Category Archives: movies

A Tale as Old as Time

It is understandable that many people (majority of them girls) would love the classic film from the 90’s. I personally do, too. But to give away two IMAX tickets with a Krispy Kreme treat included as prize for a Beauty-and-the-Beast-themed essay contest is definitely out of the ordinary. This friend of mine has this passion that is amusing and inspiring at the same time. There is something with the way she deeply loved Beauty and the Beast that triggered my imagination. Maybe that’s how they say passion is contagious. So, to give due recognition of my friend’s love for the tale that’s as old as time, let me write my share of the essay — no matter how past the deadline it would be. 

If you were the beast, how are you going to change to unleash the princess in you and why? Discuss your motivation for change. 

Many times we relate with Belle — being adventurous, almost perfect, admired by all, and with some person needing our love and compassion. It is one question we ask ourselves only when we are forced to give an answer: can I possibly love someone who is beastly on the outside but tender on the inside? Often, we see ourselves as one who gives understanding, never the one who needs changing. Always the Beauty, never the Beast.

But as one of my writer friends wrote, there is a beast in every heart. Inside each of us is someone as irritating as she is irritable, self-centered, arrogant, lazy, and undeserving of love. The moment we realize this, the long-loved movie begins to take on a different perspective. So, if I were the beast, how do I break the curse and unleash the prince within me? Let me first share a few of my musings on the movie:

1. Recognize love when you see it.

The unexpected arrival of Maurice at the castle appeared as intrusion, which angered the Beast. But when Belle volunteered to be a substitute for her father out of love, the Beast recognized it. It is something unheard of in the castle for years, something both familiar and new at the same time. Something heartwarming. And he decided to welcome it home. And so, the journey to transformation began.

 
2. Let love have its way.

Having Belle in the castle changed the way things were done. Suddenly there was someone in the house with a positive vibe, and the house staff seemed to favor and imitate her disposition. The Beast had to adjust. He learned to warm up, open up, be kinder, and be considerate. He learned to look beyond his selfish needs. It felt as if the song was playing in the background, “Bittersweet and strange… Finding you can change…  Learning you were wrong…” The Beast learned to let love have its way in him, and it changed him on the inside. Maybe that is how change takes place sometimes. It must first happen on the inside

3. Let love take its place. 

After some time, Belle learned to love the castle. The staff (aka living kitchenware) were expectant that the curse would be broken. So did the Beast. But, more importantly, he was looking forward to forever with Belle. But when Belle had to attend to her father’s terrible condition, the Beast decided to send her home — even if that means letting go of the chance to break the curse, and letting go of the chance at forever. The Beast learned to let love take control of his destiny, and counted the cost for it. The same love gave way for Gaston to attack and kill him. But the same love finally broke the curse and set the stage for a love that, as fairy taletellers write, would live happily ever after. 

The moral of the story resonates with me in the sense that it highlights how love changes a person. And I think that could best answer the question of how to unleash the royalty within each person. Love makes you brave, yet kind; strong, and at the same time tender. It enables you to make the toughest decisions and offer the greatest sacrifices.

The song says, “Certain as the sun, rising in the east. Tale as old as time, Song as old as rhyme…” This love story has been around for as long as one could remember. The story of an unlovable beast receiving undeserved love and attention goes way back… to the cross. “While we were still sinners Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). Love came to save us and change us. Change happens when love takes over. What is the greatest motivation for change? Love. And the greatest love one can ever have? God’s love. “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13). If one needs changing, he should come to God. Does your situation in life needs changing? Seek God. You will find that He will not just change your situation, but He will first change you and unleash the royalty within you. 

I didn’t get to win Franny’s contest, but I did get to watch Beauty and the Beast with my siblings. Thanks, Cherry Mobile family!! ❤

Abandon

My closest of friends have a pet peeve for the mainstream. They don’t root for songs so popular they can replace the national anthem, extremely trendy fashion fads, and “crush ng bayan” guys who bask in the limelight. They are not fans of cliches and generic wordings. That is why there is this hesitation for me to blog about something that everyone used to talk about. But if it is too good to be kept secret, then it would be worthwhile to be shared, right?

