Monday, April 9, 2018

"I Got a Bad Feeling About This" Solo: A Star Wars Story Trailer

It isn't any secret by now that I grew up with Star Wars and was absolutely in love with it as a child. I even fell slightly in love with the trilogy that followed the original one because of its soundtrack and because I watched it at exactly the right time: in my pre-teens and my early teens, a time when a mere smile from Hayden Christensen was enough to make my teenage heart melt into a puddle of goo.

Through those younger years, though, one thought always remained with me: if I were to marry anyone in the Star Wars universe, it would definitely be Han Solo. When it was announced that they would be making a spinoff about Han's young life, I was torn. On one hand, I wanted to see more of Han on the big screen; on the other hand, I knew that no one would be able to do Harrison Ford justice... except maybe Ansel Elgort. I would take Ansel, but apparently, they weren't going that young.

In Harrison's stead is Alden Ehrenreich, a guy I know absolutely nothing about. And after watching this new two-minute trailer, I am very sad to say that I still don't want to know anything about him. Check it out:

I gotta give it to them: they tried. They tried really hard to make fans like this trailer as is evident in the copious amounts of screen time they have given the Millennium Falcon, the many Han and Chewie moments that they showed, and the familiar yet annoyingly different "I got a really good feeling about this" line. Sadly, despite the optimism in that line they changed, I don't have a really good feeling about this.

It's a shame because the cast looks absolutely superb with Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino, Emilia Clark, Woody Harrelson and Paul Bettany in it. I don't know. I don't know how to feel at this point.

Woody Harrelson's line in the trailer is very telling, though: "Assume everyone will betray you and you will never be disappointed." :p I guess I should have assumed that the moment Disney bought Star Wars, things would be different and would keep being different. Maybe I'm the one who has to accept change here.

Oh, well. At least the poster looks awesome:

Solo: A Star Wars Story is distributed by the Walt Disney Company (Philippines) and will be showing in Philippine cinemas this May 25, 2018.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Will ABS-CBN be Remaking 'The Lord of the Rings' for the Philippines?

During Holy Week 2018, ABS-CBN aired a Holy Week special presentation of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. And during this week, they also released several posts on their Facebook page asking the online world which of the Kapamilya leading ladies and leading men they would like to see take on some of the famous roles of the trilogy... "just in case there would be a remake of it in the Philippines".

And while they didn't really confirm or say that a trilogy was actually in the works, a lot of people voiced out their thoughts on the matter. Surprisingly, it was pretty evenly divided. Hardcore LotR fans like myself didn't know how to feel about it, while hardcore Kapamilya fans gamely gave out their votes on who they thought should portray each iconic character in the movies.

While it wouldn't be the first time for the Philippines to do a remake or get inspiration from a Hollywood movie (there are various Filipino movies out there that have blatantly taken the same plot - if not the entire story - from Hollywood movies), transforming something of this big of a scale would definitely be a new feat.

Here, I have compiled the polls that they posted on their wall along with what some of the Filipino counterparts of the characters might look like if they were indeed to be cast in those roles:

For Arwen Evenstar: Liza Soberano, Kathryn Bernardo or Nadine Lustre?

Liza Soberano as Arwen Evenstar:

You have to admit that Liza definitely has some Elvish looks in her. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if she one day admitted that she actually has Elvish blood in her system.

For Frodo Baggins: Nash Aguas, Jerome Ponce, McCoy de Leon or Joshua Garcia?

Joshua Garcia as Frodo Baggins:

Joshua's boyish looks would make for a good Frodo, methinks.

For Galadriel: Arci Muñoz, Angel Locsin, Anne Curtis or Pia Wurtzbach?

Angel Locsin as Galadriel:

Okay, okay. My editing here was a super fail; but it's all just for fun, so don't hate me too much. :p

While all of the leading ladies mentioned would make for great and gorgeous Elven Queens, Angel's iconic angry scene in 'The Legal Wife' against Maja Salvador gives her the top spot for me.

For Legolas Greenleaf: Daniel Padilla, James Reid or Enrique Gil?

James Reid as Legolas Greenleaf:

Fine. So I'm biased. I'm a huge James Reid fan and his signature good looks as Legolas would make me oh-so-happy... Hahaha.

Don't get me wrong, though. I'm not supporting this remake. I'm just here to show you what they would look like in the roles if they would ever be cast in one. :p Your thoughts?

Thursday, March 29, 2018

In a parallel universe, Maya Bay is okay.

Here in the Philippines, there is word that Boracay, one of the most-visited tourist islands in the country, might close for six months for some much-needed rehabilitation.

And while there is no real confirmation of this yet; it seems that other islands in Asia are going through a similar threat, one of which just happens to be one of my favorite islands: Maya Bay on Koh Phi Phi. And that's what I will be focusing on today.

A little back story: when we were about to move to Thailand, I forgot to bring a book with me on the plane and decided to buy one at one of the small bookstores at the airport. I stumbled upon Alex Garland's 'The Beach' and became so absolutely obsessed with it, I read it in German shortly after reading it in English. I promised myself I would visit 'the beach' the minute I got to Thailand. But then I never did.

