Film Critiques

Alyas BHOY INTSIK

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We may be living in a world full of evil and become one of them, there are still some people who come into our lives which allows us to discover and let that smallest goodness in us shine through. We call them family…..even though they’re not by blood. This indie film is a heartwarming story of a big-time swindler and a young boy who is a drug dealer. Together, they unexpectedly found the missing pieces of their lives in each other. A father who regrets the loss of his son and a son who longs to have someone he can call his family.

Ever since I saw Ronwaldo Martin in Pamilyang Ordinaryo, I was already in awe of how effortless he is in playing a role of a street boy. He seems natural in it and mostly has that rawness in him which became a part of the character he portrays.

Sir Raymond Francisco, on the other hand, I could not remember if I have seen him already or maybe yes, but then I give this actor an applause for playing the lead role of this movie well. He is just excellent.

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Tatay Bhoy and Marlon. Chemistry overloaaaad. I love them! (c. BhoyIntsik FB)

I am actually not that type of indie watcher who would go for a movie if I know that one of the characters embraces an LGBT personality. The reason why I tried to give this movie a shot because I was intrigued with that feeling I had when I saw the couple photos of sir Raymond and Ronwaldo for their movie publicity. Another “lame” reason was two of my favorite actors, Mon Confiado (who plays one of the villains) and Jeric Raval (who plays as Bhoy’s friend), are parts of the cast.

Giving it a try indeed, because at the first parts of the movie, I felt contrite with the characters though I also laughed with the audience. However, as it reached its middle, I have picked up the story and started to embrace every sequence of it.  I can already feel myself loving each and every character especially Bhoy and Marlon. My heart was right and my mind is not when I saw their publicity photos. It is actually a heartwarming story of two lost souls who found a family in each other: a son and a father. Unlike what I expect that there will be a boytoy relationship between the characters, I feel like I was a part of their growing family.

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The good things about this movie is that it didn’t go through there like what I would imagine other indies would be (the most daring), instead it pictures something natural that warms the heart of the audience. It proves that in this world where most are influenced by swindling and drugs, you still have that goodness within you that even just one person could see it. No matter how bad you are you are still forgiven and being given by a chance to turn in.

Of course, the lead stars performance and their chemistry are not just the one who made a big mark on the movie. It also includes some versatile supporting cast in the likes of Mon Confiado, and others.

Independent indeed but it was able to carry out a beautiful message through its beautiful screenplay and brilliant cast ensemble under the directing of one of this industry’s master director Joel Lamangan.

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Bhoy Intsik is one of the entries of 2017 batch of Sinag Maynila.
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With versatile actor Raymond Francisco
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With good friend and movie cast Mon Confiado
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This movie marks his first indie media project. More to come! With another good friend sir Francis Sajorda.
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One Shot of I’M DRUNK I LOVE YOU

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For seven years, someone was looking at another’s back secretly. She was madly in love with him that she was willing to be his slave forever. But sometimes, being a slave for love is tiring. Few days before their graduation, she was asked by him to go to La Union. In that place, she was accompanied by a bottle of alcohol. And with several shots one evening, Carson finally took the courage to confess her seven years secret to her friend Dio, who has someone else in his life right now.

A common story of unrequited love in Philippine cinema, but the approach was different. If it would be a usual type of story telling, it would be full of flowery and hard-to-swallow words and over dramatic emotions. So unnatural invest of emotions with it. But what I’m Drunk I Love You offered its audience is the realistic approach of someone who has been in the same situation as the protagonist, Carson.

 

I am one of the few who would say, could always relate to this type of stories. However, every time I saw stories like this, I felt that it is a waste of time hearing those screaming and instead of being able to finally cope up with that feeling, you will even be more depressed.

On contrary to that, when I saw IDILY I could easily feel and see myself in the female lead. She is the type who is experiencing unrequited love, (take note: for seven long years), yet was able to laugh and bond naturally with the man she loves. She does not get obsessed with the matter of loving the person. Even when she finally have decided to profess her love to the man, she was still in her usual self – straight but emotionally driven. Even the way she was rejected and the way she accepted it, was simple yet full of emotions.

