When news of a Temptation Island remake helmed by Chris Martinez came out last April, I made a mental note to watch the Regal-produced Joey Gosiengfiao original before its latest reincarnation hit the theaters.
Gosiengfiao’s film featured newcomers Bambi Arambulo (Miss Maja Pilipinas 1977), Dina Bonnevie (1st Runner-up, Miss Magnolia 1979), Azenith Briones (Miss Photogenic, Mutya ng Pilipinas 1975) and Jennifer Cortez (Binibining Pilipinas-Universe 1978) as reel beauty queens vying for the Miss Manila Sunshine crown.
A great deal has changed since the original was released — hairstyles! outfits! gadgets! — but its self-deprecating humor, takes on beauty and society and unabashed candor remains just as saucy as it was in 1980. Here are some of the reasons why:
1. BFs. Boyfriends? Not quite. If you’ve watched White Chicks, you’d know what I mean by BF — and boy, are there plenty of them in this movie. We’re talking four girls from different backgrounds, all fueled by their own desires and motives, pitted against the elements and each other under highly combustible circumstances. And when I say combustible, I don’t just mean the summer heat.
2. CATFIGHTS (no caps, no passion)
3. Alfredo “falls” in love (this be cheesy — you have been warned)
5. Economics and God’s supposed punishment
What I like most about the film is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and neither does it compel you to. But more than being just a beach flick, viewers are able to draw insights on the nature of civilization and society. Despite maintaining a front of comedy and shallowness, Gosiengfiao’s material dips into the best and worst aspects of human nature, probing what makes people savage and what makes them human.
Lastly, in the context of an accident that would prove life-changing for all those involved, Temptation Island immortalizes the tempests and travails the characters rise above, as individuals and as a unit. But while some revel in the triumph of the human spirit, others are left to contend with things that leave a mark but eventually fade away – like discrimination, sunstroke, and summer love snuffed out by a change of heart nary a season after.