Saturday, April 4, 2009

Movie Review: "Pedro: The Movie"


"Pedro: The Movie" (which had it's world premiere on MTV and Logo on April 2nd) is a very true-to-life account of the short life of AIDS activist and  former "Real Wrld" cast member, Pedro Zamora.   

As I said in a previous post, I was already well aquatinted with Pedro's story before seeing the movie a few days ago.   I have to say that the production values are very low on this film (and it shows) . However, that still does not take away from the fact that this is a very heartfelt tribute to a young person who  was so much more than just a reality TV star.  Pedro put a face and a personality on HIV and AIDS and quite possibly did more to educate the American public about this disease than anyone before or since.

As for the movie it self, it essentially follows Pedro's life blow by blow -- from his childhood beginnings in Cuba, to his coming of age as a gay teenager in Miami, to his time in the "Real World" house, and then back to Miami.  Despite the sometimes questionable/ overly glossy  production values (common of a lot of MTV movie productions), I was very impressed by closely the scenes  that involved "The Real World" were basically depicted as they were when they originally aired in 1994.  I believe that the set designers and costume designers for the film did a really good job with re-creating the original "Real World" house as match as closely as they could to the original.  If you go back and youtube scenes from "The Real World : San Francisco" (which --btw, DESERVES a proper DVD release!!)  you can even see that the costume directors on the film took great pains to make sure that even the clothes that Pedro wore in the house were as a close match to what was seen in the original show.  Even outfits that Pedro wore when he did his audition video for "Real World" (and later on , when he was hospitalized) were recreated to the smallest detail.  While a few events  were also altered slightly (I'm sure for dramatic effect) , the basic story line and dialogue of Pedro's life (which he insisted be caught on camera regardless of how bad off he got) stayed in tact. As a follower of Pedro's, I was extremely appreciative and happy about that.

The film not only covers Pedro's life in the Real World house , but also gives you a deeper background on his upbringing in Cuba and also his sad last days in Miami.   Because of that, you don't necessarily have to have seen the original "Real World: San Francisco" shows at all to get a real feel for what went  down there, but I also believe that you won't be entirely bored with the dramatic re-enactment's of events (including the intense confrontation with the slob/jackass known as PUCK)  if you have seen the show. It should bring back memories. :)

The movie overall is a very moving and fitting tribute to Pedro and I did a pretty good job of not bawling my eyes out towards the end.  Be prepared to be deeply moved and have a lot to think about by the end.

Bottom Line:  This film is lacking as far as production (as it was most likely shot quickly and on a low budget). Most of the actors that they got to play Pedro and his real world house mates kind of , sort of look like the original people -- but not really.  However, the emotional story of a beautiful soul whose life was tragically cut short by AIDS is one that far transcends the budget for the film.  This is Pedro's story -- verbatim and I believe that you would have to be made of stone not to be deeply effected after watching it.  I sincerely believe that it is a story that a new generation needs to be exposed to.  "Pedro: The Movie" is just something that I strongly feel that everyone should make an effort to see at least once.

Check out "Pedro: The Movie" on MTV and Logo.  You can also stream it for free at Mtv.com.
Grade:  A -


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