The much-awaited return of the Philippines’ well-loved fantasy series Encantadia will finally happen on July 18, 2016.
Prior to this, some members of the press had the chance to see the pilot episode of this upcoming requel (remake + sequel) during the July 13 press conference of the show.
The pilot episode presents the back story that triggered the war among the four kingdoms of Encantadia, namely Adamya, Sapiro, Lireo, and Hathoria.
Just like in the original telefantasya, Encantadiks won’t be seeing yet the adult version of Sang’gres Amihan, Alena, Danaya, and Pirena, portrayed by Kylie Padilla, Gabbi Garcia, Sanya Lopez, and Glaiza de Castro, respectively.
PEP presents five highlights to watch for in the pilot episode of Encantadia 2016:
1. Max Collins is also named Amihan but she is different from the character played by Kylie Padilla.
The pilot episode opens with the character of Max Collins riding a dragon, as seen in the full trailer. However, what is intriguing is that she plays the role of Amihan. But don’t get confused. Her character is Ynang Reyna’s younger sister. Amihan bears the same name as the Sang'gre played by Kylie Padilla.
Max's Amihan instantly engaged in a fight scene with warriors who were not identified yet. Viewers can look forward to her fight scene with an equally important, newly introduced character who will drastically change the lives of Mine-a (Marian Rivera) and the Sang’gres.
2. The intense fight scene between Marian Rivera and Sunshine Dizon.
One of the scenes that will surely make you hold your breath is the intense fight scene between Marian Rivera as Ynang Reyna Mine-a, and Sunshine Dizon as the new character Adhara.
Of course, since we can't reveal spoilers, no further details can be given regarding the cause of their fight. However, pay close attention to this particular sequence since it lays the groundwork for future episodes.
This is the first time in Encantadia that Marian's Mine-a will be seen wearing her warrior outfit as she unleashes her powers.
This would be the first time that viewers will be able to see how a Sang’gre transforms from her royal gown to her warrior gear. You might also hear familiar music as the original version of "Tadhana" (Encantadia’s main theme) will be played in the background.
Though the sequences did not explain Adhara’s background, viewers will be given clues regarding the pivotal role that plays in the lives of the Sang’gres.
3. Cassiopeia divides the big white gem into the four elemental gems.
This event was already seen in the original version of Encantadia. However, this incident revealed only during the latter part of the 2005 installment.
It seems that the 2016 requel is trying to present the plot in a linear manner of storytelling. Cassiopeia's decision to divide the brilyante already happens on the pilot episode.
There are several differences from the original. In the original version, Cassiopeia (then played by Cindy Kurleto) was wearing her famous brown dress while the new Cassiopeia (played by Solenn Heussaff) now wears her purple warrior gear.
As seen in Encantadia’s trailer, Solenn's character did this at nighttime, unlike in the original where Cassiopeia divided the brilyante (called hope gem in the original) at daytime in an open area.
It is also not revealed if the sword she used to cleave the hope gem was the Kabilan, which was identified in the original version.
But one thing remained the same: this move of Cassiopeia started the big war among Encantadia’s four kingdoms: Adamya, Lireo, Sapiro, and Hathoria.
4. Ynang Reyna Mine-a and Prinsipe Raquim get a sweet moment.
Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes's characters had the chance to get their own sweet moment in the pilot episode of Encantadia, which will surely give kilig to fans of DongYan.
It is heartwarming to see Ynang Reyna Mine-a and Prinsipe Raquim as they share a tender moment.
Unlike the previous Raquim (originally played by Richard Gomez) who got killed on the pilot episode in the 2005 version, Dingdong's character gets much longer screentime as he is expected to stay on the show for some time.
5. The epic battle between the Hathors and the joined forces of the Sapiryan and Lirean warriors.
This was already seen in the trailer where the Hathors named Hagorn (John Arcilla), Agane (Rochelle Pangilinan), and Arvak (Roi Vinzon) engaged in a war with the warriors of Sapiro and Lireo, specifically Haring Armeo (Jestoni Alarcon), Raquim, Aquil (Rocco Nacino), Muros (Carlo Gonzalez), Alira Naswen (Julian Lee), and Asval (Neil Ryan Sese).
While the battle scene looked orchestrated (because of the firing squad formation), it was executed in such a way that elicits goosebumps for its sheer scale and scope.
THE VERDICT. We must credit the show’s director of photography and cameramen for utilizing different creative camera angles and techniques as it really contributed to the intensity and excitement that you will feel in the scene.
The 2016 version of Encantadia also takes a big leap when it comes to special effects. In fact, it utilized more CGIs and chroma effects.
One example is the fight scene between Marian and Sunshine, where you can see different colors and strokes as they unleash their superpowers. The four elemental gems are also now presented in CGI, unlike the original version where it still looked like real colored, glossy stones that are handheld. This is seen in the sequence where Cassiopeia cleaved the big hope gem, as the colors of the gems reflected in her eyes, and with whoever holds the gem.
Of course, Encantadia wouldn't be complete without the presence of the cable puppets, especially Imaw. It was previously reported that the puppet had a makeover as he looked younger in this version with less wrinkles. His younger appearance became more obvious as he already had several scenes during the pilot episode, along with Banak, Nakba, and others. Though it is already a known fact that the creatures in Adamya speak in a different language and tone, it can also be a bit distracting in dramatic moments, especially during the confrontation scene between Arvak and Imaw.
One of the factors that contributed to Encantadia 2005’s success is its musical scoring, in fact, it was even commended in the Asian Television Awards for Best Original Music Score. This requel did not disappoint when it comes to this aspect. The musical scorer seemed to compose different pieces suited to each kingdom since each had its own theme. Of course, the modernized, upbeat version of “Tadhana” also inensified the fight scenes.
The pilot episode already showed so much promise that director Mark Reyes, scriptwriter Suzette Doctolero and the people behind the telefantasya must maintain this momentum throughout its run, especially since the Kapuso program is slated to air until December 2016.
However, they must be careful with the pacing of the story, since the storytelling has a tendency to be too fast at times, and viewers might be left puzzled by some events, especially those involving flashback scenes.
Unlike the 2005 version where each episode is considered a new chapter or kabanata, several chapters were presented in a single episode, just like what Suzette did in her past teleserye, Amaya.
After the pilot episode, viewers will get to see more familiar sequences that are reminiscent of the original version.
This begs the question: how will Kylie Padilla, Gabbi Garcia, Sanya Lopez, Glaiza de Castro and the new batch of stars provide a fresh approach to the iconic characters of Encantadia?
This is a burning question that will be answered in future episodes of the epic telefantasya.
Encantadia is scheduled to air starting this Monday, July 18, on GMA Telebabad. The timeslot is still not announced, but it will replace Poor Senorita, which is down to its final week.
Ed's Note: The 'PEP Review' section carries the views of individual reviewers, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the PEP editorial team.