Certain points why this movie refreshingly delivered this very hard issue on love is because of the realistic and remarkable performance of Maja Salvador and Paulo Avelino individually and as a pair (I already love the chemistry of these award winning stars since Bridges of Love ). It seems that they did not just deliver their scenes because it was written on the script for them to act out, but you would really feel and see that they seem to know their characters well. They know them well enough that they deliver it loosely but with tight emotions for their audience to feel the same emotions as Dio and Carson.

I remembered in one foreign drama I saw, one of the characters ellaborated the reasons why people like drinking alcohol. Though he pointed specifically as drinking solo, he still enumerated that one reason as “Alcohol gives you courage to confess.” When I think of this movie, it remind me of the drama. That reason is really Carson. Even though she was drunk for many times for seven years,(time still handles everything), still, the courage to pour what has been bottled came out when she get drunk by alcohol.

The witty script of this movie is also one factor why this movie is easy to reflect on. As I’ve said, they did not invest over-dramatic emotions but relayed what is real. The dialogues being funny may be a part of the film’s secret charm but if you feel their dialogues, it is very painful like a dagger in your heart. Even just simple sentences like “Mahal kita. Seven years na.”, “I’m sorry.” and “Hindi mo naman kasalanan na hindi mo ako mahal” was already very painful.

That emotionally driven part of the movie can also be seen, rather heard, on their soundtracks. Instead of the expected throwing of conversations, the combination of the popular and indie OPM became the dialogue to tighter up the emotions of the characters….which is better. The ending was realistic too. The movie showed us that just because you have expeirenced one sided love and confessed, they would already reciprocate it.

Overall, this movie was fun with great performance of the lead actor, but a dagger which would really hit your feels harder with its straight, simple but relatable storytelling.

The Confession for THE ESCORT

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If you would just base your judgement of this movie upon the title or on whatever you saw on the trailer then you are wrong. This may be sensual in your thoughts but the story itself, everything it has rather, was delivered in its most creative way to make it pleasant to the eyes.

The workplace subplot of this movie revolves around escorts but the movie itself speaks that within that “dirty” industry as people would consider, you can find true love, you can find that person who can change you for the better….however, it is up to you if you will take it positively or let your pride drag you down than what you have really got out of love.

The name Yasmine in Arabic means gift from God.

This movie is a story about Yassi (Yasmine), a receptionist from an escort service agency. She takes orders but she is not on the menu. Until two men came into her life….

Derek Ramsay plays the role of XYRUZ and EX-clusive escort and manages an escort agency. He met Yassi  at a party, asked her to be one of the escorts in their company but ended up falling in love with her. I see Xyruz as Derek and vice versa, not because of the role as the title, but because of how they treat the lady.

Yassi, I tried. I tried to resist you. Ipinangako ko sa sarili ko that I’d never fall in love again. But why does it is so hard to stop myself from falling in love with you?

Derek showed himself in the movie not just as the character he is but also as an actor. Aside from the improvement that I have seen in him as a dramatic actor, I am so pleased to see that other actor side of Derek in every scene of him in the movie. I find him the type of leading man who does not just do scenes with his leading lady but also takes good care of her. During their love scene at Pandacan Cebu resort, I know the director Enzo Williams and the cinematographer helped with it, but Derek makes the biggest thing of protecting Lovi Poe in that scene just to make their sexy love scene not as daring-looking as what others would expect. Pressing his chest right into Lovi’s just proves how gentleman he is as a leading man. With it, the scene looks passionate than daring.

Yassi, when you came into my life, it was like I see the sun behind the clouds. The sun is you. You’re God’s gift to me. I love you.

Lovi Poe plays Yassi. Unlike your thoughts that she is the title, Yassi is just an innocent and charming lady receptionist of the agency. In fact, very decent and careful of her identity as a woman. When I have seen Lovi on Sana Dati, I see her as a charming actress rather than as described by her figure. That is also what I have seen in the movie. Like Derek, she also played her character very well, like no other actress can fit into it. I love the chemistry she had with both Derek Ramsay and Christopher de Leon.

