September 8, 2011
The movie, Thelma, is in a very difficult position of being released in cinemas nationwide after the other highly successful Filipino movies such as “Ang Babae sa Septic Tank,” and “Zombadings.” In fact, I initially wanted to watch this movie last Wednesday night, but being totally unsure if what I’d get is a “grainy, shaky indie movie” or a “lovey-dovey Star Cinema production,” I decided to have a massage instead rather than risk losing my top off and turn into something worse what is already one of those rare days where anyone and anything seemed to tick me off.
However, after searching more information on-line about the movie, I later found out that the great Elma Muros is in it. My heart skipped a bit because around same time last year, I got hooked into watching Ultimate Pinoy Celebrity Survivor and Elma Muros was just my bet to reign supreme. Sadly though, she got voted off the island by a bunch of conniving, uhm, survivors. However, as what one Twitter follower friend informed me about, “NO!! Thelma is not about Elma Muros.”
But the thing is, it might as well be.
The official trailer boasts of the movie being inspired by true events. Now, if you’ve seen Pinoy Celebrity Survivor around September last year, you’d really think Thelma is Elma Muros in real life. I might be wrong, but I believe coincidences are merely real similarities that are skewed just a little bit to appear as if it were just that: coincidences.
Anyhoo, before I go into verbal diarrhea and bore you with my thoughts, I would like to say that Thelma is quite a work of art. Thelma is a great movie in all aspects, and whether or not it is Filipino or from Hollywood, the casting, acting, settings, editing, cinematography, even the attempts on special and visual effects are commendable. Unfortunately, I’m still not sold with the music from Rivermaya entitled “Nowhere to Run” although it might grow on me soon enough.
Let’s start first with the opening credits of the movie. As like what most people who ever saw a local flick, the opening credits, with the exception of Marilou Diaz Abaya’s Jose Rizal, always fails to heighten the senses with the first few minutes into the film. Local movie producers do not seem to understand why James Bond films always have those iconic sequences which might be tiresome for some but still pushes for the formula that has made the world’s dashing debonaire an all-time legend. Having said that, it is by far one of the best opening credits I have ever seen: very minimalistic yet highly soothing to the eyes. Make people like me feel like really going for that 21K this coming 2011 CamSur Marathon as well. Hehehe.
Although I was initially dismayed by the crowd control on the first few minutes of the movie, I’d like to dwell on the casting and acting strengths of the movie afterwards as a pair. After all, the acting in it would not be as great if the right actors were not chosen to play the roles. Maja Salvador really embodied who Thelma is as a character not only in the running bit per se, but also with how she reflected the innate stubbornness, laziness, and the quick aspirational twist, which makes this film truly motivational. Tetchie Agbayani as “Floring” and John Arcilla as “Aldo” were also very notable as well as Eliza Pineda (Hannah, Thelma’s sister,) and Sue Prado (Marie.) I only have some reservations about Jason Abalos because to be honest, I don’t think he was really the “Sammy” the movie required. Kudos though to Manel Sevidal (Cynthia,) RJ Salvador (Carl), that Philippine Cyclone runner, and “Mr. Amag,” who, alvet flaying viry minur roles, wir viry realistic por mi.
In addition, the cinematography was also very great as it showed Ilocos in all of its rustic glory. I loved the way they played the elements of the sky, the hut, the windmills, plus the beaches, and also when the main character, Thelma, finally reached the urban skyline. As for the visual and special effects, although I could notice some distortions, it does not affect the already uplifting mood of the movie. Finally, I would like to commend the editing of Thelma. Although I’m pretty sure some people would think its almost non-linear ADHD storytelling is reminiscent to Speed Racer, I actually enjoyed it because in movies with plots like this one, it pays to remember the heartaches, pains, and inspirations, that drives the human spirit to succeed.
I also would like to mention the timeliness of this movie with respect to the controversies surrounding the Philippine Dragonboat Federation. Even without proper funding, the Philippine paddlers brought home the glory for our country with 5 golds and 1 silver coming from the World Championships at Tampa Bay, Florida. It takes a lot of resilience and character to go for the gold even when no reward or, more importantly, support seems to be in sight. But I guess, virtue is its own reward.
Personally, I would have wanted to share why this movie touched me so much on top of the fact that I’ve been running for around a decade now. But regardless on how we reflect on this movie is quite literal or figurative, identical or different, Thelma is indeed one movie that all of us Filipinos should not pass up. “Ang Babae sa Septic Tank” and “Zombadings,” although both have social undertones at the very end, are just basically undeniably comedy flicks for a whole bunch of moviegoers. Thelma, if ever this becomes a hit, is a clear indication that the Filipino market for the cinema industry has fnallly matured. We all keep on clamoring for quality movies. We’re given one.
Let’s all support Thelma and let’s all support the Filipino athletes!
UPDATED 09/11/2011: Oh, wow! No wonder my Thelma post spiked into thousands for this day. I feel like I’m a real movie critic. Lolz.
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