Saturday, June 15, 2013

Superman is Back! Man of Steel Review

There have been several versions of Superman in TV and film and seeing the trailers for this one, I initially feared that this movie might all be drama with much less action.

I was proven wrong. This Superman film proved to be the most action-packed. Some may say the scenes are OA but this is exactly the Superman I was looking for. Think Justice League animation fighting scenes coming to life in the big screen. Or imagine the Dragon Ball's Son Goku versus Vegeta fighting scenes except you have Superman and General Zod slugging it out. Picture the Hulk smashing his adversaries destroying buildings in the process except you have Superman doing it here. When you have Zach Snyder on board I guess this is expected.

However if in 300 and Watchmen Snyder employs slow motion closeups in his fight scenes, you have in Man of Steel the opposite. The action scenes reminds me of the Matrix except there is more destruction in this one and the speed is just crazy to make you appreciate the power, strength and speed of the characters.

The film is start-studded with Russel Crowe (as Jor-el, Superman's biological dad), Kevin Costner (as Jonathan Kent, Superman's father on Earth), Diane Lane (as Martha Kent, Superman's mother on Earth), Lawrence Fishburne (as a re-imagined Perry White) and Amy Adams (as a non-brunette Lois Lane). These actors did not disappoint with their performances. With a script, storyline and approach quite different from the previous Superman films, the film provides some heart (the human part) amidst the special effects-laden latter half of the film (the Super part) and the Nolan touch was evident.

After watching Terrence Stamp's General Zod in the previous years, I thought it will be difficult for another actor to successfully play it but Michael Shannon also nailed it.

Henry Cavill did not fail us either with his convincing portrayal. He deserved to be the modern Superman, with the right build, look and expressions.  So much so that like Christopher Reeve, I think there will be many sequels with him as Superman after this one.

I have to admit, I was waiting to hear the original Superman theme by John Williams but the film succeeded in putting up a credible new soundtrack for this one.

The film also had that Independence Day or an alien movie feel with the costumes and spaceships in it.

I don't want to give out some spoilers so I refrained from discussing the plot. All I can say is there are very clear differences in this Superman from the previous Superman films. The story is a little different. The environment is different. Lois Lane is different. Perry White is different. Even Jimmy Olsen is replaced by a Jenny. Clark Kent is also different. You may or may not like it.

As for me, I liked it. Even more than Iron Man 3. Superman and DC is back in the game. Bring on the Justice League movie I say.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Reliving the Tartanilla Experience during the Gabii sa Kabilin

About a little more than 30 years ago, if I remember correctly, the tartanillas (local horse-driven carriage) were still plying some routes passing through streets like Sanciangko. I recall riding the tartanilla going to various destinations.

Of course now the tartanillas are already few. And perhaps one gets to experience it again only in Gabii sa Kabilin.

My wife was particularly interested in experiencing the tartanilla so we really set time for it in our itinerary that night. We rode a bus to Fort San Pedro and there along with many others, lined up to wait for our turn to ride the tartanilla. Of course we took several pictures to document the experience.

Riding the tartanilla was fun! One nice thing about being in the tartanilla is you can have time chatting with the "kutsero" (carriage driver) or anyone in the tartanilla. I guess that's why you have the tagalog term "kwentong kutsero".

We learned from the kutsero that there are only 3 places in Cebu City that assembles the tartanilla. And they rent the tartanilla unit together with the horse for a certain amount per day (I think 150 pesos). The usual tartanilla fare is around 5 pesos and these days it only travels in very few routes including the Carbon area. Despite this limitation, it is nice to know that there are few people who retain tartanillas.

Regarding the horse and kutsero relationship, the kutsero feeds the horse and basically becomes its buddy so that the horse would be more comfortable only with a certain kutsero it is used to. We can tell that our kutsero takes good care of the horse. It appears to be healthy and it follows the kutsero's directions without it being whipped. Just a little pull of the ropes here and there and the horse knows what to and where to go. There was even one time that the kutsero did not do anything and the horse just went into its designated "parking" area. Amazing! The kutsero was a horse whisperer I guess.

My wife was all smiles during the short but memorable trip. We were bouncing up and down a bit inside the carriage but it's ok. That's part of what's enjoyable in this experience. Even if the carriage is made of simple wood without much decorations as a jeepney would have.

As I stepped down the tartanilla, I told myself that if I have time I would like to know more about the tartanilla by researching more about it. For now, I am just glad that even for a day, many people are able to experience the tartanilla thanks to the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Incorporated through the Gabii sa Kabilin (GSK).

From our Association of Philippine Medical Colleges Convention experience, I know many doctors would want to experience the Gabii sa Kabilin. I hope some of them were able to attend the 2013 edition and ride the tartanilla because it is definitely one of GSK's highlights.