Category Archives: Fantasy

Baahubali 2: The Conclusion Review

Baahubali 2: The Conclusion Review – Baahubali 2 is a Telugu historical fantasy fiction released in 2017. This movie is a sequel to the Baahubali: The Beginning released in 2015. Shivdu, after rescuing his mother from the prison has to take over Mahishmati kingdom by defeating Bhallaladeva to regain his father’s glory. The movie is also released in Tamil, Malayalam, and Hindi as well.

More than Shivdu’s plight, the expectation has turned towards the reason as to why Kattappa had killed Baahubali. There are no much surprises here. I am not going to reveal it and spoil the fun for you.  The movie is an out and out visual grandeur with a lot of war sequences. The visual effects are quite stunning with some great production quality. Rajamouli is a true magician for he makes everything believable and when you sort of think logic he has slipped in emotions for you to overlook it.  Prabhas, Ramyakrishnan and Sathyaraj have a more elaborate role to play in this edition. Anushka plays a younger avatar and the love interest of Amarendra Baahubali. Rana’s performance comes only in the second half of the movie.

Certain key sequences in the movies have been done really well. The initial war sequence in Anushka’s palace, the pivotal scene of Kattappa killing Baahubali, the interval block. All these sorts of gives you goosebumps.  There are many minimum guarantee cliched sequences as well in an attempt to please a wider variety of audiences like the introduction of Prabhas, catapulting using a Palm tree, the final war sequence. Despite these the movie still keeps you engaged for the 2 hours 47 minutes of run time. The creative touch in the titles using brass statue figures to cover the highlights of the first part of the movie is brilliant.

One of the key element I look forward to in Rajamouli’s movies is the characterisation. The stand out is the characterisation of Rajamaata and Amarendra Baahubali. Rana and Anushka’s characters have been constructed well. I felt Kattappa’s characterization has mellowed down from the first part. He fills in for the role of hero’s sidekick in the first half of the movie. While the performance is enjoyable, but having seen Kattappa fierce fully jumping on his enemies to save Sivagami this did not go well for me. While focussing on visual grandeur the script loses the emphasis on drama. For instance, Anushka trying to practice with two arrows just passes through subtle when compared to Shivdu’s irresistible desire to climb the mountain in the first part. You could see many instances where the script hasn’t given any time for you to soak in the drama of the scene. Whenever the drama is created even fewer instances it is quite a treat to watch for instance Bhallaladeva stopping his father from speaking in the meeting and letting him loose at an opportune moment, the crown ceremony during the interval block.

The climax fight looked to be a cloying overdose of special effects and emotions.

High Points: Visual Effects, the interval block as in the first part, Prabhas, Rana, Ramyakrishnan and Sathyaraj’s performance, the initial war sequences, Kattappa killing Baahubali.

Low Points: Cliched sequences of the hero worship. The BGM scores well in key sequences otherwise it was a forgettable affair for me. Kattapa’s character transformation to be hero’s sidekick performing comical acts. The Catapulting sequence using palm trees.

Overall Baahubali 2 is a much greater visual grandeur compared to its prequel. In a haste to cater to formalities, it fails to bring in the punch like its prequel. Nevertheless, it is a treat to watch this on the big screen.

Worth a Watch

 

 

Puli Review

Puli Review – Puli is a Tamil fantasy adventure movie released in 2015. Many years ago a superior race known as Vedhalam had won wars over the human race in India and ruled them. The atrocities of their general  in the kingdom caused misery to people’s life. Circumstances lead an adopted son of a village chief to take on the might of the Vedhalam race.

There has been enough negative trolling on Puli review on the social media. This increased my curiosity to watch Puli and understand why it could have gone so bad. This review is my take on Puli and an unbiased opinion.

Director Chimbu Deven had treated us with periodic movie Imsai Arasan 23 am Pulikesi. He has now experimented with periodic fantasy movie. Post the era of Vittalacharya there has not been any successful attempt in Tamil Cinema on any fantasy adventure. Even if it had been it has not become wildly successful. Most of the Tamil filmmakers stayed out of this genre for quite some time. The financial budget and relevance of such stories in the modern era should have been the fear.

Vijay and Chimbu Deven should be lauded for going beyond the usual mass masala movie to create a fantasy adventure. It is definitely a welcome change to Tamil Cinema. However where the movie has gone bad is in the script writing department. The plot was in place which has similarities to 1948 classic Vedhala Ulagam starring T.R Mahalingam directed by A.V Meiyappan, Pa. Neelakantan and M.V Raman. Many of the trollers in social media may not have been aware of such a movie which was a mass entertainer of its time and beats many of the fantasy movie stories that are out there in the west.

In the movie Puli the writers have fallen prey to push mass masala film elements which seem out of place. The dual between Sudeep and Viay is one of the important portions of the movie. Sudeep says,  “Intha kottaikke Thalapathy naan thaan” and Vijay replies “Intha kottaikkuthane…” looks very cliched and out of place for the movie. The film is filled with such cliches throughout including the dance numbers that doesn’t fit the genre of the movie barring one song which happens in the Kingdom.

