IT’S BEEN weeks since we jotted down our first impressions of the new GMA 7 teleserye, “Amaya”—and, with reason: We wanted to give the show enough time to iron out its kinks, and its stars to get their acts together. —Have they?
After you get over the attractive and compellingly exotic look and feel of “Amaya” and concentrate on its unfolding storyline, you can’t shake off the impression that its visual exoticism is masking a rather predictable story.
True enough, after some weeks in play, the series’ plot line is turning out to be a mere variation on teleseryes’ generic penchant for love, perceived betrayal, revenge, and all sorts of strife and convoluted conflicts.
The lead character of Amaya (Marian Rivera) is hated by the Datu’s wife (Gina Alajar) because she’s the daughter of his mistress (Lani Mercado). So, she moves heaven and earth to make life a living hell for her romantic rival (whom she banishes) and her love child (whom she turns into a slave after her father’s death—as a result of the spurned queen’s false testimony).
Thus is the series shaping up as an eventual duel between the queen and Amaya. Which may be why Gina’s role is being built up so much, to make her a really formidable foe, virago and mega-monster, when push must finally come to shove.
The intention is clear, but the build-up lacks dynamism and believability, because the queen’s motivations and actuations are the standard stuff of TV melodramas, simply given a period and ethnic twist.
Gina is reputed to be a formidable actress, but even her most florid and vicious acts of vile and bile don’t move and shock viewers all that much—because it’s all been seen and done before.
As for Marian, this series is clearly meant to be her transformation and apotheosis as an actress of the first caliber, to match her reported popularity as local TV’s reputed “queen of primetime”—but, it fails to deliver on both counts.
To be fair to Marian, she works really hard to make her latest TV starrer a success—to the extent of “going backless” in some scenes to show how cruelly her character has been punished and degraded. She also shouts and expresses anger with greater unction than ever.
Unfortunately, she looks too fair and soft to be believable as a “warrior princess” in the making. Her crying scenes are still too “hagulgol” to be truly touching. And, her training scenes as a warrior are patently nominal and phlegmatic.
We trust that, after she gets over her current kawawa and aping-api stage as a slave and finally graduates to warrior-princess mode to avenge her father’s death, Marian will be able to rise to the occasion and thespic challenge—or else, Gina will make melodramatic mincemeat out of her.
—And, where’s the regal triumph in that for local TV’s so-called “primetime queen”?