Hindi na ako buo, hindi na ako malinis. Hindi na ako ang dapat piliin mo. Pero kahit anong gawin ko, hindi mawala yung pagmamahal ko sayo.

With Derek, I see Lovi as an actress who enjoys the company she has with Derek, who is obviously a gentleman to her. Whenever they are on the frame, more than the chemistry, I see teamwork to make their scene beautiful. Lovely pair! My favorite scene was when Xyruz took Yassi for a vacation in Cebu just to take a chance of getting to know each other and falling in love.

With Christopher de Leon, I see Lovi enjoying her every scene both as an actress and a fan. I can see that she is enjoying every single moment with the considered Drama King of the industry (based also on her instagram posts. so cute!). Actually, when they first worked in Beautiful Strangers, I saw some sparks between them and hoped that they would be together in one project again with a love line and this happened.

Lahat ba talaga ng bagay kailangang ipaliwanag? Ang pagmamahal ay biglang dumarating yan na hindi inaasahan. Mahal kita, Yassi.

If I saw teamwork with Derek, I saw her  sparks with sir Boyet, given the age difference, that the team up was my cup of tea and the veteran actor is really superb in his role. My favorite scene of them was all, because Gary was like a puppy with Yassi, but the most memorable is the Option 2 scene (The Girl in Red finally happened! Hehehehe). It was so simple yet you can feel the energy and emotions surrounding them, without minding what the scene is all about. A stunning Lovi Poe in a room with still a dashing Mr. Christopher de Leon staring at her with caress and kiss was just enough to sweep off my feet. With the help of the camera, all those close ups and creative shots, I loved that moment. It was painful, intense, romantic and bold.

You know, you’re really a special woman. You take care of everything around you. It’s because you have a big heart. You are a gift from God.

Christopher de Leon plays a rich widow business man, Gary, who is captivated by Yassi’s sweet charm and outlook in life. In fact, he fell in love with her and she changed him for the better without him knowing it. It was actually his pride which triggered him to place options on Yassi as exchange of saving Xyruz’s life.

Do you really love him? I will give you choice.  Number one, magiging akin ka. Pakakasalan mo ako. Number two, you will make love with me. And my third and final option, once he is okay, I want to see you two make love right in front of me. Wag kayong mag-alala. Hindi ninyo ako makikita, pero kayo, mapapanood ko.
Pick now, the clock is ticking.

He was rejected and in pain and he thought that the second option was enough to save it, when he still hoped that the girl would pick the first option.

There is no question as how great Christopher de Leon played his role, because in this industry, he is tagged as the Drama King, and with no questions also, even from before, he made great chemistry with his leading ladies from different ages and did excellently in all his roles.

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My favorite Option 2 scene. Sacrifice versus Pride: indeed, love cannot be bought by no amount of money.

Ang sakit. I didn’t get the girl. After that night, the way she looked at me, rather, the way she didn’t look at me, I told myself that this woman is not worth pursuing for. Bakit ko hahabulin ang isang bagay na alam kong matatalo rin ako?……but then I got what I wanted. Ako pa rin ang lamang or in my own terms, ako pa rin ang panalo.

I feel sincere kilig when he was chasing after Yassi and falling for her charms bit by bit and pitied him over series of rejections but hated him for his pride yet understood that it was because he is testing Yassi who picked Xyruz over him. Saying that he won was a mask. Option 1 was what he really wanted.

I was so satisfied with the whole movie. It is indeed a no ordinary love story revolving love, pride, options and money. To the question if love can be bought, the movie answered it clearly. It cannot be bought – looking into that decision Yassi made to save Xyrus. As for Gary, his pride just ate him.

Option two. Ako lang. One night. Hindi na mauulit. Katawan lang, walang puso.