The first half of the movie is long and boring. I felt why did I come for this movie. The scenes were too disconnected, the artists eye line match was out of place in many occasions. This is sure to test your patience and by the time the interval block comes it would have disconnected the audience from the movie. The second half of the movie which seems to be the actual story which the director wanted to convey is sure to engage you in a much better fashion. Thanks to the characterisation of Sudeep and Sridevi who help in making the movie watchable. If someone walked into the movie hall just for the second half they might be wondering why people are upset about the movie. Shruthi Haasan and Hansika are just used for glamor quotient. The songs are more jarring to the years than being pleasant.

The big plus for the movie is the production design by T. Muthuraj. He has aesthetically created some of the sets which looks grand and help you connect to the movie. Also, the VFX department has worked hard to add more grandeur to Muthuraj’s set.

High Points: A fantasy adventure genre for Tamil Cinema, Sridevi’s performance, Muthuraj’s production design, Mannavane Mannavane song choreography, Talking birds, frog, Lilliputs would entice kids.

Low Points: Screenplay is a big let down, Cliched mass elements in the movie, Songs and choreography, Title of the movie doesn’t fit in well, There should have been much more creativity in differentiating Vedhalam race and human race, Long and boring first half.

In 2002 Rajinikanth tried a different genre in Baba and it failed when it released in theaters, but later the home audiences enjoyed watching the movie on their TV sets once it was edited and all expectations died down. Vijay’s Puli is one such movie. When it comes on TV hopefully with some of the cliches edited the home audience would like it.

Overall Puli is a wannabe fantasy adventure movie that works in parts in the second half. A better script writing would have helped it to appeal to the audience. Still it is not as bad a movie as it is being trolled about, it could be watched when played on TV.

Wait for DVD/TV

Baahubali – The Beginning Review

Baahubali – The Beginning Review – Baahubali – The Beginning is a Telugu is a historical fiction movie released in 2015. The film is the first of a two part series. Shivdu is found on the riverside and is raised by a small tribe family; he always wants to climb the big mountain near the village against the wish of his mother. He is able to do it when he grows up; this leads him to his roots from where had come from.

5 tablespoons of Mahabharat, one tablespoon of Ramayan and one tablespoon of masala ingredients from high packed action movies mixed well together. The dish that comes out of the above ingredients is what is Baahubali in a nutshell. Although it is made of the ingredients that we have tasted before, the dish is well prepared and fulfills our appetite like a grand feast. Director SS Rajamouli has dreamt big and kudos to him and his team to bring such a visual grandeur to the silver screen. The breath taking visuals, a native story, stunning fight choreography, powerful characterization all these make Baahubali a very compelling watch. The movie stays true to its promotion and what it had promised to offer; a historical fantasy story painted on an expensive canvas. Every frame has visual grandeur in it, right from the formidable falls to the large battlefield. Many of the characters and situations resemble many of the Indian mythology stories you would have heard but putting them in this combination is interesting. Prabhas, Anushka, Sathyaraj, Nassar, Ramyakrishnan, Rana Daggupati, Tamanna all of them have performed very well. Peter Hein’s stunt choreography is one of the highlights of the movie.

High Points: The narration, visual effects and characterization of Baahubali, Bhallala Deva, Kattappa and Sivagami shine in this first installment. The interval block for the movie was really powerful and is the high point in the movie for me.

Low Points: There are definitely some low points. There is very less differentiation between Shivdu and Baahubali. You don’t feel they are two different characters. There have been some sequences to please the fanfare on the opening day of the movie, which could have been avoided. The background score for such a visually stunning film was a bit let down for me.

Overall Baahubali is a visual treat, though it is a story you would have heard a million times still it is very interesting when SS Rajamouli narrates it. This one is a milestone in Indian Cinema and a Must watch for all Indian movie lovers.

Must Watch

Big Hero 6 Review

Big Hero 6 Review – Big Hero 6 is an American animated superhero movie released in 2014. This movie is based on the Marvel Comics of the same name. A 14 year old genius and robotic expert Hiro Hamada has to form a super hero team to fight a villain who is suspected to have played a role in his brother’s death.

If you have read the comics you might already know what you would need to expect from the movie. However if you haven’t then one of the things you might need to know is this is not yet another animation movie that targets kids with a good moral message like Wall E, UP, Frozen, Brave and so on. There is no such thing this Big Hero 6 conveys. The movie is more of a super hero movie than that of a kid’s animation movie. During the break one of the kid exclaimed to her mom that she couldn’t understand the movie. If we are looking this more from a superhero movie angle then it has all the ingredients that would entice you. The animation is of great quality and the characters are all sketched very well. The health care robot Baymax is very cute and the scenes involving the interactions between Hiro and Baymax are funny and would make you laugh. The initial portions of the movie are more enjoyable than the climax itself. The climax is large and involves destruction on a large scale and reminded me of the Avengers and Man of Steel climax. This large scale destruction has now become a trademark for superhero movies. The movie revolves more around Hiro and Baymax. There is little space for the other four characters which I believe would be more prominent in the upcoming editions. The movie does have a post credit sequence which promises a premise for the next edition. So don’t leave the theater before the end of credits.

