Sunday, November 30, 2014

Ultra Electro Nostalgic Power

I regret not watching the movie Blue Bustamante on its regular showing in the Cinema One Originals film festival last year or on any of its few re-runs this year so I was so glad they showed it again on the Teatrino at Promenade. I grew up watching A LOT of sentai and tokusatsu shows as a kid (of course I don't know they were called as such back then). Team shows like Bioman, Maskman, Jetman. Solos like Shaider, Machine Man, Mask Rider Black. Or the Ultraman series and Magmaman. Everyday, after school at 4 or 5 pm, I will sit down and be glued to the TV set for an hour or so (they used to show them back to back). I would absorb them all. Mind you, we only have a black and white TV set back then so I would only identify the characters when they shout their name. In class, I was very envious when my classmates talk vividly how Blue2, Red1 or anyone from the team looks like. For me the characters are just Grey1,  DarkGrey2, LightGrey3 etc.

Anyways, if you are a fan, or even just a kid who grew up watching these shows, then Blue Bustamante is a movie for you. There were many callbacks to the old sentai shows like a character disappearing in the background with that sound effect (Saito...), or the sights of cardboard buildings serving as an arena of a big robot and kaiju deathmatch; or the crude but cool costumes of the team, the monsters and the henchman among others.

But more than, it's  a very funny and entertaining movie despite a supposedly very sad premise of that of an OFW father who needs to live apart from his family for a long time. The humor is mostly provided by Jun Sabayton who has quite a natural knack for comedy. (You can check more detailed reviews at Pinoy Rebyu.)

And then there's the nostalgia. From the lead character's blue jeans jacket (of the tito from saudi fame), or the Family Computer (which I only got to play with courtesy of a neighbor who has one), Yanyan eating. "Blue Bustamante" used nostalgia effectively, providing instant relatability to the audience without even trying to.

A show that used nostalgia to this effect is the movie "Guardians of the Galaxy". This time, music is the nostalgic element used. Old songs were used in the background as an old Walkman served as a mcguffin. In the unbeliveably alien environment and setting, audience could immediately relate to the main character via the song he plays on his walkman which are actually all very good.

Another one I can think of is the episode "Wild Horses" from the anime "Cowboy Bebop". The setting is in a far future with a society very different from the present. This time the nostalgia comes in the form of an old relic, the Space Shuttle, calling back the beginnings of the Space Age. This is the same aura being portrayed in the comic book by Warren Ellis,  "Orbiter".

Of course I wouldn't forget "Hugo", a homage to the films of old directed by someone who has a real passion for movies themselves. Add to that "The Wrestler", calling back the vintage independent wrestling circuit and "Pacific Rim" an action film about kaiju and mecha films of Japan.

Anyways, nostalgia when used properly is a very powerful element. Just look at the latest Star Wars trailer. The first few scenes are already awesome by their look. UNTIL THAT JOHN WILLIAMS' THEME PLAY WHILE THE MILLENIUM FALCON FLIES!!!

That's it!!! Tune again next time for another episode of...
[Play ending Credits]

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