Light and funny movies that are a must-watch for the whole family can be blog material too, as I find out. But really, little did I know that in a super funny zombie movie such as Train to Busan I would find realizations that will resonate in days or even months — lessons marked so true in our lives today.

Here are a few:

While Train to Busan is generally a social commentary on what it truly means to be human, it can be seen as a tribute to all men who are ready to fight for the ones they love, even if it costs them their lives. This is crucial given the status quo where women are treated as sex objects and families are left to the sole leadership of mothers. The irresponsibility of many boys who refuse to grow up as men stain the reputation of those who aim hard to be good husbands and fathers. In the words of father-to-be Sang Hwa in the movie, “Dads always get the bad rap and none of the praise.”

This insight is further emphasized when placed side by side with the story of a man who also loves, but selfishly. It is easily irritating to watch how the selfish businessman Yong Suk puts everyone else in danger because of his personal agenda. Later on in the movie the audience realizes that his end desire is to be reunited with his mother. Nevertheless, getting to your goal while putting others in jeopardy ends in destruction.

Another truth exemplified: everyone can be a hero. Father-to-be Sang Hwa, Su An’s father, Seok Woo, and the crazy stranger who lived until near the end just to save Su An and the pregnant woman Sung Gyeong from a crowd of zombies. Men from different backgrounds, each one a hero. If men would just realize. A normal student. A boy next door. A simple engineer. An “ordinary” dad, or househusband perhaps.  Just. Anyone. Can. Be. A. Hero.

One more learning that really struck me deep came hours after watching the movie, when I wondered who the real protagonists were — Suan and Sung Gyeong, or Seok Woo and San Hwa? If Suan and Sung Gyeong are the main characters, why is it that the sacrifices of both fathers resonate much longer? I heard it said that main characters are supposed to live until the end.  But maybe the best way for them to embody the theme is to die. As San Hwa hinted near the climax of the movie, “It’s all about sacrifice.”

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This truth is reflected in real life. We are who we now are because of someone else. We have what we’re having because of somebody giving way for us or helping us obtain it. It’s never a one-man team. Many times, we have what we have not because of our skills or efforts, but because someone else made a sacrifice for us. But oftentimes we act as selfish brats, claiming all of the rights and none of the responsibilities.

So while the end of the movie gave me a huge relief from a tireless attack of mad zombies, it forces me to rethink the word sacrifice. And I realize, sacrifices are oftentimes made out of necessity and not heroism. Then I think, How many people have sacrificed their time and resources for me? Who are those who have shed countless sacrifices out of love for me? And finally, how have I responded in return?

 

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“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,” — 1 Peter 2:21

Of Love and Bravery

They say a real friend can sing a song back to you when you have forgotten the words. I say, a true li’l bro can quote a movie back to you when you’ve forgotten the title. I really love the fact that I can last a day just chatting or running movie marathons with my younger brother. He is amazing like that. And more. So when he pushed me to watch Edge of Tomorrow starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, I know there would be some treasure in that movie. I could never be more right.
Here are some of the gems that I got from this movie:

1. “Try and try until you succeed” doesn’t mean doing the same thing again and again.

When Major Bill Cage (Cruise) tried to outdo the tragic end of the battle, he relived the moment more than a hundred times, with each moment working out a different tactic. He tried every single tactic combination to get through the situation and have both him and his love interest come out alive.

In life, things don’t always go as we wanted. Life is tough as it is. But we can always choose to be tougher, and persevere. Wisely.

2. You only get one life.

The problem that Cage faced was complex because it was unfamiliar. But figuring it out and planning to defeat it was easy because he can keep on repeating the scenario from the top by “dying”. He can just keep on “dying” til he gets the answer. But the moment that new blood was transfused into him and dying no longer meant restart from the top, he became more conscious of his steps and definite with his sacrifices.

