REVIEW: La Luna Sangre begins with mesmerizing might

The initial episodes of a series normally give context or meaning to succeeding episodes of a series.

But for the much-awaited La Luna Sangre, the first two episodes were more than just premiere episodes. They were masterpieces in itself; a breathtaking sensory delight with hypnotic storytelling that captivated viewers.

And yes, it was more than the biggest ensemble cast the series flaunted, it was how they delivered their portrayals—sometimes too riveting and identifiable, and incredibly natural.

Impressive young leads

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But we are most impressed with how the child leads fared—the young Tristan (Justin James Quilantang) and the young Malia (Erika Clemente), who really stood out and moved us to tears. These kids held their own against these big-name castmembers, even taking the spotlight with their deeply felt portrayals.

In fact, the decision to cast them as the young Malia and Tristan was so impeccably spot-on, you won’t find it hard to transition to their eventual older counterparts, played by Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla, given how they resemble their famous future selves even to the point of mannerisms.

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Angel Locsin and John Lloyd Cruz, meanwhile, proved their impressive stature as among the country’s top actors by really taking their characters Lia and Mateo to the highest peaks and the deepest recesses of their hearts—especially enjoying those moments as normal humans, without supernatural powers of the Chosen werewolf and the most formidable vampire.

Unconditional love

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We all so felt it when they “sacrificed” their powers for the sake of Malia, whom they “resurrected” after having been born lifeless. We felt the unconditional love and their affection towards their daughter, whom they treasure so much.

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But the same cannot be said for Tristan, who lives in the same barrio. He is witty, wily, and street smart, yet incessantly berated by a punitive father, Tonio (Romnick Sarmenta), a former Luna weakened and disabled by the previous battles he fought against evil werewolves and vampires.

It’s a contrast that we actually appreciate so much as the tale proceeded so mesmerizingly clear, even if the nature of a fantasy series like this would tend to introduce a complicated mesh of plots and subplots. But director Cathy Garcia-Molina made that incredible narrative of werewolves, vampires and humans so comprehensible to digest—even very close to home, and close to our hearts.

Seamless character introduction

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Each character was introduced so seamlessly and naturally in the story. Nothing is forced. Viewers organically understood where they were coming from, where they are and where they are headed.

Especially when Malia and Tristan first met under the full moon and felt the power they have within as their hands touched. And the prophesy of Malia is first revealed, being the daughter of the Chosen werewolf and the most powerful vampire, destined to slay the supreme vampire.

No wordy voice-over narrations or long, pompous backstories or throwbacks. And this vampire is definitely impressive. The entry of Sandrino came at the right moment—when unexplained vampire attacks and killings that went against the very foundation of La Liga Unida, wherein vampires, werewolves and humans coalesce and collaborate in harmony and peace. Indeed the dawning of a new war is at hand.

Cunning and remarkable

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With Richard Gutierrez’s incredible persona, his take on this ghastly character has been so cunning and remarkable.

What made it even more compelling to watch was the visual treat it offers. Stunning cinematic camera work, special effects, and production design, with of course the promise of spine-tingling action set to explode adding to the show’s appeal.

And this is just the beginning. With the way the story is crafted and how more characters will emerge truly make everyone look forward to each new episode every weeknight after FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano on Primetime Bida.