BONIFACIO: ANG UNANG PANGULO (2014 MMFF Entry) | Movie Review

Plot:

Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo is a historical action epic that brings to light the powerful, true-to-life drama of Filipino revolutionary Andres Bonifacio (Robin Padilla)—one of our country’s national heroes—with his virtues and humanity, unfolding through the eyes of a young man (Daniel Padilla) in this day and age.

Cast :

Robin Padilla as Andres Bonifacio
Vina Morales as Gregoria de Jesus
Daniel Padilla as Joaquin
Jasmine Curtis-Smith as Andrea
Jericho Rosales as José Rizal
Eddie Garcia as Museum of Philippine Political History curator
Isko Moreno as Padre José Burgos



SPOILER ALERT (?)

My notes on BONIFACIO: ANG UNANG PANGULO

1. It took me quite some time to figure it out but with the modern day framing device, the epic scope, the saccharine musical score, and the final tracking shot with the framed pictures, I finally figured out that this movie badly wanted to be...Titanic. I'm not kidding.
2. I wasn't sure if it was the projector in Greenbelt 3 cinema but the movie was just badly-lit. Most of the flashback scenes (even the day shots) looked too dark and I spent most of the movie squinting to see what was going on.
3. Speaking of that framing device, they could have chucked out the entire Daniel Padilla storyline and it wouldn't have mattered. If they really needed him for commercial viability, couldn't they just have made him a young Bonifacio or one of the Katipuneros?
4. When Robin Padilla first showed up, I actually thought he was playing a different role. I dunno, I think I've always pictured Bonifacio as completely downtrodden and rugged and not someone with perfectly combed and pomaded hair looking like an Ilustrado. The statue shown at the end of the movie further magnified the difference on how he looked from the real person. (Side note: He reminded me so much of Willard. Remember that weird guy who made friends with rats? Yes, him. Cue the Ben theme song.)
5. Robin was being Robin in this film with his constant posturing and growling. He should have remade Panday instead.
6. Apparently, the love story between Bonifacio and Gregoria de Jesus deserved thirty minutes of screen time. Author Teodoro Agoncillo should have capitalized on this romance and it could have made his History of the Filipino People even more of a bestseller. Hey, it's not too late to reissue it on Wattpad.
7. Everything had to be explained with characters voicing their thoughts and feelings. If you missed the moral, there was a voiceover. And if you missed it still, Eddie Garcia was there to explain it yet again.
8. If there was one good thing in this movie, it would be the lavish production design that screamed epic prestige historical drama!! May budget.
9. If a movie doesn't really say anything new and offers the same old conspiracy theories, how many more times should this story be told?
10. In one crucial scene (The Cry of Pugad Lawin), one Katipunero was trying to suppress his laughter while tearing up his cedula. I guess that summed up my entire experience of this film. Even if it had the air of importance for dealing with a revered historical figure, its attempt to draw significance to our current setting was nothing short of laughable. The good intention may be there but it needed a better movie (preferably one without Daniel) to get its message across. 
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Movie Rate : ★★☆☆☆

Directed by Enzo Williams nd produced by Philippians Productions.

Movie Review by : Jason Javier

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