After hearing enough of the buzz and fuss of this movie, "HENERAL LUNA", I finally gave in and joined in towing the line of late screeners for this intriguing flick. The question I want answered as I crept inside the theater is this: "IS THE MOVIE TRULY DESERVING OF ALL THE PRAISES RECEIVED? I soon found out.
I am no history buff but there's no point anyway if we dwell on arguments on the film's accuracy in depicting the life and exploits of this revolutionary army since the flick opens with introductory disclaiming line, saying "It's A Work Of A Fiction Inspired By Facts
", therefore, that being implied, it is only but right to set aside debate on its historical precision.
This movie offers a lot of promise, I should say. It has its telling, inspiring, and yes, visually jaw-dropping moments that one could even wonder if this is indeed a Pinoy-made film, well, at least technically speaking. The narrative is likewise quite impressive, though at some point the simulation on some movies of the same theme is somehow evident, if not dead obvious. To sum it all up, this is a movie of one's bravery, his courageous exploits in spearheading the struggle for independence and freedom for his homeland, his unfaltering principle, the corruption in politics, the grand conspiracy, the ensuing betrayal, the ultimate sacrifice of death, and the eventual "Pontius Pilate" demeanor of the red-handed characters who were being alluded to of having the brains of his gruesome demise.
At its surface, and as bolstered by the hype this movie gets, it really sounds promising and intriguing. Or is it not? I say not quite.
While admittedly I was literally enthralled and wowed by the cinematographical innovation, visual flares, and passable portrayals (except for Buencamino, and few handfuls who have really done great) of the characters on selected scenes, I simply find this movie being just "OK" and "far" near from being spectacular, as others described it to be. Yes, the flashback sequence where Luna closes his eyes and recalls the past with interchanging events in one sequence, and, that final act of repulsion and denial of the surviving important characters during interviews with beautiful score being played on the background, until the digitally-enhanced (CGI) burning of the Philippine flag that was hanged on the wall as credit started to roll, are so damn perfectly executed that it was a no surprise when I heard applauses in quite a number from some overly-satisfied viewers at my back.
Unfortunately, while I tried hard to be in concurrence and joined the bandwagon of chanters who glorify this film, my distastes on some non-trivial scenes and horrendous depictions simply prevail over my sheer admiration specially that this movie, if i heard it right, has been selected as our entry for the upcoming Oscar Awards. Why i said so? Take for instance those scenes where Luna, under the heavy gun battle with bullets flying all over his (or their) direction, mainly stood there in the field like a bold lion directing his docking men (where some were already fatally shot), while occasionally returning aimless fires, and yet he was spared from even a single bullet?! Oh-ha!
There's more (and many more,actually). The final act showed Luna being shot multifariously at the center of an "encircling" shooters who were just about four meters away from each other with rifles (and bolos)! Seriously, ha? And one can't assume excuses on lack of strategy of soldiers during that time, since shooting a lone adversary while fatally endangering yourselves of an inevitable crossfire while surrounding him at such a distance, is not only foolish at the highest level but downright stupid. And yes, as if that was not enough of a ridicule, our main actor refused to fall down and die) that easily despite sustaining several shots, stabs and hacks (and shot again, and stabbed again, and hacked again) that I can't help but ask myself if the makers of this film are in fact implying a cryptic message that Luna was into heavy drugs just like Tony Montana (played by Al Pacino) in that climactic scene in "Scarface" (pun intended).
Don't get me wrong here for just like you, I can easily suspend disbelief and let trivial errors slip just that, but not on this one which I really considered as an idiotically-made blunder. How come the director and writers paid less, or no, attention at all to such important details and compromised, to that effect, a movie which has so much potential to be good, or even best, unless otherwise they were just sarcastically insulting the viewers' wit.
Finally, I earnestly thought the vast amount of comedy and humor injected on some serious scenes as outlandish and uncalled for, as most of them were cheesy and distracting at times or in some point, instead of drawing the desired comic relief.
Should you watch this movie (assuming that you haven't done that yet)? It's up to you, really, but you've been warned.
Just my two cents.
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