<script async src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js"></script> <!-- Showbiz Portal Bottom 1 300x250, created 10/15/10 --> <ins class="adsbygoogle" style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px" data-ad-client="ca-pub-1272644781333770" data-ad-slot="2530175011"></ins> <script> (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); </script>
Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jan 11, 2013

El Presidente Movie Review: Needs More Wit And Energy To Be Entertaining

Emilio Aguinaldo lived for 94 years from 1869 to 1964. He fought both the revolutions against Spain and America, becoming the first president of the republic at only 28 and outliving most of his successors. Even if the film “El Presidente” runs for 2 and ½ hours, it can only depict highlights of the character's very long life. A full chronology of his exploits would really be better presented in a mini-series.

We were hoping “El Presidente” will present the title character as a larger-than-life individual whose flaws give him a more rounded personality, but one can get a better grasp of his importance to our history by Googling him. The film’s view of Aguinaldo is very positive, but it’s neither penetrating nor insightful. Those who wish to get a better understanding of his life and career will be better enlightened reading history books or his own memoirs on which the film is based.

The film is often cumbersome viewing and needs more wit and energy to make it more entertaining for the average viewer. ER Estregan performs the lead role with dead seriousness but we’re afraid he never gets into the core of Aguinaldo’s persona and sometimes goes into Asiong Salonga mode. Also, he’s just too old for the role as Miong was only 28 when he became president.

Much of the large supporting cast doesn’t get any real chance to put any dimension into their characters, particularly Cristine Reyes and Nora Aunor as the first and second wives who have very limited exposure. Cristine’s role as Hilaria is almost a non-speaking one.

Production values for this big-budget historical movie are pretty good, but they’re not enough to compensate for the shortcomings of the screenplay. Again, the costumes used are once more looking so new, just like in Meily’s “Baler”, as if the tailors have just delivered them on the set. The action scenes and some movements of the characters are presented like in a contemporary action film.

What the film accomplished is distorting the image of Bonifacio as a national hero. The movie shows him as a traitor with a deadly temper who tried to sabotage Aguinaldo’s revolutionary government. The arrest and execution of Bonifacio in the film is also different from what history books say. It’s Aguinaldo’s men led by Col. Intong who did a treacherous act on Bonifacio and his brother Procopio. Aguinaldo never ordered Intong, who even mauled and tried to rape Ka Oriang, to be investigated. In the same way that he never ordered the murder of Gen. Antonio Luna to be investigated.

Towards the end, historical events were presented in a hurry, from the Pact of Biak na Bato, Phil-American War, Treaty of Paris, the Declaration of Independence, etc. The framework of the film is Aguinaldo being told by an old woman (Alicia Meyer heavily made up to look old but it all obviously looks so fake) that he’ll be involved with three women but he’ll never get to marry the third one. This woman is supposed to be the Inang Bayan and she even declares that Aguinaldo is really fated to achieve greater heights as a leader. To be honest, it sounds to us like so much crap.