Category Archives: SciFi

24 Review

24 Review – 24 is a Tamil science fiction thriller released in 2016. A scientist named Sethuraman invents a time travel watch.  His twin brother Athreya after the watch and kills him. But before he dies Sethuraman sends  his infant son and the watch in a train.  Was Athreya able to get his watch back? what happened to Sethuraman’s son?… is the rest of the story.

The plot had a very interesting premise that has not been handled in Tamil cinema so much. The biggest positive of the movie is the plot and the belief of the makers in making this into a full-length movie. The production quality is very good. The visuals and frame construction are well done. The character of Athreya has come out well and Suriya has done it well. There are brilliant moments in the movie. The initial chase sequence, the interval block and the sequence in which Mani (Sethuraman’s son) learns the capabilities of the watch.

The biggest weak point in the movie is the screenplay. It is a big let down. But for 45 minutes the movie seizes to be a Sci-Fi thriller and sets its course to become a romantic comedy movie. I felt I was watching a totally different movie. The entire angle of Samantha and her family seem to be force fitted into the screenplay to let the movie go forward. An ensemble of actors in Samantha’s family was largely underutilized including Girish Karnad. The second weak point is the dialogue. Seems like the makers were too carried away to make Athreya’s dialogues perfect that they did not have time to polish other’s dialogues. There are a lot of sequences where the same dialogue is repeated too often and causes displeasure. In particular, the romance portion between Samantha and Suriya the dialogues are way too off.

High Points: The plot involving time travel, Production quality, costumes and Art design. The initial chase sequence. Suriya’s performance. The sequence where Suriya learns about the capabilities of the watch. A R Rahman’s score makes it very pleasant.

Low Points: Screenplay is a big let down. Repeated dialogues make it uninteresting. Weak characterization as only time has been spent on building Athreya’s character. Overload of characters without much screentime. Very less time spent on Sci-Fi genre.

Overall 24 ends up to be a wanna be Sci-Fi thriller that only entices in parts. If I had the watch I would go back in time and not book the tickets for the movie rather wait for it to be screened on TV.

Wait for DVD/TV

The Martian Review

The Martian Review – The Martian is an American science fiction film released in 2015. During a manned mission to Mars, the base is hit by a Martian storm. They are forced to abandon the machine and lose one of the crew member Mark Watney in the storm and presumed to be dead. But Mark survives and has to find a way to survive till he gets a help in 4 years. Does he survive is the plot of The Martian.

Director Ridley Scott has struck the right chord yet again to give a movie that is thoroughly entertaining and also appeals to your intelligence. I was not very much impressed with Exodus Gods and Kings, but The Martian makes it up for all. The movie would remind you of many lost alone movies like Cast Away and also the space movies like Gravity and Interstellar. The story is a compelling tale of human perseverance against all the odds.

There is a lot of scientific accuracy behind many of the incidents that take place and a few in which they have taken some creative liberty to bring in dramatic elements. The movie is based on Andy Weir’s novel in the same name. Ridley Scott has chosen to focus on the determination and survival of a person more and let the scientific theories run in the background.  This is one of the greatest strengths of the movie which makes it a widely appealing flick. Matt Damon has performed very well and this would be one of his most remembered movies.

High Points: The movie is based on a best-selling Novel, The  screenplay captures the essence of human perseverance, The visuals of the Martian planet, Matt Damon’s performance, Scientific theories and their accuracy.

Low Points: Not many low points, the climax I felt was a bit over dramatic.

Overall The Martian is a space movie that you would enjoy as you have enjoyed Gravity and Interstellar. The movie keeps you engaged for two and a half hour and is a trip worth taking when it is in theaters.

Must Watch

Netru Indru Naalai Review

Netru Indru Naalai Review – Netru Indru Naalai is a Tamil science fiction comedy film released in 2015. Elango and his friend Pulivetti Arumugam chance upon a time traveling device sent from the future and uses it make a successful business. But things go hay wire when they alter some undesired things in the past.

A science fiction movie in Tamil is always not a viable commercial option. It takes a lot more to make it appealing to the general mass. While many of the makers are hesitant to take up one debutante director Ravikumar. R should be lauded for his efforts in making a science fiction movie in Tamil and yet making it with wide appeal. If you have seen movies like Back to the future then this concept may not be new to you, however the brilliance of the script is in adapting the time machine to Indian context.

Vishnu and Karunakaran combo strike very well. The sequences involving them are hilarious.  The makers have created some similarities to the english movies which I think is intentional. Like the design of the time machine resembles the device from the movie The Time Machine released in 1960 and the scientist Parthasarathy resembles Doc Brown from Back to the Future movie series.

The way the time traveling concept is explained to people should be appreciated as it is simple and neat. When the scientist take out all the time traveling books like theory of relativity, a brief history of time to help the lead characters understand it, they ask him to explain it in simple terms. Thats how the screenplay handles it.

High Points: The screenplay is easy on people without much complications, The comedy has worked very well, A time travel movie in Tamil is a welcome change.

Low Points: Dragging screenplay in parts, in particular when the romance angle of the lead characters are portrayed. This slows down the pace.

