lived up to the hype and many people were full of praises as they exited the movie house. Comic book artiste and animator Eugene Mapondera said it was one of the best superhero movies he had ever watched.
“This film was a breath of fresh air as it had something different from what we are used to seeing in most of these superhero movies,” said Mapondera.
He added: “This is going to change the way people perceive sci-fi movies considering that it is based on an African society that is more technologically advanced than any other country in the world. This is something we rarely see in Hollywood movies, which usually depict Africans as backward and primitive.”
He also applauded Gurira’s performance, describing it as exceptional.
“I was quite impressed with Danai’s performance as she managed to embody the true personality of a fearless general. She has stared in numerous films and series but this time around she has managed to show the world that she is an extraordinary actress.”
Radio personality Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa was also impressed with the movie.
“The movie is absolutely brilliant, I highly recommend people to go and watch it. This film tells a story that liberated us all mentally from the shackles that bind our continent. I kept on thinking throughout the movie kuti shuwa musikana uyu anonzi Danai is gifted and watching her on the big screen was inspirational.”