31st MMFF: Blue Moon

9:15 am PHT

Blue Moon is actually the only film I was really interested in from last year’s Metro Manila Film Festival. And that was what I saw. It’s a good film with a great story and notable acting by Christopher de Leon, Dennis Trillo, and Jennylyn Mercado.

Like Aishite Imasu, a MMFF movie from last year, Blue Moon also had many scenes set during the Second World War. The story is really all about second chances and finding your love. It ties well with the film’s title since a blue moon is the second full moon in a calendar month (they got that explanation right in the film). It’s a bit rare to get a blue moon and so, the lesson is that if you are given a second chance at something, you should reach for it.

This theme is woven well into the lives of the protagonists, three generations of Pineda’s: Manuel, Rod, and Kyle, played by Eddie Garcia, Christopher de Leon, and Dennis Trillo respectively. They all have their problems and strained relationships, but because of Manuel Pineda’s quest for a second chance, the characters learn more about themselves and grow up.

The negative points of the film include the numerous cameo roles and the somewhat crappy effects. Why is the charter pilot there (played by Paolo Paraiso)? It adds nothing to the story. And you don’t bring a terminally ill patient on board a light aircraft where the air isn’t pressurized enough.

The dogfight scenes also add nothing. The special effects for that were abysmal and it detracted from the plot. Another nitpick is that despite Domingo (played by Polo Ravales) being weak and weary during what I presume is the Death March, he manages to push away Manuel (played by Mark Herras) with enough strength that you would think he was just acting weak.

In addition, if you’re looking for someone in the Philippines, you don’t do it by sending snail mail all the way from the East Coast of the United States. Also, the final scene by the sea is so “eh?”

And one more thing, why does Mark Herras seem to have gelled hair in every scene he appears in? (Yes, he still had nice hair while death marching.)

Maybe if Joel Lamangan had tempered his adventuring and adding his personal touches, I would have really loved the film. The story is very good (well, the original story did win the Palanca Award) and despite the shortcomings, I think that it did deserve the Best Picture Award even if I haven’t seen any of the other films in the festival.

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