READY PLAYER ONE (Steven Spielberg, 2018)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Ready Player One:

1. During the olden days, my only goal in life was to be the top scorer of our family in a game of Pac-Man. I would wake up in the middle of the night while everyone slept (especially my mom who would get really cranky with the additional electricity consumption) and silently crouch over this black plastic Atari controller for hours on end while gobbling pellets and running away from ghosts named Pinky and Blinky.

Whenever we had guests or relatives come over for lunch or dinner, I would be in front of the TV screen and showing off (a better term would be pakitang-gilas) my agility and dexterity through a video game. “Yan lang ang ginagawa niyan buong araw”, my dad would proudly say while I continued to wow the crowd with the completion of every level. Weeks later, my brother would master the newest Missile Command game and that signalled the end of my Pac-Man glory days.

2. I never really considered myself as a certified gamer even if I had played a lot of games across different platforms (from the ancient Nintendo Family Computer to the current PlayStation 4). I couldn’t even learn the basic controls in Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat and my usual battle consisted of pushing every button while hoping for a special attack. Still, my insides would tingle at the mere mention of Space Invaders, Super Mario Bros., Civilization, or Final Fantasy. It was this same geeky pride plus the astounding power of nostalgia that made me enjoy this film which seemed to coast on an abundance of pop culture references (easter eggs galore!). I loudly squealed in my seat when a chocobo appeared during the ultimate battle sequence.

3. Spielberg films had always been criticized for their overt sentimentality and it was surprisingly lacking in this one. I expected myself to turn into a puddle of emotions when Wade/Parzival (a terribly bland Tye Sheridan) unlocked the third puzzle, but it just didn’t feel completely magical (I probably cried more when Charlie discovered that he won the final Golden Ticket for the Chocolate Factory). Maybe it was because the movie was already running on for far too long or that it was trying to generate last minute faux excitement, but my brain was just screaming “Just stick that freakin’ key in that effin’ hole, dammit!”.

4. I really liked how the coolest sequence in the movie was a nod to the huge disappointment of my all-time favorite author on the adaptation of one of his finest novels. The twins, Room 237 with the naked old lady, the river of blood from the elevator, and the iconic axe hacking itself on the bathroom door, stuff of a true classic. I never fully understood Stephen King’s disdain for The Shining film considering that the thought of Danny repeatedly croaking the word “Redrum” while holding a giant knife still freaked me to this day.

5. Has anyone read the book (or is a real-life Sheldon Cooper)? Kindly enlighten me on the following burning questions:

• Who was funding The Oasis? I knew James Halliday (a great Mark Rylance) was a trillionaire, but did he really have that much money to keep a game running for more than five years after his death? I was just curious because when Parzival retrieved the first key, he won 100,000 virtual coins that he used to purchase a body suit in the real world.

• Why would such a powerful man like Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) not even bother to memorize his password? It was only B055man69 and not something tough like B0$$m4n_Ph0wz_aQuoH69. Did he have a reason for scribbling down such a confidential information on a piece of paper and keeping it on his armrest other than being a MacGuffin?

• Who was Gundam and was he really that popular? (Fanboys, please don’t kill me. I seriously had no clue.)

6. More than the shoulder pads, leotards, and heavy perms, the 80’s would best be remembered because of its glorious songs, no? Nothing would beat humming along to a good old Hall & Oates song on your best days. (I would always associate Blondie’s One Way or Another with Mean Girls, though. Yup, Trang Pak made out with Coach Carr.)

7. Wouldn’t it be fun if their online personas/avatars were completely far off from their real identities? When Aech (Lena Waithe) mentioned that the real Art3mis (Olivia Cooke) could actually be an overweight old man, I really wished this were true. Wasn’t it Wade himself who said that people stayed in The Oasis because of all the things that they could be? Why didn’t we get a lot more of these people playing out their online fantasies? It could have saved us from the icky (and forced) love story as well. That part was even more horrific than the thought of virtual reality putting an end to human connections. Besides, shouldn’t reality be real?

Rating: ★★★☆☆

‪ENTENG KABISOTE 10 AND THE ABANGERS (Tony Reyes, Marlon Rivera, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Enteng Kabisote 10 and the Abangers:

1. I already wasted two hours of my life watching this movie and I figured that I wouldn’t want to waste more time writing down these notes, but then it would be a crime not to share my grueling experience and let other people suffer the same fate. So let me start with these brilliant lines that might convince you to rethink that planned family bonding to the cinema:

• Joey de Leon as Pandoy, Alalay ng Panday: “Pang-araw lang yun kaya Pang-Day. Ang pangalan ko kapag gabi, Pang-Gay.” And then he swished and sashayed down the corridor. Groan.

• Ken Chan and Bea Binene getting scared from an approaching villain: “May tatlong bibe akong nakita. Mataba, mapayat, mga bibe.” HUH?! Groan.

• Vic Sotto on Aiza Seguerra: “Akalain mo mahilig pala sa itlog ang batang yun.” Groan.

• An employee of Enteng Kabisote Robotics introducing the new Iron Man-like costume: “Eto ang bagong Kalba Kalba Kalba Kameleon.” Groan.

• Bossing to his four employees speaking in unison: “Nag-duet pa kayong apat ha!” HUH?! Groan.

2. As a huge fan of the Okay Ka, Fairy Ko TV series, I could only cry in my seat while seeing this tenth film installment mutate into the lamest Marvel wannabe. Ina Magenta had the right instincts about Enteng Kabisote after all. The ending even had the gall to hint at another sequel. Kapag natuloy ito, ako na mismo ang magsisimula ng Infinity War.

3. Infer, ang lakas maka-gwapo ng ash silver hair ni Bossing. I might try that shade soon.

4. Poor Epy Quizon was in full acting na acting mode even if his character didn’t really have much to do except be included in an embarrassing battle sequence ala Mortal Kombat set to the Tatlong Bibe Remix.

5. Most of the jokes were as outdated as Pandoy. The extended walling montage set to April Boy Regino’s Di Ko Kayang Tanggapin was just annoying. That Madam Oring line? Eek! And they still had a stale Pabebe Girls reference. Wala na talagang ibang maisip?

6. Why were Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza (in ugly heavy eyeliner! as a huge fan, I am incensed beyond belief) inserted in every Bohol scene even if their characters didn’t really serve any purpose? How many times did Bossing have to ask the perennial “Kayo na ba?” question before it started getting old? Were the filmmakers scared to shortchange AlDub Nation lest they get burned at the stakes set up in Kamuning?

7. If there was one good thing here, I only noticed a single product placement (for O+). Consider that one tiny step for mankind.

8. I couldn’t stop laughing at the drones that looked like they were purchased from CD-R King. Also, why did the team spend a lot of time assembling one drone when Oyo Boy Sotto’s character could magically reproduce the same thing pala?

9. During the climactic fight scene, laser beams were shooting out of Bossing’s groin while he furiously pumped his hips (or more appropriately, made kadyot motions).

Yes, this is really the kind of family movie that kids should be watching for Christmas.

‪Rating: ★☆☆☆☆‬