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Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Lion King

Rarely did Iloilo see a play with much extravagance and Iloilo Prima Galaw delivers a stage worthy of our eyes to see. IPG (formerly Cultural Club back in my college days) is a group of Ilonggo artists summoned to provide the Ilonggo people with the entertainment that other organizations did not risk to present. For years now, they have staged Peter Pan, The Sound of Music and prior to the Lion King, Professor Tuko, which tackled a very sensible matter that is education in our country. Now, they come back with a more ambitious project that is The Lion King.


Based from the Walt Disney Classic and the broadway musical of the same name, The Lion King is about the coming of age of a lion named Simba as he tackles royalties most common problem, the threat of having their thrones usurped by either people (in this case, animals) outside the royal family or even close relatives. We are all familiar of Simba, Nala, Pumbaa and Timon's advebtures through Pride land. Who hasn't? I myself grew up watching this cartoons and with this, sufficient expectations were marked up when a production of a beloved Walt Disney Classic is conceived.


The play started strong as their rendition of the epic Circle of Life was delivered well and the parade of the animals was welcomed with fascination and ended with a well deserved applause. We see familiar characters light up the stage and everyone was really waiting for the coming of Timon and Pumbaa, who came out in the 2nd Act of the Play. While watching the play, I could not help myself but, of course, compare with the movie I saw for the nth time. The sets were breath-taking and it was placed strategically to accommodate the scenes in the play. Lights are used well and there were some problems with the audio at times but was remedied anyways. The costumes were ingenious and I was really impressed with Pumbaa and Timon's costumes. 


The play will never be successful if not for the actors who portray their characters well. The child who played the young Simba is a gem. He lights up the screen with his impressive diction, well-versed portrayal and surprisingly, a good voice. One of the notable characters portrayed there are of Zazu's, Ontong's Hyena (I can't recall the name), Timon and Pumbaa. Nikko Chua as Simba generates a very surprising entrance, although I felt something that somehow lacked in some of the scenes. I could've appreciated his character more if he sticked to the calm and soothing voice Simba has in the movie, but then he delivered well too. His acting prowess is seen in the entire play. DJ Ong's Mufasa is strong as the character would require and delivered it with mastery. The comic relief that Timon and Pumbaa provided was not that obvious during the first minutes but they manage to nail it in the end. Nala is vibrant and provided the gentleness and firmness of the character. What really stole the show is SCAR. His delivery is both sinister and classy. The accent is perfect and each word is delivered with pure evil .

Directed by Romie John Delariarte, The Lion King is another successful production from Iloilo's prized artists, The Iloilo Prima Galaw. This indeed show that even in our local setting we can make entertainment that could compete on other plays in Manila. I can't wait for IPG's next production. KUDOS!



GRADE: A

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Expendables/Tekken

I lost my faith on movie stars like Stallone, Willis, etc, a long time ago. When I heard that a movie like the Expendables will be released this summer, I was like, WTF?! That would have cost a fortune with a stellar cast like this, and these are not just actors, but the type that would kill for them to be seen in every frame.It took me a week before I decided to watch the movie, and a week to make a review out of it. And in this unproductive day that I have, I decided to make it a wee bit productive in making this review so as not to disappoint my fans (if I have any).

Stallone leads the movie, not only as the actor but also as a Scriptwriter, Producer and Director, and what would you expect, he will be in every single frame of it. Along with him are Lundgren (did i spell it right?), Statham, Rourke and Li which should have more scenes than he deserve. They are an elite group designed to kill, for a price. And with every action movie, somebody betrays them. Classic. They were then offered a job to free a country from a dictator and then the rest is up to for you to watch.

The expendables is oozing with testosterone but not the type which the Twilight Series has, but the right kind of testosterone. This is old school action flick and it is a breath of fresh air to see this type of movie shown again. Old school yet with a touch of our generation. The film contains violence but not that extreme since some of them  were cut off from the movie to avoid the R-18 rating. Willis and Arnie are there but they appear only as cameos. Maybe Stallone could not afford their fees.

The summer is usually packed with action flicks and Tekken seemed to be perfect for the season. The game has been around for too long and I am a bit surprised that it was released too soon. I mean, how long has it been since the cinemas were showing the trailer? A month? Few might have known that there would be a movie and most of the people who have known this may actually be surprised or dismiss this movie. I myself have seen it in the comforts of my own bed after I was supplied with a DVD copy, clearer than the ones shown in SM City. (I don't want to say this, but I don't really like the way cinemas in SM looks like or how their sound system sounds like).

We know Jin and the Gang, and Tekken the movie did deliver. The heroes are there except for Panda, Mokujin, etc. The signature moves are well displayed and I bet none of the fans will be disappointed about this. Story-wise, the same recycled Hollywood story. Mother gets killed, son seeks for revenge, enters a tournament, tries to win the tournament, sees a girl, falls in love, kidnapped by the organizer of the fight, and in the championship game, he ends up fighting the organizer and wins. Clap clap.

Watch the movie to see your characters light up the screen with the moves you usually do with a button. Don't get disappointed with the story, the whole production crew is too busy to copy the game that they disregard the story - just as long as they all fight. It is supposed to go that way, right?

GRADE:
THE EXPENDABLES: B
TEKKEN: B-