Dir: Christopher Kulikowski
Star: Christopher Stapleton, Markus Botnick, David Jean Thomas
Cert / Year: 15 / 1998
Format: DVD R2

Seven astronauts are on an exploration mission to be the first to visit Earth's nearest neighbour, the planet Aurora. However on entering orbit things go badly wrong and their ship crashes. The crew survive but they now face a gruelling 300 mile trek across a baron and inhospitable planet to reach their supply pods. With boiling days and freezing nights and with limited supplies of food and water this will be a true test of survival.

Hold on! Space exploration mission, ship crashes, no supplies, trek for survival isn't this that giant space turkey that was Red Planet. Well no this would be better described as Red Planet's penniless third cousin. Ok, so by now most of you have clicked onto the next review, but lets give it a chance. Remember budget isn't everything look at Velocity Trap, or Trancers. Both of these films had small budgets and weren't bad.

Well sorry to get your hopes up but Aurora isn't a budget classic. It's not that it's remarkably bad. It isn't even that its so bad it's funny. No, it's just boring. Actually to describe it better would be boring, boring, boring. Now if I repeated the word boring so that it would take you an hour and a half to read it, that is about how interesting watching this film is.

The story consists of five guys (one is D.O.A. and the other is abandoned) walking across a desert planet. Well I say desert planet; it is Nevada shot through coloured gels. Occasionally they bicker, sometimes they sit in a tent, but that's about it. There are rare lulls in the tedium, like for example the magnetic storm, but these are few and far between. In fact now I come to think about it they consist of just the magnetic storm. Trust me your interest will die long before they do.

I understand the budget wouldn't stretch to aliens or robots or even to scenery but some effort may have been made to spice things up. For example having a whole male cast is a waste. A woman could have added a bit of sexual tension. What about natural perils, like sinking sand or a cliff face to traverse. Or how about one of the astronauts being saboteur, or a murderer. There are loads of possibilities that would have added to the story and saved this film, unfortunately none of them were used. This film is just poor, and for once this has nothing to do with the budget.

Aurora is a wasted opportunity. It could have been a nice little sci-fi thriller. The cast is a bit non-descript but aren't awful and the direction isn't that bad. It's just if you are going to make a film you must ensure you have a story to tell. It's just not good enough to go to the desert and wander round a bit. A small budget doesn't mean that you will make a bad film, even in the science fiction genre. A good story will work even without the backing of I.L.M.'s effects. In fact sometimes major blockbusters forget story and just have the effects and that doesn't work either. But the makers behind Aurora didn't seem to appreciate this, so at the end of the day they leave us with no reason to watch this film. If you want a space survival story I suggest you look out the excellent Lifepod. Its budget wasn't much bigger however the end result is very different.


A Brave New World... A Struggle For Survival.

Rating: 1/2 out of 5

Picture 4:3 Picture too bad. It's cropped and a little grainy.
Audio Sterio Passable, but it doesn't have anything to do.
Features None
Verdict The disc was free on a magazine, and as such makes for a cost effective drinks coaster.

Rating: 0 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Back Top Home