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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

OPM now also stands for Original Pilipino Musical -- I DO BIDOO BIDOO Heto nAPO Sila Movie Review


I just arrived from the premiere night of a much anticipated Filipino movie entitled I DO BIDOO BIDOO produced by Studio 5 and Unitel Productions.  Normally, I don't (and can't) write reviews right after a premiere screening because that's just not possible, am no Superman!  :)  But I can't help but do this as soon as I arrive home because I was really in awe and hooked by this I DO  BIDOO BIDOO fever!

I DO BIDOO BIDOO is a movie musical drama comedy inspired by the songs of APO Hiking Society, a singing group composed of Jim Paredes, Danny Javier and Boboy Garrovillo, who is considered as the pillars of OPM or Original Pilipino Music for more than 4 decades already.  And with the arrival of this movie this year, OPM now also stands for Original Pilipino Musical!  At last, we now have our very own, 100% and authentic modern movie musical!  :)
I say our very own because APO's music is definitely OPM, 100% because the movie is told and shot fully in the Philippines (Emir, another impressive Filipino musical, largely showcased Middle Eastern setting) and authentic because the film really employed the musical format (and not just used songs for scoring like in The Reunion). 

A rich girl Tracy Fuentebella (Tippy Dos Santos) and a poor boy Rock Polotan (Sam Concepcion) planned to get married at a young age but after the pamamanhikan (meeting of the families before getting married), everything gets complicated resulting into a disaster of musical movie proportion.  Issues on each family's relationships and concerns were raised and the question was, will they still be able to find the music to bring them back together? 

P.O.T.G. Review

Audience Impact
Attending premiere nights of local movies has its pros and cons.  The negative side is you will constantly hear screams of fans which sometimes makes it hard for you to understand some dialogues.  The positive side on the other hand is you will hear the actual and authentic remarks of the audience and you can give an applause if you feel like doing it and no one will look at you the odd way!  Why am I saying this?  I think this is the first movie I've seen where I (together with the rest of the audience) have clapped for almost every after sequence.  It was as if we're watching a live musical! 

Concept / Story - College Life versus Wedding Blues
I've loved the music of APO ever since and as far as I know, most of their songs are derived from their youth or "barkada" life.  Even if it talks about love, that romance story revolves at around that age range.  So I somehow was hoping that the setting would be more of the lead's "barkada" life rather than within his "family".  But APO's music is a heritage so it's still good music whatever the cinematic interpretation is.  And besides, based from the movie trailer I've seen, I felt that the movie has a potential and it's really worth seeing.  And with that, I gave myself the chance to see another interpretation and dimension of APO's music  which is somehow different from what I wanted.  

And I DO BIDOO BIDOO did not fail me!  The story revolved around the ordeals of a young couple getting married.  And as you know  wedding is a big thing in Philippine culture, and I guess that's one enough reason why Chris Martinez, the film's writer and director, chose this direction of story telling because APO's music, which is largely about love, can really fit well.  And indeed, APO's music was well weaved in to the film's story and executions.  The music is fully integrated into the movie and majority of the songs are brilliantly linked to scenes.  Hearing each APO's song is just so nostalgic, it brings back wonderful memories, and it can either leave you with a smile or a small tear drop (or loud laugh because of the strong comedy flavor of the film!).  

Rich versus poor love story has always been the plot of many films but thanks to APO's music and the added flavors in the story, I DO BIDOO BIDOO was still presented in a refreshing way. 

Chris Martinez as always is a master of punchlines and its realistic comedic delivery!  And of course, with his natural rapport with Eugene Domingo, Uge (Eugene's nick name) again shined in this movie with her brand of comedy intertwined with drama.  APO's music was also well tied in with the script... the dialogues, and I really found it fascinating.  You could probably witness this best during the "Salawikain", "Batang-Bata" and "Nakapagtataka" scenes. 

Direction / Editing / Cinematography / Production Design
The musical scenes are creatively executed, from "Do Bidoo" to "Panalangin", from "Awit ng Barkada" to "Tuyo Ng Damdamin".  Chris Martinez brilliantly used APO's music to create these well crafted scenes.  Editing style is also brave and modern in some of the most important parts of the movie.   