So when my dad announced that we were moving to the Philippines seven years after I first read the book (I had probably read it 12 times by then), I panicked. And despite having had just given birth three months prior to our move and having had just gotten my first tattoo a week prior to the news, I packed my bags immediately to search for what I was convinced would be paradise.

Yes, it was the dawn of the Blackberrys.

Dreamcatcher accessories all around!

After a 12-hour train ride, I got on a ferry to Koh Phi Phi.

This is how empty the ferry was when I went back in May 2010. According to reports online, Koh Phi Phi now receives 200 boats and 4,000 visitors per day!

The next day, I looked for a way to get to Maya Bay, a smaller island where most of 'The Beach' was shot. Truth be told, it wasn't hard. I immediately found a little stall on the island that offered an overnight tour of Maya Bay for 2,000 baht.

I was told that while a lot of tourists went to Maya Bay during the day to take pictures, only a select few were actually able to spend the night there. I had to grab the opportunity before slots filled up. Now or never na ka. And just like Leonardo in 'The Beach', I caved without even thinking twice.

On the way to Maya Bay, we passed by Viking Caves.

It was a leisurely boat ride around Phi Phi Le to avoid the crowds.

And then there it was: my first view of the island.

I thought I was going to faint. All of a sudden, the air smelled different, my skin crawled, and all of my dreams had come true all at once. I know I wasn't that far from where I originally was, but I guess when you fall in love - whether it's with a movie, a song, a place, or a person - it's always the same: all of your senses become involved and everything suddenly feels surreal and otherworldly.

There were about 10 other boats there aside from ours and about 50 other people, but it actually didn't bother me that much. In fact, it gave off more 'The Beach' vibes. And I liked it. Hearing that hundreds of boats go now kind of changes things a bit, though. :(

To be honest, Maya Bay looked nothing like the beach in 'The Beach'. After all, the tsunami of 2004 had hit it pretty hard according to our tour guide. Plus, Hollywood planted 60 palm trees there for the movie and CGI-ed a huge boulder to make the place look more isolated.

Also, the waterfall in the movie? It's actually located in Khao Yai - ages and ages away from the actual beach - but that didn't stop me from reveling in what I considered to be paradise at the time. (I say at the time because I have been to islands here in the Philippines by now, and I must say: they trump Thai islands by miles!)

We had to walk to the beach from our boat because it was low tide, but the timing was simply impeccable because by the time we got to the beach, it was sunset time:

It was beautiful. I spent around 30 minutes just sitting there and wondering if I would ever get to do anything as fun and random and spontaneous as this ever again.

My daughter is 8 now. And the answer is no, new mommy Anj. No, you won't. :p

Most of my beach trips in Thailand were done on my own - and this one was no exception. I planned everything about this on my own and one of the perks of traveling solo is that you get to meet a ton of random people. Let me just share some of the memories that I made with complete strangers:

Steve, the guy in the middle, is a diabetic. He missed his shot and we all panicked when we were drunk looking for him. Turns out he was in the water almost passed out. :p

We also played a mean game of King's Cup. And this guy had to drink various kinds of alcohol with coffee and a chicken wing mixed into it. I will never understand the games that college me played.

There was only one 'older' guy in the group, whom we called Old Bob because there were three Bobs in our group. Every time someone went to the toilet, they had to give him a 30-second lap dance. This is our resident stripper giving the first lap dance and Old Bob enjoying it.

We were all pretty drunk after that, and it turns out one of the guys in our group knew how to handle fire, so we got a free fire show out of the night, too:

After that, the night got more magical. The plankton came out to play and we all jumped into separate areas of the ocean for proper me time. And as I stood there in the middle of nowhere with plankton glowing under my arms and legs, someone played the soundtrack of 'The Beach'. I remember crying silently out of both drunkenness and happiness, and also out of awe because I didn't know what I did to deserve to experience such beauty. It was one of those moments that I would cherish and remember for the rest of my life.

And it absolutely pains me to hear that marine biologists have found that a lot of the coral reefs around the area are now gone and that the sea life - those utterly beautiful glowing plankton, and the adorable crabs and hermit crabs we made race on the sand - has virtually disappeared. I actually feel like someone close to me is sick and about to die, and I'm powerless to stop it.

That night, I grabbed a blanket and slept on the sand by the waves. It drizzled at one point and everyone ran for cover into the caves when it started, but I remember just putting a towel on my face and waiting for it to pass. It didn't last long, but no one came back out and I had the entire beach to myself.

The next day was spent re-enacting scenes from the movie coz I'm an utter dork like that:

On Wednesday, Thailand's National Parks and Wildlife Department decided to close Maya Bay for four months starting this June with hopes of recovering its coral reefs and sea life. I really hope it works...

In a parallel universe, Maya Bay is probably okay just as how in a parallel universe, its ocean is still happily glowing with plankton at night. And how in a parallel universe, I am still feeling as infinite as I felt that night. In a parallel universe.