Sunday, July 10, 2011

Temptation Island (Chris Martinez)

A tributary notion.

Well, alright, I raised my rating to two full stars partly as a tribute to the original cult classic which this film has almost remade shot-by-shot and word-for-word. But remaking a film made in the 80's and completely retaining almost all of the dialogues that made the original so fascinating and endlessly intoxicating in its ability to capture, time capsule-style, the verbal pretenses of the bourgeoisie class (especially represented by the character Joshua in the original film) of the said era, I believe, is completely wrong.

Dialogues such as 'poor, proletariat, indigent people' should have stayed in the original and in it alone because as I hear it being uttered by John Lapus (who played Joshua in this remake), I can't help but feel the uneasiness of how comically oblique and strange the delivery is, especially coming from a supposedly homosexual character who dwells in the postmodern world of fashion where every terms and jargon are with added flash, sociopolitical words like 'communist' are the last things you may hear.

But despite of that, in a time where our local showbiz industry's range of gay performers are from undeserved hosts to stand-up comedians, John Lapus delivered the needed sense of villainy, vanity and lunacy, but he really never inherited the brash deadpan performance by Jonas Sebastian as Joshua in the original. But judging from John Lapus' gurgling, smoker voice, and his regular stint in television where he's regularly thrown in the air by a myriad of dancers while dancing off-sync with the music, you really can't expect subtlety from him.

For the bulk female cast, there really is nothing special going on except Marian Rivera, for the simple reason of her being the typical noisy comic actress that she is, Rufa Mae Quinto, whose stereotyped verbal tone is almost always effective, and Lovi Poe, mainly because her character is the most interesting of all. Solenn Heussaff (a real eye-candy, by the way) and Heart Evangelista, on the other hand, are all too unremarkable in their roles.

While the male roles, filled in with the typical 'pretty boys', suffered because of a crucial casting mistake (or a cast list typo?). Aljur Abrenica, who plays the role that Alfie Anido has played in the 1980 film, is characteristically far out of proportion and capacity with the character he plays (which is supposed to be a smart lad, me thinks). Newcomer Tom Rodriguez, who plays a lowly waiter in the film, should have scuffled for Mr. Abrenica's role and the latter should have been demoted in the waiter's shoes. Aljur's acting chops are just too 'wooden' ("Machete" pun, ha!) to show even a hint of involvement in the whole film.

Personally, I think director Chris Martinez should have fully heeded the nuances and true essence of the word 'remake' first before making this one. Aside from a screenplay fully devoted to the original's satirically composed dialogues (which I think, although how rich the source material is, does not give this remake any rightful merits) that is a delightful thing of the past, this "Temptation Island" remake is, overall, a very messy film, editing wise. Scenes jump from one to the other without a sense of adhesion, while relationships develop without a sense of emotional rhythm. And that final, post-island scenes are just too overlong in a very cliched and unnecessary kind of way.

And those 'food' hallucination scenes, which made the original even crazier and cheesier, are recreated not for the sake of eliciting the penetrating idea of 'hunger', but for the sake of the chief actresses to showcase their modeling prowess once more.

Compared to Martinez's earlier film "Here Comes the Bride", "Temptation Island" is an empty, absurd load of cinematic tosh (Maybe it's its campy intent, but it just doesn't translate that well). And who would have known? John Lapus' bodily parts produce finely grilled pork chops. Nice.

As the end credits roll, scenes from both the original film and this remake show up in succession. And for what? For comparison. Dialogues overlapping with one another, sometimes one trailing the other. I can't see the necessity of this remake. For comparison? If both are fueled with the same script and virtually with the same line deliveries, who needs that? If one needs a biting satire regarding the not so glitzy side of contemporary fashion, beauty contests and the world of social climbers and nausea-inducing extreme elitism, then local films such as "Pinay Pie" and "Bikini Open" are much more potent representations. Not this one.

(By the way, except for the dialogues, I did not like the original "Temptation Island" film that much either. So there.)



  1. a very profound review you have here. we share the same sentiment, i couldn't really understand as to why there was a need to do this remake, in the first place. if it was for sales, then they have done a good job. the older version, i believe was a huge flop back then. :D

  2. Yes, and it's completely wrong that they've re-used all the classic 80's lines that made the original so fascinatingly unique. The dialogues seem to be out of place.


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