Sunday, November 11, 2012

Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles


A pregnant Sonia (Lovi Poe) leaves her boyfriend and flees to her parents to the province. Macoy (Dingdong Dantes) pursues her and tries his best to win her back despite the strong and persistent disapproval of her nagger of a mother (Janice de Belen) and the indifference of her father (Joey Marquez). To make matters worse, the piglet he gifts them as a peace offering is actually a shape shifting aswang planning to have their unborn child for dinner. Together with sidekick Bart (Ramon Bautista) who is harboring a secret of his own, Macoy defends the family from the army of aswang whose ire they have attracted, all in the hopes of making it out alive and starting anew.

I guess it is no longer a surprise to always expect something visually stunning from Erik Matti and actually leave the cinema satisfied. This movie is like a comic book that has come to life, with the utilization of green screen maximized to render backgrounds that are as comic book perfect as they could ever be. The CGI is also truly impressive, almost without fault.

The only possible point of contention when it comes to the effects would be the movement of the aswang in their full form, but even that is forgivable because the director immediately makes up for it through other visual spectacles, one way or another. The fight scenes might not be that well-choreographed, but the director makes it a point to make them look more epic than they should be. Erik Matti is the closest thing we have to Sam Raimi, or dare I say, Guillermo del Toro. No one else could probably render such smooth CGI as well as he does, at least in this country.

The story is definitely not the best element here. Taking a hint from folklore and local traditions, garlic and salt are employed ad nauseam. Boy Bawang and Lipps appear for a cameo. Lacking in some aspects when it comes to plot development, this factor easily takes the back seat and gives way, most of the time, to focus on the technical aspects, which are just difficult to ignore.

The dialogue relies on comedy to be effective, and while not everyone would be raving about it or even get the brand of humor evident, at least the movie is neither that pretentious nor claims to be anything more than what it really is. Besides, for something that elevates the technical aspects of local film making to new heights, it would not really be that hard to be forgiving.

This movie could have been a good thriller given the director's ingenuity when it comes to special effects (those aswang do look terrifying when they are not funny), but watching a comedy that is actually funny and visually enthralling to boot is not necessarily a bad thing. I have to say that I really enjoyed this one in spite of its shortcomings.

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