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MOVIE REVIEW: Felix Manalo (2015)

Felix Manalo 00

FELIX MANALO (2015) Review
Directed by Joel Lamangan, dgpi

Grand production and a captivating performance from Dennis Trillo might be the best reason to see ‘Felix Manalo’ as the story seems quite sure it has enough juice but it really lacks depth from its titular character. Its narrative feels superficial as it did not make Felix Manalo flawed, replacing what could have been a compelling story to what the surface sees him as the founder of INC. There are interesting storylines for Manalo, but it jumps to how he built the said religion, not knowing him intimately enough to understand his actions and beliefs.

Supporting characters also felt monotonous, going with the flow without any real personality to provide the story. Prosthetics are done inattentively, editing felt rushed and the VFX looks deficient. It may be hard to evaluate the film as the first cut is 6 hours long and the final cut is 2 hours and 55 minutes, but it felt really plain. Having too many characters and actors allot more than enough time the film needed to build unnecessary sequences rather than diving deeper to Manalo’s mental and emotional journey.

7 Felix Manalo

Our rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

2.5 Stars

Felix Manalo opens October 7 in Philippine cinemas nationwide from Viva Films. Rated PG by the MTRCB.

41 thoughts on “MOVIE REVIEW: Felix Manalo (2015) Leave a comment

  1. I can sense that there is a strong prejudice on this review before Mr Tabares watched the movie. Nice try but not impressive. The explanation is not satisfactory. It is too vague and general without giving more details on the words usage he meant such as ” monotonous”, “superficial”, and ” plain”. They way how the writer wrote the review is like leading someone to crouch in the dark with a single stick of match to light the whole room. I feel that the review is poorly done. Sorry to say….

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    • We don’t give out too much information as we may spoil the movie viewing of those planning to see the film. Thank you for reading our review.

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      • Nazamel, I reviewed your movie review. Its BASELESS. I just wasted my time.

        Ooops. Dont get me wrong. This is also my personal view of what i read about your movie review. So if you want to know why I said your movie review is baseless, point your facts about your movie review. And please be specific. Include your reasons of HOW’S and not just WHY’S.

        Thank you.

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      • Writing reviews without spoilers makes people have more interest to watch the film. If you think that the review is baseless, that’s for you to say. And again, try reading reviews from other websites even the ones included in Rotten Tomatoes. I can defend everything I wrote in the review, every detail of it. It will just make it sound so bad. The review is hardly baseless, it’s brief because it’s my reaction of the FILM. No more, no less. Believe what you want to believe, think what you want to think but those are my thoughts. I’ll be happy to read your review if you wrote one and won’t say that what you thought of the movie is wrong because those are your thoughts.

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      • “but it jumps to how he built the said religion, not knowing him intimately enough…”- Tabarez

        First, you should know the meaning of BIOGRAPHY and AUTOBIOGRAPHY. As far as I know (Im a former member of INC, FYI), there is no written autobiography of Felix Manalo. That means there is only the BIOGRAPHY WRITTEN BY OTHER PERSON/S. Still, there are two types of biography, one which were written by people when the person is still alive (please tell me if Im wrong about this, I haven’t finished any courses in college). The other one is written when the person is ALREADY DEAD.

        The person referring to a movie was already dead for so many decades now. Since the movie was not taken from an AUTOBIOGRAPHY, it was based on the persons who witnessed the life of Felix. His beliefs that until now members of the church believes. The movie wanted to be truthful to its form that is why they based the movie on FACTS. Please dont tell me you are expecting to see him in the movie telling his thoughts alone about something TO KNOW HIM INTIMATELY ENOUGH.

        WHERE ARE YOUR FRIENDS, ANYWAY?

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      • They are busy trying to answer the same sentiments you are addressing. Do read my reply on your other post, I have the same answer to this one.

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      • One more thing, do you know why Dennis Trillo had a hard time portraying Felix? Because there are no videos, just an audio of him preaching and not his autobiography.

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      • Yes, we know that. He told us at the press conference. Wait, I commended Dennis’ portrayal in the review.

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      • “rather than diving deeper to Manalo’s mental and emotional journey.” -Tabares

        Like I said, the movie was based on people who witnessed him alive and wrote about him. If those in the movie were the only thing they knew and witnessed about Felix, do you want the director to add something which are NOT based on facts?

        I agree with you on the prosthetic thing though. Nothing more. Nothing less.

        Please tell me your thoughts.