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This life is the latter. It is a one-take shot with no cuts or repeat from the top. We can’t just “die” when we feel like giving up, and start all over again. One shot is all we got, and we have to make it matter. No matter how pissed off or stressed or worn out or broken we are, we need to learn to let go and move on.

3. Courage comes from knowing what you’re fighting for.

Cage was a coward, and he counted the cost of staying that way. But when he met Rita and got a deeper understanding of the global situation, his motives changed. From barely surviving, he trained and fought to defeat the powerful enemy — and save Rita the entire time. He learned to fight not just for the sake of self, but for a significant other. He did not care then about the world at first. But he cared deeply for Rita.

Rita, on the other hand, was the hero. The angel of Verdun, she endured the battles in place of her brother whom she loved dearly. She was fighting for family. She also took a vow to protect her bigger family from an extraterrestrial enemy. This bigger family is the world.

Some people find courage in defending a cause that scales multitudes of people and impacts the whole world. This is amazing. But some people draw their greatest courage when faced with a challenge that concerns one single person that matters most to them — a friend, family, or a loved one. Whatever the underlying force, the principle remains: courage is not fighting blindly without fear. It is what happens when you value something so great it overpowers whatever stands in the way.

Courage, they say, is not the absence of fear but the mastery of it. I say, courage is the proof of a powerful love winning over fear.

What makes you brave? Whom are you fighting for?

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“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

Perfectly Imperfect: Cyborg Girl

Oh, the power of foreign movies.

In the past two weeks I’ve been sleeping late because of a Japanese movie and a Korean drama series that Ate Michelle lured encouraged me to watch. The movie is Cyborg Girl by a director-writer from South Korea named Kwak Jae-yong.

The story tells of a lonely man named Jiro, celebrating his birthday alone for years because he has no family, until an almost perfect girl came from seemingly nowhere and made his 21st birthday unforgettably magical. But then she had to go. One year passed with no single trace of her. His waiting was rewarded when exactly on his 22nd birthday, she came back–with a message from the future.  She was everything to him. The beauty that left him dazzling. The perfection that made him feel everything is alright. The color that altered his boring life. The strength that rescued him from tragedy. She was everything… but real. She was a cyborg from the future. He loved her, cared for her, revealed his heart to her. But, she could not feel.

The story ended with a literal happy ever after (which I am not going to spill over here). But if you wanna know the story in detail plus the sought-after ending, you can check one good review here. You can find another review here where the movie is analyzed comparatively with the other films directed by Kwak Jae-yong.

I didn’t get the ending at one viewing so I had to re-watch it twice. After it dawned on me, I couldn’t figure out my emotions. But because I tend to over-absorb whatever movie I watch, I reflected on the movie and eventually two questions crossed my mind.

How much do we want to control time, and consequently, life?

Probably like Jiro, it’s a boring life we live today or a sad situation we do not want to be in. Maybe it’s a broken past that keeps on haunting us and affecting every day that we breathe. Or yet, maybe it is a part of the future which we couldn’t wait to know. These are the moments we wish we could control time and twist it the way we wanted.

How much are we controlled by our emotions?

Many times our decisions and actions are determined by our emotions. Be it anger, bitterness, love or any sort of emotion, it has the power to drive us, to determine our lives. Jiro lived the rest of his life building the love story he hoped would last–and it changed the course of his life forever.

This beautiful movie has a lot of implications–on philosophy, time travel, infinity, and many more. It is a launching pad for many to air their personal beliefs. But one insight I gained here is the significance of an All-knowing Being who orchestrates this universe and everything else within and without. Apart from the context of the perfect will of that All-powerful Being, everything is chaotic. Everything is a confusion. Every quest is a search for an answer, to an end which only leads to another quest for what could be.

I am just thankful. With the truth that a loving Creator wonderfully made me to live with Him towards perfection, I am at peace.

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Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you.You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me.”

Job 42:1-3