El Presidente 2012 - Review

Berto and I love going to the movies but we seldom watch Filipino movies, not because any racial reasons but mainly because we are often disappointed in them. We understand that our technology is not yet the same as those in the US so we can’t expect explosions, CGI and car chase scenes to be as good, but sometimes we cringe at the stories and acting itself.

We try to give MMFF movies a chance though. We think this must be better quality movies since these are supposedly cream of the crop.

Just last week, we decided to watch ER Ejercito’s El Presidente. Berto was particularly stoked since he loves movies about history. Plus it received a grade A, so we figured it must be good. 

This is a movie about the great, the brave and sometimes seemingly superhuman Emilio Aguinaldo and it is obvious throughout the movie. He is portrayed as a very good soldier and leader, with the high respect of people, enough to overthrow Andres Bonifacio as president of the Katipunan, an organization he himself established. And he was voted as president in absentia to boot.

The whole movie, which took around 3 hours to watch, was a series of historical scenes, one after another. I am no historical expert so I took everything as is, however from the other reviews I’ve read the movie supposedly strayed from some historical truths. All throughout the movie, we got to play Spot-The-Star. This is one movie with a HUGE cast, mostly former big stars, who are not as active in showbiz anymore. 

One thing I certainly didn’t like was the way Andres Bonifacio was portrayed. Okay so I am biased, since we share the same date of birth, but still. He was shown as the bad guy, a traitor. I have to say though that Cesar Montano who now has the distinct honor of having played both Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio, acted his part wonderfully.

Things I disliked about the movie were Alicia Meyer’s make up as an old woman (she looked like a rotten corpse) and the way ER Ejercito was often shown in a blurry, highlighted way. Parang na-photoshop.  Maybe it is due to the effort to make him appear younger. Here’s a thought, next time cast a younger man!  I have nothing against the man but please, his acting was truly appalling. He was so stiff, his timing was often off, and when he did show emotions it was over the top. Hubby and joked that he must’ve had the longest stiff neck ever recorded! He was so stiff, a review said he must’ve  been copying his pose in the five peso bill! Har har! Also, scenes were shown in a weird tint, distorting colors. Sometimes people’s hairs seemed dyed brown, and skin seemed to have a bluish hue. Weird.

I laud his efforts to show this film, based on Aguinaldo’s memoirs, I do. But I don’t like the finished product. It felt rushed. I hope he had all his historical data checked. And I hoped he didn’t show other heroes in such bad light. Now many movie-going public are thinking Bonifacio is a bad guy. Tsk tsk… I hope he tried to be fitter for the role, it is his production after all. Or maybe recognize when to just let younger, fitter actors take the acting job and focus on the production itself. 

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