進撃の巨人 エンド オブ ザ ワールド (Attack on Titan: End of the World)

I don’t even know how I can begin to explain the utter disappointment for this unnecessary sequel. To think I even gave it a chance. I believed that this would somehow make up for what was lacking and what was altered in the first film. It didn’t.

Attack on Titan: End of the World is just as bad, or actually, even worse than the first one. Why does this even have to be a two-part film when the first few minutes of the sequel were all just a flashback of the first, apparently stalling to justify the running time. It both saddens and annoys me that the creators of the live action movie butchered the story, ruined the characters (especially Mikasa) and used the good name of Attack on Titan as cash grab. Its terrible script made Miura Haruma look like a bad actor. For those who haven’t seen the anime or haven’t read the manga, they might think he was overacting, not knowing that Eren Jaeger is a rage-filled character. (BTW, there are no last names for all the characters in the movie!)

As I’ve said before, I don’t have any problems with altering the story. But if they would, then they should do it right. I wonder if the writer was on crack when they were working on the screenplay because it makes absolutely no sense. No character development, no specific goal and no comprehensive resolution. How much did they pay Hajime Isayama for him to approve this nonsense?

The sequel which was supposed to improve the first one even took away what was good in it. The only good part in the first movie was the horror of seeing Titans devour humans while they all desperately cry for help. But in the End of the World, not a single human killed a Titan. The other Titans suddenly disappeared and was replaced by a non-Bertolt and non-Reiner armored ones.  There was no “humanity fights back” at all. It was just Titan shifter VS. Titan shifter fight while humans stand back and watch.  I felt like I was watching Godzilla vs. King Kong in Titan form. And I don’t like kaiju(giant monster) films!

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Not only did the movie introduce a bunch of new characters that I know nothing and don’t care about, it also managed to make me hate the familiar ones from the original. First of all, I hated that Shikishima guy. To think they were trying to introduce him as a faux-Levi character. The nerve. And just when I thought things couldn’t get any cheesier than his apple in the cave scene in the previous movie, the sequel included an extremely cringeworthy wine-drinking confrontation with Eren in an all-white room. That scene totally looks totally out of place. It’s like a cheap music video forcibly inserted into a dystopian movie.

As for the others: It’s like the writer simply lifted some characters from the manga: a neutered protagonist who’s not worth rooting for, magnified familiar characters’ distinct traits (like seriously, does Sasha have to be eating potatoes all the time?), erased important backstories and put in a lot of awkward melodramatic scenes. How could they have time for teenage drama when in the original story, the characters don’t even have time to mourn for their deceased loved ones as they are in constant battle against the Titans.

The live action totally ruined my favorite character, Mikasa, (no) thanks to Kiko Mizuhara’s one and a half facial expressions throughout the entire film. She was getting tossed around by Shikishima when her character is supposed to have the strength of a hundred soldiers. Hanji also turned all weird and trying hard to be a comic relief when she’s in fact a badass soldier, second-in-command in the elite Survey Corps.

What’s unforgivable is that the movie spoiled a major plot point from the manga. It’s something that’s not yet shown in the anime because Season 2 is still in the works. I have tried so hard to stop myself from finishing the manga’s released chapters just so I could see it on the anime first but the film just let it all out unnecessarily and just made everything more confusing than ever. It was awful and hard to sit through. I had no choice but to read the rest of the manga so I could at least get an idea if they lifted their material from the recent chapters. They sure got the part of the tyrannical government arc, but they did so in a horrible way. That event about overthrowing the king was around chapter 60! Imagine the gap. We barely had an introduction and they just simply jumped to Chapter 60 without any clear developments.  The exposition was over-dramatically spoken instead of just being naturally played. I hate it when they literally “tell” the story instead of showing it. The musical score is like chosen by amateurs. So painful to watch, it shouldn’t be in the action-adventure-horror-fantasy genre. This should be filed under the “Disaster” category.

*sigh*  I wish I had the Reiss’ family’s ability to erase memories. I wish this movie just never happened.

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Heneral Luna

I watched two movies last weekend. One’s epic, the other’s an epic fail!

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Both films should’ve been similar in terms of their main characters’ irascible personality and the overall theme of passionately fighting for freedom. Unfortunately, the latter wasn’t able to live up to expectations, messed the original storyline and just sucks big time.

