If we start looking in the history of false documentaries, we have to go to one of the first documentaries in history: ‘Nanook, the Eskimo’ had the intention of being real, of course, but everything (or almost everything) was prepared accordingly. beforehand. It was Flaherty himself who said that to capture the true spirit of something you have to distort it. It was the same thing that Bunuel must have thought when turning ‘Las Hurdes: tierra sin pan’ into a kind of parody of the Sahara documentaries that were so popular at the time.
Since then, and especially since the emergence of the reality show, the genre has grown enough so that a false documentary no longer seems groundbreaking to us. Victor Garcia Leon is fully aware of the language that he must handle for a film of this genre to be credible enough and, at the same time, for us to be fully aware of its falsehood. Sadly, what he managed to embroider in the incredible ‘Selfie’ watered down a lot in ‘The Three Wise Men: The Truth’.
No forgive you, Carmena
The first minutes of the Amazon Prime Video tape are overwhelming: the new representative of the Three Wise Men, a kind of Paquita Salas mixed with the innocence of Magui, tries to renew its brand image, damaged by the passing of the years and, above all, everything, by the presence of Santa Claus. That is why she has decided to record a documentary to show everyone how they live, which leads them to distribute gifts, their radical change for the 21st century and their hobbies. And it is here where the greatest findings of the tape are found.
A Gaspar in the style of ‘El buen patron’, a new age Baltasar, an unsympathetic Melchor aware that he is the one pulling the cart… The film is not afraid of stretching the popular imagination to the point of almost breaking it in a playful, fun and at the same time first act. At the same time suitable for the whole family, which sadly becomes a parody of modern life and culminates in a sugary and childish concoction that completely betrays the spirit of its first minutes.
There was a time, I’m sure, in which ‘The Three Wise Men: The Truth’ was a bloody parody of the magical trio and its forced adaptation to new times, but sadly it has not survived because they have not dared to shoot it without a sweet ending . And it is that a family film could not leave aside the dreams of children, magic and all those trifles that do not matter at all throughout the rest of the film, more careful to create a convincing and original personality of the Magi than the tape itself then destroys mercilessly.
Gold, myrrh and TikTok
To make the issue of making the Three Wise Men more modern, Garcia León has a host of celebrities who approach them to give their opinion, from Esty Quesada (I’m A Pringada) to Almudena Cid, Lorenzo Caprile, Rozalen, Jordi Hurtado or Inmagic, who has one of the best gags in the group, in which the Kings are mistreated in a shopping center because the kids are going to queue up to see an influencer.
It is true that the script falls a little into the old-fashioned way of “Oh, today’s young people, anyone understands them” , although they never fully exploit it: Baltasar as a Twitter addict is such a good concept that it is surprising that it stays in a a couple of gags without much of a journey, and the healthy diet of the Three Kings could have offered laughter instead of a couple of jokes. It seems as if, throughout the footage, the film was rapidly losing the bite that was sensed in its first section.
The cast, yes, never loses its grace : the choice of three seasoned but unknown actors as Reyes is a success, because it is the only way to believe in the filming of the documentary without being constantly outside of it. The three manage to turn a movie that could be a disaster into a family hit that would have benefited from being more focused on keeping the same tone throughout the film rather than lurching between more stinging satire and direct-to-Disney Channel movie.
Holland can be seen
I don’t want to be too harsh with ‘The Three Wise Men: The Truth’, because it doesn’t deserve it. However, one cannot help but sense his intentions to turn everything upside down and pure family hooliganism truncated by a strange sense of parental responsibility in his last act, leaving his deconstruction, which could be hilarious, in nothing. On the bright side, the equality he achieves between adult satire and family Christmas movie tone isn’t so easy to achieve , and he never crosses childish red lines like valuing the mere existence of Kings. They exist, and that’s it.
The best moments of ‘The Three Wise Men: The Truth’ are those in which they explain their own story: the star they followed, the baby Jesus, the two thousand years they have been alive, the management and distribution of gifts… It is It is true that the film never dares to take the last step and, for example, show Gaspar as a ruthless CEO (although I have no doubt that he was in a version of the script, of which something has survived in the first act) or Baltasar turned into a tweetstar. It simply remains on the kinder face: instead of reviewing and giving color to the gags, it limits itself to sketching them, with the laudable intention (at least in a family film) of not angering anyone more than necessary.
‘Los Reyes Magos: La verdad’ starts out with a lot of strength, gives it his all and surprises with a mix between ‘Paquita Salas’ and ‘The office’, but he soon runs out of ideas and ends up falling into a tidal wave of commonplaces, cameos of celebrities and somewhat threadbare criticism of modernity. It is true that Spanish family cinema is more closely linked to nonsense, movies with know-it-all children and crude slapstick, and in this sense it is notably out of the ordinary. Hopefully, this film can model a family cinema with a little more bad milk and that does not treat children like idiots. For ringing, that does not remain.