The long-anticipated movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, was released in theaters in Manila last Thursday (Dec. 17, 2015).
Many people, of course, trooped to theaters to watch the new Star Wars film. I didn’t go because I had already anticipated long lines and horrendous traffic in the run up to Christmas. Also, I don’t typically make any effort to watch a movie on opening day. If I get a chance to, or if someone invites me, I’ll go. If not, J and I usually watch it on the first weekend if we end up malling, or maybe on the next weekend.
TIME CONSTRAINT DUE TO MANILA FILM FEST
However, yesterday, I was watching the news and saw a segment talking about the Manila Film Fest and I suddenly remembered that it’s going to start soon and I might not be able to watch Star Wars once the Manila Film Fest starts!
So I panicked.
I googled when the Manila Film Fest was going to start – it will start Dec. 25 (Friday) and will end on Jan. 7, 2016 (Thursday). I have no idea if Star Wars: The Force Awakens will again be shown from Jan. 7 onward, but I am not taking that chance.
For those who have no idea what the Manila Film Festival is, it is an annual 2-week thing during the Christmas season where all theaters (except for 3D and IMAX) in the Philippines only show local films. If you are itching to watch a Hollywood blockbuster released during Christmas, sorry, you are out of luck. You’ll have to wait until the 2nd week of January to watch it in local theaters.
That means, I only have now until Dec. 24 to watch Star Wars!
However, I didn’t want to wait in line or go to a theater where the tickets sell out fast. I also wanted to avoid the godforsaken traffic that now plagues every major road in Metro Manila.
Luckily, J remembered that Newport Mall Cinema at Resorts World Manila have show schedules until the wee hours of the morning!
Woohoo! Movies showing at 2AM – 6AM!
I checked online, and indeed they did have early morning schedules, say, 2AM, 3AM, 4AM up to 6AM showings. Yes, it has come to this. We would rather watch a movie at 4 frickin’ AM to avoid long lines, sold out theatres and hellish traffic. Damn you, Metro Manila traffic and the incompetent people who (don’t) manage it!
I had a Christmas party Friday night, so we decided to go to Resorts World after I got home. We planned to watch the 4AM screening. We left to go to Resorts World at around 2:30 AM, figuring that we’d have time to spare before the movie started. It was 2:30 AM, we thought traffic would be non-existent! We were so wrong!
FOILED BY UNGODLY TRAFFIC
We took Quirino Ave. to go to South Superhighway (I still call it that because the new street names are a mouthful! South Super is just easier to say than Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Highway). We were stuck in Quirino Ave. for 2 hours! Then we were stuck in South Super for another hour!
Aside from the road space taken up by the Skyway construction, there were also many, many big container trucks on the road. But the real root cause of why traffic was bad was because there was no one manning traffic! There were several bottleneck areas (intersections) where traffic was knotted because drivers wanted to get their way, and this backed up traffic up to Quirino Ave. Once we got past the San Andres South Superhighway area, traffic was moving, and quite fast, too! It just shows that the traffic was caused by the poorly managed intersections and not really by the volume of vehicles. But we still opted to just use the Skyway instead to avoid any more traffic. The Skyway toll from Buendia to NAIA 3 is P20.00.
We finally arrived at Resorts World past 6am, so we even missed the last screening! Was I ever so glad that I didn’t buy our tickets online! The next screening was 10:40 AM, and we just decided to wait it out and play in the casino instead. Fortunately, we won P600 and spent it on food
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Ok, what non-spoilery thing can I say about it? I think the movie captured the feel of the original Star Wars trilogy. It really does feel like a continuation of the original Star Wars trilogy. You feel like you’re back in that movieverse. Forget all that Episode I-III, Jar Jar Binks nonsense.
There was no gratuitous use of CGI and special effects just for the sake of it. It focused on the story and on the characters. Overall, the movie is well above average, but not too good as to be mind-blowing, although it gets pretty close.
The reason it is not mind-blowing for me, is because I have some issues about some things. Things that make me go, WHY? Or HUH? Or scratch my head and go, “How does he/she suddenly … ?”. No, not THAT thing towards the end. I saw that coming. More like, people who I fully expected to be somebody in some epic reveal kind of just turned out to be random people that came out of nowhere. I AM still holding out hope that the next few movies will provide more information on the background of some new characters.
Another WHY for me is: why did they cast that guy that looks like a cross between Snape and Josh Groban? Just, WHY? He doesn’t even look like his supposed parents! I don’t know the actor since I don’t follow Star War movie news closely, but he is definitely not how I expected the character to look like.
The movie’s story also threw me off because I have browsed, but not actually read, the Star Wars expanded novels (may have spoilers) and was a bit disappointed that the movie did not base its story on the novels’ characters.
My biggest fangirl moments were the scenes where Han Solo and Princess Leia were together. The chemistry of those two! It was like watching an old, married couple who were still very much in love. Compared to that, the other love story the movie was trying to sell was just really bleh, it had so much non-chemistry it was in negative territory.
If you watch a lot of TV, you might see some familiar faces doing cameos!
Reflecting on the movie now, I feel sad because it is obvious that the original cast did this movie so that they can hand the franchise off to the next generation. It is expected – they are getting on in years and might not be around for the next movie, so they are now moving the focus to the new characters.
Overall, it was a pretty good movie, so go see it before it’s gone from theaters!
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