I enjoyed watching the interactions of the three main characters and the dialogues they spoke. I laughed, I felt kilig, my heart got broken and I went out the cinema with the totally human-wrecked feeling. That feeling I experienced when I saw this Korean Drama which I considered “destroyed my morality”, but The Escort did not, just pure unexplained feels.

I commend the screenwriter for such a good script. It was hard to put a different emotion from what people expect but they did it. The theme for some was too mature but MTRCB gave it Rated-13, no cuts, because the way it was showed was so decent and creative. It did answered the question on what they wanted to tell their audience. Aside from the brilliant acting of the lead cast and some supporting characters like Dimples Romana, Jean Garcia and Romell Padilla, I salute the efforts of the people behind this movie, such as the cinematographer and the director Enzo Williams, for doing an intelligent moves in every scene just to make sure it  will look decent in the eyes of their audience. Well, they never failed, because for me, as a fan of movies, is proud that now, they have this tactics of not being too demonstrative and showy, rather be creative and poetic in narrating what this movie wants to say from dialogues to camera shots.

Aside from the brilliant take of my favorite Option 2 scene  and the love scene of Xyruz and Yassi,  I would like to commend them for using great shots of close ups to capture emotions deeply and in showing the picturesque of Pandacan Resort in Cebu. It was so beautiful that now it is like one of the places I wanna visit. See? More than just the movie, they also showed the audience a great view of our country. As for the theme song, No Ordinary Love and Lovi Poe’s interpretation, that was another plus point to my feels. It suits the movie so much, because even the story itself is no ordinary.

I would not say that this movie is perfect, rather, I would say that this movie gave me the feels and expectations beyond than what I had from the trailer (….ehh rather from the announcement of the cast), because they offered me more than what I expected. Still, The Escort is one of my most favorite movies of all time, because despite it’s mature theme, the scenes, dialogues, actors and the cinematography are so good to be true showing its beautiful picture.

As a movie fan, I hope to see more films like these in the future. The type which does not just focus on simple things but goes beyond it decently, not just by story but also by casting. How surprising that aside from what Derek and Lovi has offered, the May-December affair like of sir Christopher and Lovi is now being shown in our local scene, which I thought would just exist in my Korean Series.

Define THE THIRD PARTY

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IMPRESSIONS

Via title “THE THIRD PARTY”:  Another affair drama. Okay let’s bring it on because love triangles involving two guys and one woman is my cup of tea…and nothing’s worst but best than La Dolce Vita (24-episode KDrama) when it comes to that genre.

Via theme “LGBT”: Whaaaat?? Okay I will still watch it, for Angel Locsin.

After watching the film: *speechless* Oh… so that’s it. *panics* I want to watch it again! Wait… I ship Christian and Andi…why??!!

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ANSWERS:

I did not expect the scenes and the screenplay. I know Sam Milby and Zanjoe Marudo are gay lovers and Angel Locsin is Sam’s ex-girlfriend. These three getting entangled with each other, but the screenplay surprised me. Whoever wrote that, I cannot say you perfectly did it but decently, I did not feel any LGBT theme on the movie. What I saw was friendship, parenthood, okay and then two guys who loves each other and a girl. But the scenes…how did they manage to make it so adorable yet touching for that sensible theme.

The lesson of the story is one thing: ACCEPTANCE, divided into two: parenthood and one’s identity. It is not just Love Wins for me, but also FRIENDSHIP WINS. It was clearly shown and delivered by three good actors of our generation. But really, still, what are those scenes which keep on playing in my head and pushes me to watch all over again. So cute. Hindi siya malaswa at walang malisya…and to tell you, the actors delivered their characters well.

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Angel Locsin is Andi….action-drama queen, yes, I know that. I grew up watching her in Mulawin and up to now. But wow, who can imagine she is so damn good in romantic comedy. She is not trying hard. Is she herself or the character? I do not know… I just love watching her.

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Sam Milby plays bisexual Max. He is attracted to Andi but loves Christian. I know Sam is also a versatile actor. He is one of my seasoned favorite actor. I actually want to see him play more villain roles (remember Huwag Ka Lang Mawawala? ) But with this one, I do not know why but it seems that I am not convinced by his performance as bisexual. 

