Rant and Rave: Kimmy Dora— Ang Kiyemeng Prequel

During the holidays you’re happy, you have more hope that the next year would be nicer to you and nothing else gets to you except for hamonado and that feeling of unyielding jovial or “good vibes” that naturally pops up the most during this season. So there’s probably nothing wrong with spending a thousand or more to get the whole family to watch a local holiday film that is brought to us by the same people who can’t even stop people from crossing the islands in the middle of Taft, is there? Who cares? It’s the holidays!

Image courtesy of Spring Films

But why is the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) done every December since 1975? Were the intentions of MMFF 39 years ago the same as today?

Anyway, Kimmy Dora: Ang Kiyemeng Prequel; before the adventures of Kimmy and Dora in the first two films, Kimmy Dora: Kambal sa Kiyeme and Kimmy Dora and the Temple of Kiyeme, this prequel is supposedly what happened. Kimmy (Eugene Domingo), a summa cum laude graduate from Cambridge and Dora (Eugene Domingo) a graduate from acting school, are brought by their father Luisito Go Dong Hae (Ariel Ureta) to his mega-corporation to become interns who are to start from the bottom (literally) and work their way up. The twins’ internship, guided by the good-looking and mysterious Rodin Bartoletti (Sam Milby), emphasize more and more the difference of Kimmy and Dora as they become elevator girls, call center agents and even bodyguards. But as an unexpected hooded figure named Bogart starts to tarnish the name of the Go Dong Hae franchises, the twins become the only hope of the company.

The first movie is a comedic success; the idea was fresh and the lineup of actors was superb. But Eugene Domingo was the one who made all the material and elements shine. Not only did Kimmy Dora set the bar for Ms. Domingo, she made that bar her turf and even pushed it higher and higher the more she did other projects. One thing that made it stand out was the fact that the twins had to think and act like the other which sold the whole film, thanks to Domingo and writer Chris Martinez’s sharp and witty one-liners. They had to be their twin to get what they need and this made them seem more relatable and actually express more their own characters.

The second movie is where Martinez (writer of the three films and the director of Ang Kiyemeng Prequel) played with genres by mixing horror and comedy. Although the film looked messy and remained unable to follow the luster of its predecessor, Ang Temple Ng Kiyeme is still the fifteenth of the highest-grossing Filipino films of all time.

As much as the first two movies of the franchise have already stretched the contrasting characters of Kimmy and Dora through excellent slapstick and satire, it did not seem to be enough for Martinez, who has been promoted to the director’s chair. Prequels may give the director and writer freedom to do anything with a franchise’s characters, but the challenge of some of its elements still being consistent with its other films is as important as entertaining and having quality material (Hello, Enteng).

What made Kiyemeng Prequel so predictable is the fact that it made the most obvious things its selling point: Kimmy and Dora’s differences. The first two films were enough means to deliver the message that yes, Kimmy and Dora are from polar worlds, and the audience already gets this even if they watch just one of the films. The prequel, using the internship of Kimmy and Dora, stretched on for too long about the distinction of the twins that the scenes felt so long and the jokes really corny. This is what the first two films have highlighted too much, and something different would have been a bigger treat seeing how a prequel is supposed to give its producers the liberty to go even crazier. There is just so much that could have been done with the prequel not just to emphasize Kimmy and Dora’s carnal urges.

What did go crazy in Kiyemeng Prequel, though, is its clean and vibrant production design. What the film lacks in sharp wit, it got back with its imaginative production design. Cameos are also known to be a staple in all Kimmy Dora films, so seeing Paulo Avelino, Sam Concepcion, Tippy Dos Santos and Piolo “Papa P” Pascual is not really a surprise.

Just like MMFF, Kimmy Dora oversaw everything that it could have done that would have made the product better. A good set of actors in a film is not enough to make it good if the material is predictable and overused, just as much as a film festival can be truly called a successful film festival if all it chose are moneymakers. Let’s ask ourselves this: Would the MMFF earn as much if it was done in the middle of the year?

Rating: 2.5/4.0
Arielle Poblete

By Arielle Poblete

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