What makes a great movie?

by Nickie Wang

Six months from now, a swarm of locally-produced movies will be exhibited at multiplexes for the annual Metro Manila Film Festival–Philippines.

On June 17, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority or MMDA, the same government agency tasked to manage solid waste disposal, flood control and sewerage, and transport and traffic in Metro Manila, announced the eight official entries to the 37th edition of MMFF. 

Included in this year’s list are movies starring MMFF regulars Vic Sotto and AiAi delas Alas (for Star Cinema, M-Zet Films and APT Entertainment co-production Enteng ng Ina Mo), and Bong Revilla (GMA Films and Imus Productions’ Panday 2). And of course, the annual film festival will not be complete without Regal Films’ Shake Rattle & Roll, which is now on its 13th installment.

Other entries that made the final cut in this year’s festival are: Regal Films and SMDC’s Hototay (featuring John Lapus, Ruffa Gutierrez, Andi Eigenmann, Lovi Poe, and Melai Cantiveros); RP Productions’ Mr. Wong (top-billed by Robin Padilla and Angelica Panganiban); OctoArts Films’ My Househusband (starring Ryan Agoncillo and Judy Ann Santos);  MJM Productions’ Segunda Mano (starring Kris Aquino, Dingdong Dantes and Angelica Panganiban); and Studio 5’s Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (with Dennis Trillo, Heart Evangelista, Carla Abellana, and Ritz Azul as the main cast).

Every year, they are almost the same names that we see on the big screen, giving moviegoers a dose of local movies for the entire last week of the year. Expectedly, MMFF regulars are the same people that would go up and down the stage to give acceptance speeches on the festival’s awards night. Similarly, their films are also likely to dominate the box-office.

In its 37 years in existence, has MMFF raised the bar of Philippine filmmaking? Or can we consider the films included in the annual event great movies?

To qualify a production as a great movie is subjective. Different people coming from different social background can have different views on what makes a great film. In the point of view of an average reasonable person, a great movie must be entertaining to begin with. It must have the capacity to affect our emotions and most importantly it must have a good story plot. Visually arousing scenes and special effects work for a certain kind of genre let say for example in fantasy and action but every film must cast good and intelligent actors who will essay roles that the viewers can relate to.

These are just simple parameters on how to consider a great film but let’s admit we can only count those movies that qualify as good ones. Forget about technology in filmmaking, it’s an alien territory to local filmmakers. In fact, we are far behind our neighboring countries, much even behind Hollywood or even Bollywood.

In the eyes of movie producers and executives in production houses, what they produce are of good quality. Well, it’s either they are in denial or underestimating local moviegoers. Worse, they have really dubious taste in movies.

Darna to fly again 

When ABS CBN didn’t have Darna or Dyesebel, it had Krystala and Marina. A seemingly knock off tales of the famous Mars Ravelo comics. But they were original productions and it gave us the idea that the station’s writers and creative team are diligent enough to do their job.

Nowadays, it’s the other way around. Their neurons and creative juices have all been dried up that’s why they just settle to do remakes, let say for example, Mara Clara and Mula Sa Puso. Nonetheless, they are good shows. They won’t do well in the ratings game if they are not.

There are speculations that ABS CBN will soon remake Mars Ravelo classics Darna and Dyesebel. The network has just recently acquired the franchise of 13 Ravelo titles including the two aforementioned popular fantasy tales that feature the Pinoy version of Wonder Woman and a mythical mermaid.

As early as now, loyal fans of the network are considering Angel Locsin and Anne Curtis to breathe life to the title roles. Angel made history when she portrayed Darna in 2005. The series, which aired on GMA-7 in 2005 and starred Angel herself made ratings history when its pilot episode registered 47.1 percent ratings, according to ABG and AC Neilsen survey. Meanwhile, the former Dyosa star has been vocal that she wants to portray a mermaid role either on television or in movies.

Kapamilya network has a pool of talented actors so it won’t be hard for them to handpick new talents for the roles, just in case. It has been successful in introducing virtually unfamiliar names to star in its big soaps and series. But then again if Angel would star in the another Darna remake, that will spark controversy, which of course, everybody likes.

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