Overall Big Hero 6 has all the elements to entertain you and keep you engaged for 100 minutes. If you are a fan of Superhero and animation movies then don’t miss this one.

Watchable

Irandaam Ulagam

Irandaam Ulagam – is a Romance and Fantasy Tamil movie released in 2013.  The story happens in parallel across two planets Earth and an unknown planet. The unknown planet is inhabited by people who are like humans and still ruled by Kings. There is greed, fear, slavery and war spread over the race and there is absence of Love. The divine mother in the race believes a true love would bring in peace and build culture to the race. Meanwhile in Earth a medical student and a mathematician fall in love. At one point of time the two worlds connect and there is an opportunity to establish true love to the extra-terrestrial race. Was true love established, did it bring in order to their world is the rest of the plot.

Have you ever woken from a dream and thought how strange it was? That is the feeling you would get after watching Irandaam Ulagam. It is a never seen story line and canvas for Tamil Cinema. Selvaraghavan should be lauded for thinking of such a story line and putting in efforts to bring it on screen. Where the movie falters is in the screenplay and dialogues. You talk about true, divine love and hear dialogues of what you would hear in movies like 7G Rainbow Colony, Kadhal Kondaen it kind of creates a clichéd product output. He could have completely avoided that for this movie as it did not fit the bill. The movie doesn’t let you engage with it for long as too many things are happening on screen that is ethereal in nature. It is hard to make films of such demanding visual effects and still make it commercially viable for Tamil Cinema. Unfortunately that is harsh reality and our film makers are caught in this dilemma currently. To make this work, pre-production as a discipline should get well established in the industry to pre-plan and prototype good enough output that is convincing to the audience. This movie has done that to a good extent but they have missed out big time on casting, make up and detailing. Till this is got right there will be a disconnect. Overall the movie has taken the same route as what Baba took, its struggle to tell a compelling message to the audience vs trying to force in commercial elements into it. If you are willing to keep the distractions away and able to see the actual message that has been told and appreciate the efforts of a film maker to bring his dream on to the screen then you should definitely watch this once if not you can skip it.

Note: Please read the review completely before taking a call

Can Skip it – unless you are willing look beyond the on screen performances for the deep message in the movie.

 

Thor: The Dark World

Thor: The Dark World – is a Marvel Superhero movie released in 2013. Eons back Bor, grandfather of Thor defeats the dark elves and safeguards their deadly weapon Aether which has the potential to destroy the universe in a stone column. In the present time the dark elves lead by Malekith awaken with the accidental release of the weapon Aether. They now launch their assault on Asgard and are out to destroy the universe as the event of convergence of the Nine worlds nears. Thor has to save Asgard, the earth and the entire universe. Was Thor able to do it… ? is the plot of this sequel to the Thor movie.

When the dark evil forces arise and threatens to destroy the world, a superhero comes to save the world. This is a template of any superhero movie and the creators do not have much levy to change this. What they could creatively play around with is the sequence of events that would lead through the story. If they are not able to engage the audience with interesting sequences then the movie becomes a boring one. This movie is on the borderline. Parts of the movie, particularly the portions involving Loki are very engaging. Tom Hiddleston has done a very good job of playing the role of Loki and lifts the tempo of the movie. Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman have done what the script has asked for. Like any of the modern day super hero flicks there is mass destruction, makes one feel gone are those days when super heroes saved innocent people from great perils while the modern day super heroes are more concerned about their loved ones. Overall the movie deserves a one time watch if you are a Thor fan. And don’t miss, there are 2 post credit sequences at the end.

What you may like: Loki’s characterization, visual effects, post credit teasers

What you may not like: Usual superhero plot, slow paced first half, Not as racy as its prequel

Watchable – for the characterization of Loki

Brave

Brave – An animation fantasy film from Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney. A princess takes a brave step to follow her heart against the will of her mother. In an effort to change her mother’s heart the steps she takes results in unforeseen circumstances that threatens to lose her mother forever. She races against time to mend what she had done… Did she succeed? Was she able to change her Mothers heart?… is the story of Brave.

This is the first fairy tale from Pixar. The screenplay is slick and builds up to the message that you would see in many of the Pixar movies “Follow your Heart”. Although the usual message, the movie stands out of the crowd for the way it is presented. This movie won the Academy Award for the best animated feature film in the year 2012. The visuals are stunning and they have recreated the landscape of Scotland in computer generated images. The amount of complexity of the visuals had posed a challenge to the Pixar Studios and they rewrote their entire animation system. The result is a visual treat. They did not stop with the visuals but they also employed Dolby Atmos sound technology for the first time. This sound technology  is picking up very fast in the Indian film industry as well. Shivaji 3D, Vishwaroopam, Anybody Can Dance adopted this sound technology and there are many more to join this bandwagon soon. For the stunning visuals and a wonderful fairy tale this is a Must Watch

Must Watch – for Animation Fans