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      • I’m writing from a film critic’s perspective. Edwil Zabala also said in the press conference that he let Lamangan do what he needs to do so the film wouldn’t suffer from bad storytelling and so on. So, whether the story was based from those who witnessed Manalo is irrelevant. The film whether it is a biopic has to have better characterization. Everyone involved in the film should know better than that. I didn’t say the film was bad, I was pointing out my disappointment because for me they did not do justice with Manalo’s character and the film’s extravagant production.

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    • Am I wrong? I guess you missed my point. There is no point to discuss it being extravagant since it was well budgeted. What Im pointing out is you wanted to see more from the movie about Felix Manalo, since it is titled Felix Manalo. And it should be (not all, maybe) about Felix Manalo’s mental and emotional state during his lifetime, and of course, his founding of INC. But the materials laid on the movie are these. All facts. Nothing more but only these, since they wanted all of it about FACTS. What if the director add something material but was not on the script just to make it more than Felix Manalo the members have known? They’ll probably say ‘That’s not Felix I’ve known.’

      Have you watched a hollywood true to life stories? Of course you have. I remember the movie Csptain Phillips. Yes the movie moved me from my seat. Its great, for me. But some of the crew members of that ship told that’s not what happened. So the witnessess during Felix’ time is very relevant since the stories came from them. It was just them today who colloborated the stories and put it on a script.

      You should also take notice that Lamangan needed back ups especially from the ministers of INC since he had no idea about Felix. And of course Zabala let Lamangan do his job with the supervision of the ministers. The story is so delicate.

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      • Not all big budgeted films are extravagant. And your pointing out the facts based on books and/research. And I think you’ve seen enough adaptation to know that film adaptations doesn’t necessarily need to be different from the source material but it does however change. That’s the screenwriter’s job. The treatment for a film needs to be different because you can’t put voice overs over and over again for the audience to know what the character thinks. Again, our main concern is the output of the film as a film.

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    • “Again, our main concern is the output of the film AS A FILM.”- Tabares (Emphasis mine)

      That sums it all. You wanted a fictional character rather than a true to life story. And that was exactly my point of objection.

      The film was not made to satisfy the fantasy of the viewers, but to tell the story of a man who persevere against all odds to establish the church.

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    • “…but it does however change.The treatment for a film needs to be different…”

      I agree for you on this one since there were few “dialogues” ever written, especially from the supporting characters. You even noticed that (i disagree on this) by saying “Supporting characters also felt monotonous, going with the flow without any real personality to provide the story.” It has to more realistic even if they’ve decided to put some dialogues on a certain scene and should not spoil the main topic on a certain scene, since this is a true to life story of a person known to every members of INC.

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    • I guess I clearly stated my point. And I also get your point since this is a movie. I also really wanted it more than that, to know more about Felix Manalo since I have only known him from the Pasugo. But, those were the only stories they have collected to make this movie. So we dont have a choice to ask for more. Unless they made it as a fictional movie, you’ll expect an angel coming down from heaven and talk to Felix Manalo.

      Thanks for an intelligent discussion.

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      • Yes. We get your stand. And I do thank you for also getting that what we’re writing is what we saw from the movie. Nothing more, nothing less. Have a blessed Sunday. 🙂

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  2. People pointing out people as prejudice are also prejudice. No one has an equal mind in the world. We all have our own thoughts on everything. No one is better than anybody. If you’re coning from a filmmaker’s point of view or had film classes before, feel free to post your comment about the movie.

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  3. I can’t take this review seriously. Forget prejudice. This is incompetent writing. You just wrote what’s bad in the film but never managed to write good things about it. A fair review would elaborate not just the bad, but also the good things on it. Even bad movies have good things.

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    • Grand production, Dennis Trillo’s captivating performance and interesting story isn’t positive? If you want to read from a more credible film critic, you can check out Philbert Dy’s review.

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  4. Irrelevant. We are not talking about Philbert Dy’s review. We are talking about Mr. Tabares review. There is no point sending us to another critic. What I am trying to point out here is there should be a fair, transparent, comprehensive reviewing weighing to strong points. These points” It may be hard to evaluate the film as the first cut is 6 hours long and the final cut is 2 hours and 55 minutes, but it felt really plain. Having too many characters and actors allot more than enough time the film needed to build unnecessary sequences rather than diving deeper to Manalo’s mental and emotional journey” are more likely not relevant to the film reviewing points.

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    • Putting that in the review allows the readers to think that the final cut of the movie isn’t actually what the team behind the film intends it to be. And again, we do not put too much details as it will spoil the film for those who are planning to see it. If you see grand production, interesting story and captivating performance negative, that’s not my problem. If you’ve been to filmmaking classes or had the experience of actually making a film, you can put your point there. No questions asked. You cannot tell someone what he or she thought of the movie is wrong unless you have a solid point that can be argued. That’s part of film criticism, not everyone agrees to what a person says about the movie. That’s why you have the option to read another critic’s opinion.

