“Himala” is a film that needs no further introduction. It is one of few films that has received (and continues to receive) so many praises not only from Filipinos but also from foreign film critics. Though this film starring Nora Aunor was first released several decades ago, the famed and often-parodied “Walang Himala” line remains to be etched in the hearts and minds of many Filipinos.
I first saw “Himala” on ABS-CBN’s Holy Week special some few years back. I remember that “Himala” is a staple part of the network’s Holy Week line-up since time immemorial.
One thing I clearly remember about the film (pre-restoration), aside from Nora’s exceptionally expressive eyes, is how bad the quality of the print was. A huge portion of the screen was dedicated for subtitles. There were subtitles on both sides of the screen and at the bottom. Dust, scratches and black lines prohibited me from fully appreciating the film. It was like watching a film shot in black and white because the colors were truly faded. Though the film was dubbed in post-production, the sound was still horrible.
Thirty years after Himala’s first release, ABS-CBN took the initiative to restore and remaster this notable film. With help of new technology, ABS-CBN and the Central Digital Lab were able to make it appear as if “Himala” was shot in recent years.
After its limited run in select cinemas last year, the digitally restored and remastered “Himala” is now available on DVD. Upon hearing about the DVD, I immediately stormed to the mall and fought through crowds just to get myself a copy.
The result of this restoration project was astounding. I was sincerely impressed. There were no dust, no scratches, and no annoying subtitles except from English. The color grading was done tastefully although there were inconsistencies in some scenes. The audio quality also improved. It was really like watching a recently shot film.
You’ll definitely get goosebumps when you see it!
Aside from the carefully restored and remastered “Himala,” the DVD is also full of special features. You can turn on the audio commentary track while watching the film. You can also watch the “Himala Ngayon Documentary,” “Restoring Himala” feature and the film trailer. You have to watch them all.
The digitally restored and remastered “Himala” on DVD is now available on record stores nationwide for only P399 a copy. It is definitely worth it. You shouldn’t wait another Holy Week just to watch this gem. Buy the DVD and be ready to be impressed.
I am now waiting for the release of the restored “Oro, Plata, Mata!”