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Aurora: Visually Appealing, but…

Not all that is expensive is impressive.

There is no doubt that this film is visually appealing especially the Aurora ship tragedy shots. Yam Laranas’s film Aurora could really boast of its technical and visual aspects. There is no doubt about that.

Landing as Second Best Picture at the recently concluded Gabi ng Parangal of the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) 2018 is already a testament that the film has achieved quite a landmark in Philippine cinema.

The film is top-billed by Anne Curtis and this could be her third attempt to have a box-office. First it was Sid & Aya: Not a Love Story then Buy Bust.

Breathtaking Shots.

The Laranas film really has proven once again that the Filipino talent can be world-class.

It has meticulously placed a ship that stuck after hitting a rock formation and left a horrific tragedy—killing hundreds of people due to overloading.

The two men played by Allan Paule and Marco Gumabao as Eddie, the local fisherman and Ricky, the other accomplice in Leana played by Curtis; had beautiful underwater scenes where they both dived into the deep. The rock formation beneath the ocean showed the beauty below.

Apart from the underwater scenes, those gigantic lapping waves gave the moviegoers a taste of what it is to be out there and feel the menace of it; how it caused the lives when the current pushed aside a human body to the thick and death-defying rocks.

The shots of the cliffs were also awesome and showed a certain aura of the place. Laranas knew exactly how to paint a scene that would evoke fear for its viewers.

It deserved its award Best Cinematography.

Chose to Highlight Cinematography than its Story.

was motivated to find the dead bodies in exchange of a reward for every corpse recovered from the sea tragedy.

Yes, it was for her to be able to save the inn that her parents left for her and her little sister. Personally, I got confused with what exactly Leana is really after? Is it really the money to save her dying business or to just be the heroine for those people who lost their loved ones or simply as protector of her little sister?

For me, Leana as the lead character who was determined to do everything; the story should have chosen a different route. What exactly was the film trying to convey? Is this a horror flick or a psychological drama?

By mere showing of souls who are still stuck in this world and couldn’t cross over after their tragic deaths were not scary, sure it gave some ‘shock’ scenes, but failed to pass as a horror story.

The shifting of scenes from the inn and into the sinking passenger ship was quite confusing. Did it represent Leana and her sister; sinking into a world that they have come to embrace—being hungry for money in order to survive?

There was no doubt why Curtis’s Leana lost to Gloria Romero’s Sylvia in Rainbow Sunset. It lacked the convincing factor for the audience to rally behind her. She cannot decide what she really wanted as a character.

A Good Start, but failed to sustain till the End.

The film has so much promise. It started grandly by painting a foreboding occurrence for the lead character and its supporting characters.

As a horror film, it lacked the suspense and it didn’t sustain the certain level of shock it may have tried to achieve. It was great to see dead people to represent horror factor, but they haven’t really made such a great impact.

The fear it created like the banging of stuff in the inn or the shattered window glasses; the appearance of the giant ghost seemed to be funny than scary. The struggles were mostly depicted by the non-significant characters. It was only the dead giant who was dominant in most of the scenes.

The story should have furthered the conflict of the giant’s dead father and him. The ship captain’s character was nothing but a cardboard. Most of the dead people who came to the house; their sense of history was too shallow to build up their respective characters.

No matter how grand the execution is, but when the very foundation of the film is sacrificed—that’s when everything will sink.

Aurora is a classic example of a well-wrapped Christmas present, but when the receiver of the gift opened it—only to discover an item that is ‘just compliant to give’ for the sake of the season of giving. It’s disappointing.

Again, the film is visually appealing in all its glory, but it’s not just about that.

Martin Scorsese once said, “Cinema is a matter of what’s in the frame and what’s out.”

Truly a film is a medium that has its magic of its own and it has the power to make the audience remember particular emotions or moods as the story may suggest, but with Aurora, it made less of those efforts. I personally couldn’t identify with Leana’s character; on what exactly is she really fighting for.

Laranas’s attempt to showcase the brilliance of Filipino people in cinematography was also the aspect that killed the storytelling of Aurora. Its grandness failed to hold together the minute details that made the story more solid and for the audience to resonate with as well.

Catch the film in cinemas. It is still showing as part of the MMFF 2018 run.


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