HENERAL LUNA

As a fan of Korean sageuks and Japanese jidai gekis, I was overjoyed at finally being able to watch a highly entertaining and thought provoking mainstream historical movie of our own. We’ve seen a lot of Rizal and Bonifacio’s, so it was a fresh idea to come up with one for such an eccentric hero, Antonio Luna. General Antonio Luna was the most brilliant Filipino military officer during the Philippine-American war. It’s a shame that most young people in our country today don’t even know who he is. The stupid online memes are real. My friend heard it herself. The girl sitting next to my friend at the theater kept saying that Juan Luna is Heneral Luna. *facepalm* Juan Luna is his older brother, an accomplished painter and political activist of the Philippine Revolution. How Filipinos couldn’t even tell the difference is just beyond my comprehension.

Leading the powerful ensemble is John Arcilla, one of the most versatile character actors in the Philippines. As Antonio Luna, he was deemed as arrogant, always boisterous but also brave and passionate.

With a movie that’s historically based with issues so pressingly relevant, beautifully directed and scored by Jerrold Tarrog, there was no need to nitpick. There was great attention to detail…

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…And the script was written in a poetic yet conversational manner. “Para kayong mga birhen na naniniwala sa pag-ibig ng puta.” Heneral Luna managed to make curse words sound so meaningful and tasteful. And with John Arcilla’s stellar performance,an anti-hero who’s perfect for the millennials came to life.

The movie didn’t have to be all serious and too preachy. There was the right amount of humor amidst the foreigners’ oppression and political conflicts. It entertains as it effectively conveys the real virtues of Filipinos then and now, as well as the diversity that hinders us from being a greater nation. Personally it reignited my interest in our own history and hopefully it piqued the interest of the young’uns who don’t even bother to know anything. Why was Mabini sitting the entire time? Like why the f%$$ do they not even know that?…  

Nakakaguilty. Pinagtatawanan at kinaiinisan ko ang kamangmangan ng mga kabataan pero kung tutuusin, isa rin ako sa dahilan kung bakit nagkakaganito sila ngayon. Bayan o Sarili?  Ako mismo, pinili ko ang sarili. Isa akong guro. Lisensiyado. Pero mga Koreano ang tinuturan ko imbes na kapwa ko Pilipino. Bakit? Hindi ako mapapakain ng mga Pilipino. Kailangan kong suportahan ang mga kapatid ko para makatapos sila ng pag-aaral. Nung mga panahong yun, naaksidente ang tatay ko at hindi makalakad. Kahit naman ang mga kaibigan kong guro,yung mga matatalino at maabilidad, kung hindi sa call center, ay nasa abroad.  

Pagkatapos ng pelikula, nangingiyak ako, hindi lang dahil sa sinapit ni Heneral Luna sa kamay ng kapwa niya Pilipino kundi dahil alam natin na hanggang ngayon, mula sa politika hanggang sa relihiyon maging sa love teams sa TV, ginugugulgol ng napakaraming Pilipino ang oras sa pagtatalo imbes na sa pagkakaisa para mapabuti ang bansa. Kahit ako, wala rin naman akong nagawa.

(Trans: …But then I feel guilty. The youth’s ignorance made me feel amused and annoyed at the same time when in fact, I am partly responsible for all these. Nation or Self? I chose the latter. I am a teacher. A licensed one. But I chose to teach Koreans instead of Filipinos. Because teaching our kids don’t put food on the table especially when I have to support 2 younger brothers and a father who just had an accident then, his leg in a cast. Even my smart and talented friends from the same course chose to work either at call centers or abroad.

I was left teary-eyed after watching the film, not just because of Heneral Luna’s horrendous death in the hands of his own countrymen, but because it mirrors the fact that until now from talks about politics to religion to even “love teams” on television, most Filipinos spend their time on online bickering instead of putting their heads together in improving our country. And even I, couldn’t do anything.)

This is just the beginning. Heneral Luna’s end credits teased us with a sequel featuring another General, Gregorio del Pilar. Avengers Style.  I hope the throngs of films that romanticized cheating and glamorizing mistresses, plus a bunch of shallow humorless comedies with an array of product placements would be replaced by aesthetically captivating and culturally awakening movies like this.