the years - since 1950 - seven different actresses played Darna on the
big screen (plus a few others brought the character to television).
Vilma Santos portrayed the Filipino superhero more than anybody else;
she was Darna four times between 1970-1980. This film was her final
appearance as the superhero [following DARNA
AND THE PLANET WOMEN] and would be the most ambitious of the
series, running 118 minutes. It would also be the last official Darna
film before Anjanette Abayari rebooted the character for the movie DARNA!
THE RETURN in 1994.
film begins with a retelling of Darnas origin [one dark night,
a mysterious alien force visits Earth and tells Narda that she has been
chosen to "save mankind from evil," by giving her the ability
of transforming into a powerful superheroine named Darna after
consuming a magic white stone] . This prologue is followed by a series
of episodes - some brief, some much longer - which include an encounter
with her archenemy Hawk-Woman, a giant Neanderthal, Nazi doctor Vontedberg
and her zombies [the longest segment, 56 minutes], vicious escaped convicts,
and Chinese sorceress Lei Ming who kidnaps children for her doll collection.
the title suggests, Darna's brother Ding has a bigger roll here [although
not particularly cumbersome]. He is played by popular child actor Nino
Muhlach (his parents owned D'Wonder Films, the production
studio). But make no mistake, this movie belongs to Vilma Santos. She
owns every scene and remains the quintessential Darna. Ultimately, while
much grander than other Darna films [arguably, bloated],
it's rather typical Filipino fare with a combination of horror, action
and slapstick. A certain crowd-pleaser for the Philippines, but perhaps
a bit too cheeky for Western audiences.
Filipino film with optional ON/OFF English subtitles. 118 min, widescreen,
DVD encoded for ALL REGION NTSC WORLD FORMAT; extras include selected