Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Temptation Island (2011)


Just a word of caution: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT watch the original version if you are intending to see this remake. I did just that, with a little more than an hour of interval, and so this review will obviously be very biased in favor of the original. I just could not help but compare. This remake remains faithful to the original, VERY faithful. Most of the original dialogue remain intact, with some minor adjustments to adapt to the modern setting. Only a very few details and scenes are revised (ex. one of the endings, the names of the five girls) and cut (ex. the three other speeches at the end). In fact, many scenes are like carbon copies of the original, except for the style and angle of the shots and the evident vividness of the colors used. They actually play various scenes from the original and the remake as the closing credits roll, and you would see how very little has been changed. If you are a rabid fan of the 1980 version, you would not be disappointed with this one in terms of plot development. And then there is the acting element. Let us start with the men.

It is awful, way too awful. We are not saying that the portrayal of the men in the original version were of Oscar caliber. In effect, only Ricky Belmonte seemed to have had some depth in his portrayal of the gay pageant coordinator’s lover, but still, the other actors were credible enough in their roles, regardless if they were ham actors or not. They looked and sounded authentic. In this 2011 version, it is as if the men were in a high school play, throwing lines in a drastic attempt to get a passing grade. You only have to hear Aljur Abrenica try to pronounce “ungentlemanly” for you to cringe. Tom Rodriguez is obviously trying his best, but that is the problem. It is so obvious that you do not see the character, but rather him acting. The biggest letdown would be Mikael Daez. Yes, it should be understood that he is a newbie and that one should not expect a lot from him, but this has got to be the one role among the men that would be hardest to justify. And so the question, why did they choose him? No depth at all, he is just reciting his lines. Ironically, it is Dennis Trillo who actually delivers a good performance despite the little screen time he is given. And so the next question, why was he not given one of the bigger roles?

John Lapuz is okay but I think the problem is really with his diction, which I think gets in the way of a genuine portrayal. His attempt on a faux British accent is a bit belabored, and while he graces the screen with pearls around his neck, the actor who originated the role did not need a lot of that to sound and look genuine. Perhaps, a little more attitude would have been nice? Other than that, Lapuz’s performance is actually a lot funnier. And now, the girls, in order of weakest performance rendered.

Solenn Heussaff is another newbie that should be given time to grow. Her role just fits her fine since in the original it is probably the one that fails to be memorable in relation to the other four. The only thing that might bother the viewer is her accent when speaking Tagalog. The director should have intervened, less English lines for Abrenica and more for Heussaff. It would not have had a great effect in the development of the story anyway, and it would not have been this awkward.

Heart Evangelista, what happened? The storyline for this character is boring, but Dina Bonnevie did a great job with it because she really appeared to be a demure colegiala, a naive young woman whose wild side is just starting to emerge. In the remake, Evangelista is obviously acting, and if you have seen the 1980 version you would think that she is trying hard to attack the character like Bonnevie did, but fails miserably. Her portrayal seems to have underscored the character’s childishness instead of her naivety. There is a difference. Consequently, the acting seems too technical to the extent of being plastic.

Ruffa Mae Quinto is probably the one who remains loyal to the character, which is weird because in most of her movies you actually see that “the character is Rufa Mae Quinto” and not “Rufa Mae Quinto is the character.” Here, her personality still steals the show, especially with that unique intonation of hers, but in terms of character development she does a pretty good job.

I was expecting Marian Rivera to go all the way with this one. In fact, when I was watching the original version this morning I was no longer seeing Azenith Briones, I was seeing Marian Rivera. This role is tailor-made for her. The thing is, when I saw the remake this afternoon I came to realize that Rivera seems to be holding something back. The tactlessness is there but it is not that natural compared to when we see her interviewed on TV. It is as if she has decided to tone it down a bit. Or perhaps I am just overdoing the comparison. Come to think of it, Briones had a K Brosas kind of vibe going on doing the role thirty years ago, particularly in that scene where she makes faces during the beauty pageant. Maybe that is what Rivera should not have downplayed, the “babaeng-bakla” factor.

And the winner is Lovi Poe, thanks to the role of the rich spoiled brat, the epitome of a soft-spoken bitch. The only problem I see here is if you have seen the original and you decide to compare. The actress who originated the role really exuded bitchiness to the highest degree. She did not have to raise her voice a lot or lift an eyebrow. You would know at once, she was the villain in that movie. Perhaps it was her facial features or the way she carried herself. Poe manages to duplicate that, but does not necessarily raise the bar already set. Still, her performance is definitely the one to watch out for here. I just could not help but wonder if Evangelista pushed through with this role. Judging from her performance in Mano Po, she could have done this role convincingly without trying too hard. I guess it was a blessing in disguise for Poe, then.

Azenith Briones and Deborah Sun appear as the pageant coordinator and the social climbing mother, respectively. The former delivers her lines as if reading from a teleprompter. The latter seems to have quite a hard time in terms of enunciation that it is really exhausting to watch her finish a sentence.

Final verdict? See this one as a standalone film. If you intend to see the original, do that AFTER watching this one, for a fair review. Of course I would not know how my viewing experience would have been had I seen this remake first. If you can do that, tell me if it would be any different.

6 creature(s) gave a damn:

Anonymous said...

You only have to watch Aljur Abrenica try to pronounce “ungentlemanly” for you to cringe.

HAHAHA. Probably my favorite part of your review. I think you were even too nice to give it a three. :-)

Anonymous said...

I read your review and we seem to have very similar opinions regarding this movie. You might want to try checking mine out.

I, too, watched the original a long time ago. :)

ihcahieh said...

@nicolelatayan = Not his only cringe worthy line in the movie. I even wonder if everything was intentional for comedic effect.

@will - I already read your review earlier, saw the link at PEX. It appears we posted almost at the same time, hahaha. =)

Anonymous said...

Haha, the poster wasn't me. It was some stranger. Thanks to him, anyway. :D

Jack said...

Your review is the total opposite of chuvaness. i dont know who to believe.

ihcahieh said...

Hi Jack, I think it would be best that you try and see it for yourself. Mine is like a direct comparison with the original, hence the not so positive review. =)

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