Heneral Luna the man was a masterful tactician, a fiery man, and a dedicated nationalist. Heneral Luna the movie is a masterpiece, showcasing both his fiery and more ‘mortal’ side, and is dedicated to bringing a relevant nationalist message. There is no better tribute to one of Philippine history’s most important yet most forgotten heroes.
I remember when me and my girlfriend watched Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo (the spiritual prequel of HL), her insight was that the problem with many of the previous Filipino historical films was that it was too obsessed with being ‘historically accurate’ at the expense of delivering either a relevant message to the audience, or a beautifully-made film.
She compared it to historical films in other countries which made the audience sympathize with the heroes/heroines, and ensuring that we would watch it in the first place. Films such as Braveheart, Gandhi, Les Miserables, Glory, and 300.
Now, less than a year later, it seems the film gods and goddesses have heard our wish.
I would watch, without any hesitation, any film that seeks to expose long-buried historical truths, such as the betrayals made by Emilio Aguinaldo, Manuel Buencamino, and Petro Paterno against our nation. But the quality of the actual movie makes me want to: over and over again.
The actors’ performances trigger the right reactions from the audience: Luna, the epitome of masculinity and his refusal to take any bullshit from politicians; the slimy Paterno and Buencamino with their schemes; and Aguinaldo who seems like the epitome of every double-talking trapo today. There is never a dull moment, and ‘baduy’ scenes, which bring down other local historical films, or other local films in general, are kept to a minimum.
There is so much visual detail for historical nerds, as well as casual filmgoers who love to have their breath taken away. In the category of the former is the Heneral’s model for his entire ‘War Plan’ (which combined both the trench warfare which would make the First World War infamous, as well as the guerrilla warfare being practiced by the general’s descendants today).
But really, the whole review of Heneral Luna can be summarized in two sentences: for the first time, you HAVE to see it. For the second time, you WILL WANT to see it again.
P.S Don’t leave immediately when the credits start rolling. Think Avengers.
- Picture taken from Heneral Luna official FB page