I wanted to watch Underworld: Evolution while I was in Manila. I never got the chance. So this afternoon, when I arrived in Dumaguete, I watched Exodus instead.
Yes, yes, this is going to be another of those Filipino-movies-suck rants but what makes it different is that I actually went to a theater and paid to watch it. I have the right to rant.
From the get-go, I was already snickering. Apparently, they wanted to kick things off with a big battle. You know, beleaguered humans versus the mystical Forces of Darkness(TM). The dark horde, riding a dark tide, was actually passable. But the humans? They looked like a ragtag band of extras. They had some makeshift armor and all, but underneath it, their clothes looked like they came from the local ukay-ukay. I mean, one guy had his shirt on inside out and you could see the manufacturer's tag sticking out.
I would have been willing to let the whole thing pass. We don't have big Hollywood budgets, after all. But once I got to the story....
Well, there was no story.
Okay, there was, but very little. Here it is:
Exodus is a Mysterious Warrior(TM) hired by the humans to fight off the Forces of Darkness(TM). There's a big battle (see above) and...we don't really know who wins or loses. The humans are shown in retreat in the next scene, but the Forces of Darkness(TM) are also worried about this Mysterious Warrior(TM).
The humans decide that the only way to beat the Forces of Darkness(TM) is to send Mysterious Warrior(TM) to capture Four Mystical Beings Representing the Elements of Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water(TM). Mysterious Warrior(TM) says "I am not your champion" but in the next scene he is going after the FMBREEWFW(TM).
See? What little story there is isn't very original. Again, I would let that pass. After all, scriptwriters are paid peanuts in this country. And you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. But...but...but...the scenes just don't make sense!
I mean, how can you botch a cliche?!!
What makes the whole thing much, much worse is that Mysterious Warrior(TM) captures FMBREEWFW(TM) without even breaking a sweat. He fights each one briefly, but captures them just like that. There's nothing to show how clever he is, nothing to show that he discovers anything within himself. Heck, there's not even any witty repartee! And they all follow him meekly, except with the water fairy Romantic Interest(TM) who then proceeds to give him some of the usual Filipina sass.
I really wanted to like this movie. I even paid to see it. And there were some genuinely good character concepts going for it: the creepy king of the Forces of Darkness(TM) in his doll-like masks, the equally creepy three-as-one leader of the humans, and the tarot reader with the floating cards. The Tagalog voice-overs, pure and unadulterated, just flowed beautifully, showing that it can be the language of fantasy.
But darn it! If I'm not even getting a passable story, it just ain't worth watching.
If I had paid a hundred bucks for the ticket in Manila, I might have borne through it just to get my money's worth. Luckily, I paid only P35 (they raised prices recently), so I had the satisfaction of walking out of the theater in mid-movie.
Yes, ladies and gents, I made my exodus from Exodus. That was sooooo satisfying.
Should I have asked for my money back? H'wag na! Bigay ko na lang. Mukhang mas kailangan nila yung treinta'y singko kaysa sa akin. Pwe!