30/09/2011

Aurora (2011)

Aurora the Steampunk Film

Synopsis
Emerson Marks is the captain of the airship Aurora. His wife has been kidnapped by ruthless slave traders, and he goes on a daring rescue together with his crew.

Storyline   ★★★☆☆
South Australian indie filmmakers Urtext have released the Steampunk movie Aurora after 3½ years in the making. The movie doesn't specify the location where the action is taking place or if it's set in the past or the future, however the world they have created is rich and interesting.

The story is linear, with no twists or mysteries, but Emerson is given a cruel and difficult choice two thirds through the movie. He is a believable hero, not a larger than life smooth talking action man. There are no unnecessary heroics, but the scenes where the action takes place are great.

In Aurora's world slavery is normal and accepted, however despite it's subject matter the movie never gets preachy. Two thought provoking themes are touched lightly. The first is the choice between making a difference no matter how small against not doing anything at all. The second is how much is too high a price to pay to get what you want.

Sounds   ★★★★☆
The original soundtrack gives the movie an epic feel, and is available on Aurora the Film's YouTube channel. The movie's sound effects are also brilliant.

While watching this movie I had no problem understanding the actors' Australian accent. When cult Australian indie film Mad Max (1979) was released in the US the original actor's voices had to be dubbed because of the accent!

Visuals   ★★★★☆
The movie was filmed on eight locations with over 80 costumed extras, and features 375 VFX shots. Both the real and CGI locations are interesting, and the attention to detail is incredible.

I watched the movie at 1080p High Definition on full screen, and the CGI looks like it came out of a computer game, rather than a movie. It's also very obvious were the actors were shot against a green screen (although this is less noticeable at a lower resolution.) However this movie was shot on a shoestring budget of only $1,800 and isn't much worse than certain recent Hollywood movies with budgets thousands of times larger.

My favourite effects were the gunshots. When a musket is fired you get a small cloud of smoke and the whole screen shakes. If the shot misses it's target and hits a wall, a hole is blown out of it!

Steampunk Factor   ★★★★☆
I thought this movie would be full of Steampunk clich├ęs (in a good way), but it doesn't feature Victorian clothing or goggles. It does sport a fantastic airship, and one of the crew carries a huge wrench!

Final Verdict   ★★★★☆
The storyline is simplistic, but Aurora's world is fantastic and full of potential. The movie's sounds and visuals belie it's tiny budget. Watch it now in full screen!

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