‘Bourne’ was disappointing for two reasons
“The Bourne Legacy” was a double disappointment. First, for undermining the equity built by the original Jason Bourne trilogy featuring Matt Damon (Identity-Supremacy-Ultimatum). Even if Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz performed well, the plot was hollow and the ending was sorely wanting; even the protracted chase scene in Manila came across as “trying too hard,” only to end rather anticlimactically.
Second, and more importantly, it didn’t portray Manila in a positive light. This film could have been an opportunity for the world to take a fresh look at Manila—the CBDs (central business districts) of Makati and Ortigas, or the BGC (Bonifacio Global City), the historic Intramuros and churches, Manila Bay’s golden sunset and Roxas Boulevard. But, sadly, it reconfirmed the image of Manila in the minds of foreigners. When asked by Charlie Rose on Bloomberg TV why he chose Manila, director Tony Gilroy candidly described the city as “gritty and crowded, dirty and stinky.”
Some may argue for realism, but for a country sadly lacking in financial resources to advertise the new tourism campaign, we should leverage the influence of Hollywood and the global entertainment industry to reinforce our “It’s more fun in the Philippines” campaign instead of being remembered as a “virus laboratory.”
Many of the world’s cities were immortalized by Hollywood (“New York, New York,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” “I Left my Heart in San Francisco”), boosting tourism; or even countries (“Casablanca,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” “South Pacific,” “Lost Horizon,” “Man with the Golden Gun,” “The Last Samurai,” “The Last Emperor,” “The Beach,” “Shanghai,” “Australia,” “Lord of the Rings,” “Invictus,” “Eat, Pray, Love,” etc.).
We hope our public officials and the film industry will be more prudent and circumspect in approving future Hollywood projects to ensure we accentuate our positive side. After all, where else can you find a “land as beautiful as her people and a people as warm as her climate”? Only in the Philippines. Let’s hope future projects will showcase our natural God-made wonders and natural manmade warmth.
Beyond the film’s inadequacy, however, the most glaring lesson is: “It’s time to renew Manila.” It is obvious we have no vision for the future of our beloved and historic capital, let alone the National Capital Region. If “Bourne” was a bad movie and Manila was cast badly, let Hollywood work on its films, while we work on our city. Maybe this is the “wake-up call” we need so that in the end something good may still come out of this legacy.
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