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  5. Mr. Tabares, I think you have to go back to the basics of film criticism. You only wrote something but never said anything. You might be just one of the few who has a negative review of the film. Open your eyes to reality Hopelessly Romantic^^

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    • One of the few? Okay. If those few were the ones who had decent and unbiased reviews, I’m all fine with that. Thanks! You don’t even have a clue that reviews are personal thoughts of a movie. Doesn’t matter if it pleases you or anybody, as long as it is honest.

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  6. Ok, Here is one of the ” few who were the ones who had decent and unbiased reviews” ,

    The film drives this point home so hard that it actually has the opposite effect. I never doubted the INC’s legitimacy. Now I do.

    -Philbert Dy’s review

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    • Okay. Just explain why you disagree with these reviews and do enlighten us about the MOVIE. Don’t worry, my film critic friends are laughing hard about this thread right now.

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      • Maybe read Philbert Dy and Oggs Cruz’s reviews, they’re the professional ones. Or maybe just say why you disagree with the review so we can talk it out.

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    • Why does it seem like you are always insisting that the reviewer has already had a prejudice even before he/she has seen the movie? It is plain and simple. If the reviewer finds Felix Manalo movie as plain and monotonous, then it is, for him or her, plain amd monotonous! Why the prejudice? Haha. I have seen the movie myself, it isnt good. And i dont get the point why it is titled Felix Manalo when I havent even had the chance to know Felix Manalo. The looooong 3 hours? It is like chopsuey. The cut isnt good. But sure as hell i wouldnt watch the 6 hour long cut as I dont want to waste my life watching it. Btw, i was a member of the INC, for 8 years, i watched the movie because I wanna know if I could feel something, like maybe go back to the church, or whatever. And you, you’re making the image of your church bad. Wag kasing pikon. If they see it as plain, get over it!

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      • Btw, i have an idea who Felix Manalo was because, again, i was a member of the INC. But hey, trying to see the movie by trying to use the lenses of those who have no idea at all of who he was, IT IS HARD TO GRASP the point why is it entitled FELIX MANALO! Oh c’mon INC members, do not hide it… I know the doctrines! I know where your pride is coming from! Stop saying that people outside your church have prejudice against INC. The TRUTH is you believe that you are the chosen few, the only ones who are going to heaven when Jesus comes! You look down on people who arent members because you do believe that they are worth nothing in the eyes of the God, well because you believe that you are the chosen few who shall inherit heaven. BUT THIS I TELL YOU, ALL OF YOU WHO ARENT “SPORT”… WHY WOULD YOU MIND PEOPLE WHO WRITE OR SAY “NEGATIVE” OPINIONS ABOUT INC WHEN YOU ARE SO SURE THEY WORTH NOTHING?! AND WHY THE HATE WHEN THEY ARE HATING ON YOU GUYS?! JUST LET THEM BE. BESIDES, THIS ISNT YOUR HOME RIGHT?! YOU ARE DESTINED TO GO TO HEAVEN, so shut off and just WAIT CALMLY FOR JESUS SECOND COMING OR JUST WAIT FOR YOUR DEATH! That way, you INC members are saving time, energy and effort! Try to do productive stuff! Some things that might want the nonINC people see the HOLY SPIRIT imprint in you! Just wait calmly for JESUS okay?! Haha.

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      • “Btw, i was a member of the INC, for 8 years, i watched the movie because I wanna know if I could feel something, like maybe go back to the church, or whateve.”- caffeinated

        What do you mean? You wanted to feel something like, a divine intervention? You’re funny haha!

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      • “THIS ISNT YOUR HOME RIGHT?! YOU ARE DESTINED TO GO TO HEAVEN, so shut off and just WAIT CALMLY FOR JESUS SECOND COMING OR JUST WAIT FOR YOUR DEATH!- caffeinated.

        Why the hate caffeinated?
        Are you in pain?
        Do you have a very, very big problem?
        Are you in trouble?
        Are you OK?

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  7. Joel lamangan kasi ang director hindi kasi maganda ung mga pelikula nia.
    Tapos ung prosthetics ni dennis trillio nung matanda na siya medyo natawa ako dun

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    • It was actually Bella Padilla’s prosthetics that are obvious, didn’t even cared for an overall look. Her skin in her arms still looks radiantly young.

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