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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Mr. Peabody and Sherman, 300: Rise of An Empire

Can you still remember The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show? Or even the movie? In the show is a segment about a boy and his intellectual doc - Mr. Peabody and Sherman. It was not until the end credits that I was able to remember the show. 
In this recent Dreamworks offering, follow the not-so-normal life of the dog wonder and his adopted child, Sherman. Sherman is in his first day of school and it is not complete without the insecure bullies which he has to face. This caused trouble not only to Sherman but to Mr. Peabody as well, questioning his parenting skills. To fix things out, Mr. Peabody invited Penny, the bully, to their home for a dinner which surprisingly becomes a roller coaster ride of epic proportions. With the aid of the time machine, WABAC, they rescue Penny from marrying King Tut to aiding Achilles in the Battle of Troy. 

The film is fun beyond expectations and brings out the child inside in each moviegoer. The film does not boast of any twisted tail but delivers a handful of soul and heart which makes it one of the charming animated films ever made. Helmed by Rob Minkoff, director of The Lion King, this wonderful tale of friendship and patriarchal love is a gem for all ages. 

GRADE: B+

300: Rise of an Empire is a follow up of the 2007 hit 300 and is based upon the unreleased graphic novel Xerxes by Frank Miller. When Zack Snyder made 300, it was breakthrough cinema. It was an inspiration for other graphic novels such as Sin City and The Spirit to be viewed in the silver screen with the graphic novel feel. 

The film follows the events which took place before, during and after the movie 300. Audiences may find lost in the film as there were no superimposed texts that would guide them. In this film, we see less of the Spartans and more of the Athenians with Themistocles as their leader. 

The film contains several flashbacks of Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and Artemisia (Eva Green) and the rise of the Persian Army and its motivation to annihilate Greece. While these flashbacks gives satisfaction, the remainder of the plot proved to be lackluster as this flick is merely a filler for a planned trilogy. Audiences who came to see the film as a closure to the events that led after 300 may feel disappointed and unsatisfied with this installment. 

Noam Murro who subbed Zack Snyder for this sequel provides the familiar theme but was lost in the way up to the end credits. Snyder should reconsider doing the sequel (if any). The first film is a classic and maybe, just maybe, Snyder can pull it off if he will helm the 3rd installment.

While Rise of an Empire contains strong performances from Santoro, Green and Lena Headley, the lack in character depth for Themistocles being the main protagonist failed the film. There is more to 300 than just a income generating franchise. There should be more to it.

GRADE: C+

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Rak of Aegis


After the long hiatus, I have decided to write again. My first entry for this year is not about a film I just recently saw, rather I would like to share my experience with the play I witnessed 2 days ago. No, I haven't gone and see Wicked. I could have but my financial standing won't allow me to experience the play that everyone is raving about. Instead, I went to see one of our own.
Rak of Aegis may feel like a rip off of the play Rock of Ages. Surprisingly, the two plays are unique at their own terms. Rak of Aegis deals with the day to day lives of a community submerged in flood and desperation. The play revolves in the dreams of Aileen in becoming a worldwide sensation through the help of YouTube. She shoots and uploads a video of her singing, hoping that one day she will be discovered by Ellen and be discovered. Along with her quirky character are other personalities that revolves not only to her dreams but to her family's survival.

Kenny, who happens to be her love interest and has a complicated relationship with his mother, and a baranggay captain of their community, Mary Jane. Kill (short for kilabot ng mga chicks), is Aileen's proud father who has a not so distant past with Mary Jane. Tolits, who is the silent charmer and has secret affection to Aileen. Jewel, the queer, provides the comic relief to the play.

The plot is not trivial. It does not only entertain but provides a pinch of social awareness. The community is torn between long term and short term solutions providing the enticement of the latter. It questions how people should think. The show is great mix of songs, humor and drama. The songs were not awkwardly injected in the sequences. 

The vocal prowess of the actors are beyond expectations. I was in awe watching and listening to Isay Alvarez, who played Mary Jane and Robert Sena, who played Kill. Aicelle Santos, who played Aileen, performed very well. The showstopper of the play is Jerald Napoles, who played the charming Tolits. He sizzles every time he is on stage. With his every move and note he sings becomes an instant classic making him the crowd favorite in the entire show.

Rak of Aegis is one of the plays I enjoyed. The songs are reminiscent of my childhood years while reminding its audience of the current issues we currently face. Sadly, we saw the play in its final run. Do we hear movie reels? Well, I hope there will be, but I hope they will pull it off like the play did.

GRADE: A

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