Film remakes bring us back waxing nostalgic to the past, most specially if the film has something to do with unforgetable moments of yesteryears like the first love of our lives. The remake might have been the one we watched on our first date with someone we thought then is the one we would share our whole life with. Maybe during the movie came that long-awaited first kiss. Maybe after the movie, we hied off with our date to a cozy hotel. Or it could have been on the other end of the spectrum. Maybe the movie was the last one we saw with our beloved as we ended breaking up from each other. Those are indeed painful though fleeting and unforgetable remembrances.
And this could be the season of nostalgia. For old movies are really making a comeback as new remakes starring new and aspiring actors and actresses. And most of them have come back in a new medium, as a television serial. The films I am alluding to have really endeared themselves to thousands of new generation of film buffs who, I presume, will also feel these films’ tremendous impact on their daily lives.
One of the current remakes is Darna which had been remade as films many times before. I actually saw the original Darna which starred Rosa del Rosario with Jaime dela Rosa as her leading man. I think it is still the best Darna ever, still unparalleled until now. To me, it was the most engrossing movie I have seen during my formative days in short pants. Though I must admit I did’nt see the other remakes of my favorite Mars Ravelo super heroine.
Liza Lorena, Vilma Santos, Anjanette Abayari, Eva Montes, Nanette Medved and others also made their own version of Darna . Even Dolphy, the king of comedy, played the super heroine in his own spoofed version of Darna Kuno . Dyesebel had its own remakes though not as numerous as that of Darna . Darna in effect has become the ultimate Pilipino superhero. It is still an exhilarating experience to watch Darna soar in the air; fight her adversaries and keep constant watch over her beleaguered metropolis with the little boy Ding sometimes riding on her back.
Watching Darna , however shortlived, enabled us to forget about our daily problems, like poverty and the hard task to feed and clothe ourselves. Because we saw Darna overpower her adversaries kindled hopes that we ourselves can attain better lives for ourselves.
Another reason why I preferred Darna over Dyesebel was probably because flying was more of a high for me than swimming underwater. But Dyesebel was also unforgettable.
The original Dyesebel was Edna Luna who also co-starred with Jaime dela Rosa as the rich boy who fell in love with the mermaid with the beautiful face and innocent looks. There were other actresses who put on the fish tail and… all but they just proved to be poor copy cats of the original.
This TV season, we have four remakes in our midst. Darna stars a younger super heroine, Angel Locsin, who doesn’t look like Darna at all to me. Save for the presence of reliable performers as Eddie Garcia, Celia Rodriguez, Alessandra de Rossi, Carmina Villaruel, Gina Pareno, Dennis Trillo and Caridad Sanchez, I am just a wee surprised to find it still going strong in the viewership derby.
But I have some misgivings. It was very uncomfortable for me to watch Darna die! I just cannot accept that this powerful, strong super heroine and savior of mankind will just die like that. I found it totally horrible! I just have this uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. I cannot accept that my favorite champion of the oppressed who I thought was invincible after swallowing the magic stone is lying there motionless, a cold cadaver! No matter how beautiful the pyre is and no matter how many hundreds of imported flowers adorned her funeral vigil it was still unacceptable to me that my favorite super hero is dead!
Of course, the reaction of the viewers seemed to be on the negative side. And that might have been the reason that Darna has been resurrected from the dead. Was that a calculated risk on the part of the GMA management, a sort of a trial and error survey of what the audience prefers? But everything was water under the birdge.They made Darna live again to fight. Still the thought of seeing Darna , the hero, the indestructible fighter rigil and dead still rankles in my mind. For me, Darna can never be just like an ordinary mortal. Whoever thought of killing Darna must have a little knowledge of Pilipino culture, mentality and emotional make-up.
Now let’s go to the second remake on the boob tube, Kampanerang Kuba . The original movie had Vilma Santos playing the central character. It was written as a komiks novel years ago by Screenwriters’ Guild of the Philippines president Pablo S. Gomez. But this remake decided to mold the story into a fantasy that probably targetted the young televiewers. Of course no one can stop us comparing it with the original. This remake’s kampanera has toys that can talk and fly. And this kampanera can also metamorphose into a beautiful woman.
I once talked with Mr. Gomez who revealed to me he signed a contract that in effect included a clause where he agreed with whatever changes ABS-CBN will incorporate in his komiks masterpiece.
Now, let’s talk about Mga Anghel na Walang Langit which is top billed by Johnny Delgado and a lot of children. For sure the characters were reinvented from the original and no longer the emotionally-wrecked characters I saw on TV many years ago. But remember, this is a remake and remakes must conform to the existing realities of the times where it is brought back to the TV screen.
And finally, we have Gulong ng Palad with the now matured Romnick Sarmenta who once played the little boy Peping during the first tearjerker series of several decades back. But I just heard that the title will be changed to Salamin ng Buhay . Luisa which was played by Marianne dela Riva in the original will be portrayed by Kristine Hermosa; Carding, then played by Ronald Corveau, will this time be played by TJ Trinidad. Caridad Sanchez who played Edad in the original will be replaced by Rio Locsin, While Emong then formerly played by Augusto Victa will be taken over by Joel Torre. Edad and Emong are the parents of Luisa. Peping, the young endearing character played by Romnick Sarmenta, will be performed by young Nash Aguas. Menang then played by Tita de Villa will have Cherie Gil in the role. The character of Mimi made alive by Beth Bautista will now be portrayed by Andrea del Rosario.
Hero Angeles was the choice to play the role of Totoy, the brother of Luisa, but after some hitches, the ABS-CBN management decided to give the role to Joross Gamboa. And Hazel Ann Mendoza is Nene. Roxanne Guinoo and Luis Alandy are playing brother and sister in the series and these are new characters created to accommodate the duo. Lito Pimentel is added in the series and I hope his role will add substance to the story.
The original Gulong ng Palad series of years back was watched by millions of TV buffs because it portrayed the honest-to-goodness lives or real people, people we can find in our midst, just like people in our neighborhood. It was all about normal people among us living the normal lives under the normal realities we know. People, ordinary people who speak our language, who go through the everyday events similar to our daily lives. And that enabled us to identify and be genuinely involved in the unfolding of the story everyday.
I hope this is one such series where I will not stumble into enchanted palaces and kingdoms and meet flying horses and speaking parrots, kings and queens, princes and princesses. All I want to see are just plain Pilipino characters just like those I see everyday in the streets, in jeepneys, in churches and in market places. Why can’t they leave this classic series alone and not change it drastically? But if changes and revisions are indispensable, please think of alterations and revisions that will make Gulong ng Palad a better seriesWe just owe it to this classic TV drama of our yesteryears.
Simple Pilipino stories with authentic Pilipino characters we can easily identify with are all that we are asking for. We only want to watch ourselves on television and undergo the emotions and feelings that transpire in a real world, the same world we know and we inhabit.