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Zanjoe Marudo is Christian, the gay. Honestly, I am a closet fan of this actor. During Lovers in Paris remake, he was the only one who gave justice to the original characters. A model turned versatile actor. It is not a mistake admiring him after watching The Third Party. No definite words could define how suave and brilliant he is when he delivered the character. Through that performance, I did not mind if he is gay or straight: I fell for his character. 

I define chemistry as not tested through physical contacts, but on the heart of the actors’ characters only its audience can see.

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For Christian and Max, as what I have said, I am not a fan of any LGBT movies except this one. I kind of enjoy their chemistry, but did not feel like it is kilig overload. I admit, when I first saw the movie (coz I watched it twice), I feel kilig over their physical contacts but it fades in an instant. It is like, ahh okay. Another reason is also because I am not convinced of Sam Milby’s performance as bisexual (judging from Zanjoe’s effort and others I saw like Joem Bascon, Mon Confiado or Dennis Trillo).

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For Max and Andi…I just feel a simple kilig like missing one’s friend you have not seen for so long. They look good too, but Zanjoe’s Christian stole the spotlight…what to do.

Chemistry? “Whooaaaa”….that scream is for Andi and Christian. It was unexpected like magic. Let us say he was concerned of Andi because of the baby, but can’t you see how he takes care of her. Ideal “gay” husband.

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Their scenes are so cute that it made me kilig when it  was supposedly simple. They were so sincere in it and I love watching it. SPOILER! (Sorry for sharing this)~The bed scene…he pulled her towards his bed and hugged her tightly when Andi is about to go out of his room after assisting this drunk gay. When Max entered, my eyes grew in anger. Kidding!  

I love the movie overall. No one and nothing is a waste. I would love to watch it all over again (waiting for the VCD!) I love the chemistry of these three. Just flawless when they are in one frame.

Just as flawless as how they planned to play the theme song of this movie towards the near end while some movies seem stuck to it than focusing on the scenes. It is not the lines which made me love the movie, it is the scenes…which what and how a movie should be. That’s how I got The Third Party effect.

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Because of this movie, I also found my new favorite leading man of Angel Locsin, in the presence of Zanjoe Marudo so I bought the VCD of their first movie.

The effect of the movie is still within me, not just because of Angel and Zanjoe but of every simple, complex or whatever it is heart pounding unexpected, scenes, dialogues, story and chemistry of the stars.

THE THIRD WHEEL……IS ANDI….BECAUSE SHE IS THE NAKED EYE OF MAX AND CHRISTIAN……AND IS FRIENDLY LOVED BY A GAY AND A BISEXUAL. How to be her?

The EDSA of Today

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When I saw the film, it reminds me of Iisa, because the way it was delivered was like of a documentary, when actually it is a story. Different characters but their lives are tangled one by one. Less dialogues, more on action and beautiful cinematography.

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I was in awe when I saw EDSA, The Movie at the movie house. I am so amazed with how beautiful the director and the cinematographer captured every smallest details of the avenue. I have not seen a film which captured a street scene as colorful as what EDSA has~ a mise-en-scene that the life revolving the avenue is colorful, not dark.

This movie has four set of stories: in the bus, on the streets, in the taxi and on the MRT. The only common thing with these four is that it happened along EDSA, one of the major high ways in the Philippines. There are four different stories, but I never got confused if what happened before or after the other enters. The sequence was so flawless.

Another thing which I also like about this film is that they captured the four plots majorly reality related. The situations and the way they responded to it. Trust me, I learned something after watching the film and I would really apply it. The magic of putting reality into something that would not bore the audience is being able to adapt the same attitude we Filipinos have, hospitality and humor.

Indeed our country is too small. A lot of things may happen, and people are interconnected with each other in the most unexpected way. That was shown in the film. This movie has fewer dialogues, because the story was mainly delivered through actions and cinematography….one of its greatest factor. The picture of the film is clearly not on its dialogue alone, but on every element it has.

