Coronado (2003)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Coronado</strong> (2003)

(On DVD, February 2012) Anyone who chooses to see this film based on the fact that it’s “from the special effects team of Independence Day” has little moral recourse to complain about a weak script (which is supposed to portray a subjective story, but ends up including sequences with third-parties), tepid directing and a film that seems largely designed to showcase special-effects sequences.  Proudly and loudly wearing its low-budget pedigree (with occasional self-aware smirks at its own limitations), Coronado won’t impress anyone looking for a compelling dramatic experience.  Real-world verisimilitude isn’t one of Coronado‘s strong points as chunks of the film are deeply dumb, whether it’s the US selling advanced V-22 Osprey prototypes to rebel forces or a fighter jet firing a missile on a wooden bridge.  On the other hand, it’s not a film to dismiss lightly: Despite the lame dialogues, badly-built scenes and unconvincing actors, it’s also a film that consciously attempts to show an adventure the likes of which are rarely seen in bigger-budgeted pictures.  Kristin Dattilo’s grinning turn as the heroine looking for her deceiving husband deep in a Central America country is also better than what you may expect from such a film. Reportedly shot for a miserly budget of only five million dollars, Coronado uses special effects to stretch the limits of its storytelling to a scale that is usually attempted by films with at least ten times the resources.  The illusion isn’t seamless (no points will be awarded for spotting what’s CGI and what’s not) but it’s ambitious, and it allows the filmmakers the freedom to tell a much bigger story than is the norm for direct-to-video efforts.  The DVD is a bit lame for skimping on the English subtitles, but the rest of the features show the resourcefulness of the production team in using special effects to extend a low-budget production.  The best audiences for this film are those who can appreciate a bit of film-making ingenuity, and be generous enough to see what the film intended rather than what’s on-screen.

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