I must say, cinematography was excellent!  Well, what can you expect with Unitel Studios around (Unitel is a leader in commercial production in the Philippines)!  For example, even if one setting is small (Polotan's kitchen), the camera was well played and maximized!  They explored different angles that for me are really feast for the eyes!  Well perhaps that's the freedom you can get from doing a musical.  It's somehow like shooting an MTV.  Watch out for scenes "Salawikain", "Pumapatak na naman ang ulan", "Blue Jeans" and "Awit ng Barkada".

And of course, the film's production design is also magnificent!  I was amazed with the Polotan family's house because while it may be small and humble, the decorations were very jazzed up and Filipino!  The OBB which showed Manila's best and most memorable spots was also nostalgic and I bet every OFW would shed a tear seeing it.  Costumes, wardrobe and make-up are colorful and elaborate, being true to its musical format.  The movie is such a visual delight. 

Casting and Acting
Well, I could say I fell in love with the film's cast!  They were all amazing in this movie but as expected, Eugene Domingo as Rosie Polotan, the mother, gave another winning performance.  Her character is serious and is not the one tasked to provide comic relief but her delivery of lines was just epic!  :D  Oh wait, there's the love scene where she provided more than just punchlines and it was the most winning  scene of all haha!  Watch out for "Di Na Natuto"!  :D More so, this movie proved that Eugene can sing (and be daring haha)!  Frenchie Dy as Lilibeth and Sweet Plantado as Vicky also caught my attention, they really rocked the house with their musicality and humor (and costumes!)  :D   

Sam Concepcion as Rock Polotan was perfect for the role while Tippy Dos Santos as Tracy Fuentebella showed a lot of promise in this movie.  With their charm, rawness and musicality, I guess many people will fall in love with them (thanks to their exposure to theater!).  Sam proved that he is more than a singer but an effective actor as well.  Ogie Alcasid as Pol Polotan is the "dark horse" in terms of acting!  He got us in the scene at the van right after the family feud, and of course, the much talked about love scene! :D  Zsazsa as Elaine Fuentebella was also brilliant especially in her scene in "Tuyo ng Damdamin".  I've always known Gary V (Nick Fuentebella) to have a pure heart so I couldn't imagine how he can be the cold dad to his kids and husband to his wife.  But i believe Gary delivered.  Neil Coleta as Brent, Rock's bestfriend, was the scene stealer of the movie and he shined in the movie although towards the last quarter of the film, I find that his acting or character has been stretched too much.  His role served its purpose at the start and the middle of the film so I guess, there was no need for too much play-up.

1. Since the story took the "wedding" route, I just wish that they could have included several scenes on Rock's and Tracy's school life because as said, APO's music largely revolved about their "barkada" life. 
2. Nick's possible "change of mind and heart" should have been planted in earlier scenes.  The "change" was just not convincing without that establishing scene/s.
3. At my age, I know the lessons of the film and its complications.  I just wish that the young folks won't find "teenage pregnancy" and "pagtatanan" romanticized in this film.  Although it's realistic of what's happening right now, I hope this won't encourage more of such. 
4. I wish they didn't change much the arrangement on Blue Jeans.  I just don't find their version interesting.  The choreography however saved that scene. 
5. The OBB (Manila scenes) was good, in fact it's very expressive and enticing to see.  I just wish that they were played up in the actual story.  Perhaps the story can have even more impact if they're shot in those spots. 

All I can say is that I'm truly proud of this movie!  And I agree with Ogie Alcasid that after watching this, you'll be proud of  being Pinoy!  I guess the reason for this is how music really takes part in the lives of people.  And as a society, our own music gives soul to our stories.  That's why this movie has a heart and everyone, every Filipino, can really relate to it.  That's the value of OPM. 

Lesson wise, love can truly move mountains.  The movie showed almost all aspects of it.  If you truly knows its meaning, and lives its ideals, it will lead you to the right direction, and ultimately to happiness not just for you but for the people around you.  

Indeed I DO BIDOO BIDOO can be considered a landmark in Philippine cinema.  As said, now we have our own!  :)  And I can't be more proud of OPM.  From a scale of 1 to 10 claps, I'm giving I DO BIDOO BIDOO a big 9 with fantastic choreography included!

From Unitel Productions and Studio 5, I DO BIDOO BIDOO opens in theaters today, August 29!

Here's the official movie trailer:

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