A part of those elements are the actors. Best cast ensemble indeed. They did not do any overly dramatic scenes or love lines. It seems that they do not act, but really breathe on the lives of every characters appointed to them like it is really them. Hint though, my favorite characters here in this movie are the nurse, the businessman, the MRT boy and the taxi driver. They are all the people we usually misjudge.

Quoted from the movie, Allen Dizon defined it as, “Di lahat ng mga tao sa Maynila ay masasamang tao.” While saying this, the characters also looked back on what happened during EDSA Revolution and related it to reality. EDSA is not bad at all; there are beautiful things in it which we people should discover on our own.

The only thing I do not like about this movie is solely the crap crab thing….which they might see as a bonus, but for me is a major trash. Overall, I can say that this movie is one of the best indie films I ever saw. Lovely picture of what really is and in EDSA avenue; a detailed picture of the people and the location itself.

 

 

 

The Real RINGGO: THE DOGSHOOTER

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This is not about the job, but this story started with a job. A strange job called dog-shooters, wherein the people are finding dog mates for the female dogs in order to reproduce. This is the job of Ringgo, without his knowledge it became a way for him to cure his painful childhood.

He was abused since young. He got his job as means to earn money to provide for the person who took care of him. Until one day, his path cross with Bong, a lesbian dog owner, who has a dog named I’nca, which encountered the same experience as Ringgo…of course, dog’s life.

If you would read, you may say that I have told you the whole film…but I did not. It is only a portion of it. Unfortunately, this very obvious supposed beautiful plot of the film was destroyed because of unnecessary plots (specifically Bong and her lover’s affairs), which for me, does not have any connection with Ringgo’s life even of the dog. Anyhow, it was able to show shortly the special connection between a dog and us human being.

Aside from the dog-human friendship, I also commend the performance of indie actor Sandino Martin, for excellently playing the role of Ringgo and respected actress Janice de Belen who helped and matched him by her own skills as she plays Bong.

 

The Real Mission of BLUE BUSTAMANTE

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When we were young, one of the things we are fond of watching were shows which has robots. Both girls and boys always pick their favorite ranger robot by colors of pink, yellow, red, green, blue or whatever color exists. As we grew up, curiosity if who were the person behind those robots or are they machines came to our then innocent minds. Sometimes, we wonder if they could take off their masks for us to see their real faces.

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One Sunday, my friends and I happened to watch this independent film entitled, Blue Bustamante. It tackles the life of a man who lives by the identity of Blue Force, one of the colors in the live-action Japanese drama, Force Five (similar to the ranger shows when we were young). There, I discovered the real mission of those people behind the robots and the masks. It is not to save the universe like their characters, but to provide something for their family and to make every fan of the show happy.

The obvious mission of Blue Force is to be able to fight the bad aliens in front of the camera. While wearing his costume and with the use of his high kicks and punches, this robot will deliver his character towards his audience. At first, this job may sound funny for some. But what we didn’t know, their characters might be strong to fight aliens but the real them is weak inside, missing their family who are far from them.  Another thing, they may be ordinary robots, but to some children who love shows like these, they are their heroes.

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The person behind Blue Force is George Bustamante, a father who works abroad to earn money for his family. Though he frequently communicates with his wife and sends stuff to his son, the child’s feelings to him are far from how a father-son relationship should be. That was until George found out that his son was a fan of the show he was a part of. At first, he keeps it as a secret because he was ashamed of the type of work he has. However, when he found out that his son was a fan of the show especially of his character Blue Force, he feels proud of it and wanted to do his best in playing the character. For his son, he is like Blue Force, a hero. For the first time, his his son felt proud the same his father as Blue Force is the one who saves the earth and sooner the galaxy and his personal hero.

As what their tagline  of the movie says, “This is not war for planet earth.” The real mission of Blue Bustamante is not to fight the aliens on earth but to make sure that he will be able to make his son happy and proud of him as he plays his favorite show character, Blue Force. Through that robot, he is considered by his son a hero.

(Photo used are credits to Blue Bustamante Official Page. )