Overall there is lot to enjoy in this movie. Although it is not talking about any new scientific theory, the screenplay makes it an enjoyable ride between the present, past and the future.

Worth a Watch 

Jurassic World Review

Jurassic World Review – Jurassic World is an American science fiction adventure movie released in 2015. The movie is a sequel to the franchise of Jurassic Park. After 22 years of the incidents in the island of Jurassic Park there is a new theme park created with genetically altered dinosaurs. Things go awry when the newly created predator Indominous Rex breaks free into the wild.

The movie of dinosaurs releasing after 22 years made it very special for this movie. Many of us who have seen the first installment had nostalgic moment of going to this movie. When Jurassic Park was released it was almost considered, as a sin for not have watched the movie. Although Jurassic World did not create the peer pressure but still drew people by recreating the nostalgic memories of seeing dinosaurs on big screen.

Jurassic World has the chills and thrills that you expect from the movie. Although it can never match up with the first one due to the fact that we have already seen dinosaurs on screen, still it is successful in recreating the magic world much bigger and fancier this time. The movie’s money shot is the sequence in which the biker drives alongside running Velociraptors.

Jurassic World Bike sequence with Velociraptors
Jurassic World Bike sequence with Velociraptors

It is said that Steven Spielberg wanted to create this scene in the new installment of the movie, which was originally in the Lost World book but he could not add it to the movie. The end output had worked very well.

Director Colin Trevorrow should applauded for recreating the magic of Jurassic Park all of us have enjoyed in the past. The imagination of a theme park has gone wild and the sequences are visually very appealing. It is also great to see Irrfan Khan having a substantial role in this compared to his role in The Amazing Spiderman.

It is really unfair to compare this with the first one then you may not enjoy it very much. Go with an open mind and get enticed with the visuals you see on screen. If you have kids take them along with you they would enjoy this a lot.

Must Watch

Appuchi Gramam Review

Appuchi Gramam Review – Appuchi Gramam is a Tamil science fiction comedy film released in 2014. Oblivious to the fact of a large meteorite that could potentially destroy a village, people in Appuchi Graamam go about their routine life where village heads fight against each other, young men stalk girls, drunkards flocking the wine shop and misers saving more money and wealth. What happens when they become aware of the fact that their life might end in a day is the plot of Appuchi Gramam.

Director Vi Anand has taken a genre that is not prevalent in Indian cinema for his debut film. This fact needs to be appreciated. All of us would have heard about incidents where people believed that the world is going to end and react to it. Appuchi Gramam is a snapshot of it. The movie is a symbolism of the self-centered and materialistic nature of humanity where there is no care for people. The way in which the movie traverses with its plot is definitely engaging for most parts. The high points of the movie are the following scenes

1. When Subramani is bought back to the village from Police station.
2. When the first meteor strikes the villagers think it is the goddess and start worshipping it.
3. The spat between the two step brothers in the village
4. Meteors striking the village

The major drawback of the movie is the cast. As most of them are new comers their acting is not as convincing in many places. Thanks to some of the veteran actors to make up for the short comings. Some more work on acting and the dialogue department could have worked well. Comedy works for most parts but in few places it drags a bit.

The production quality of the movie is decent enough for a low budget venture. The music and the background score are pleasant. The movie has just enough ingredients to keep you engaged. Also the short length of the movie is another plus point as there is not much in the story.

Overall Appuch Gramam would deserve a watch from you and you would enjoy it sitting on your couch.

Wait for DVD/TV

Interstellar Review

Interstellar Review – Interstellar is an American science fiction film released in 2014. In the future Earth’s resources are depleted and run short of food. In order to offset the human race switch to an agrarian society and concentrate on farming. But the environment is becoming non-conducive for living. Former NASA pilot Cooper is into farming. He and his daughter chance upon a NASA project which is targeted to save the human race by finding an alternate suitable planet. Cooper gets on board the exploration much against the wish of his daughter. Will they succeed in the mission is the plot of Interstellar.

Director Christopher Nolan is a genius film maker who can think multi-dimensional and create complicated plots. He has done the same with Interstellar. The subject is complicated for a lay man who does not have the basics of space travel and theory of relativity. Although there are scenes which explain some of the concepts as it travels but still it demands some intelligent viewing. If you go into the hall expecting a Dark Knight or Inception then you would find this bit overwhelming. But if you go into the hall expecting a Memento or Prestige then you would enjoy this. The visuals are quite stunning. The movie is deeply emotional as it progresses. The background score by Hans Zimmer fits well. Certain high points that would enthrall you in the movie are

  • The scene in which they first launch into the space there is a loud noise inside the space craft and as the camera pans out there is absolute silence and this alternates.
  • The spectacular view of the wormhole
  • The scene in which they land on the Miller’s planet and what happens later
  • The entire climax sequence

Matthew McConaughey has delivered a good performance and is ably supported by all other cast as well. As you would see in all other Nolan movies, the dialogues are very powerful.

Overall if you are a fan of complicated science fiction movies then you would fall in love with Interstellar and it would be an experience to watch it.

Must Watch

You might also like: Gravity Review | Interstellar Guest Review

Guest Review: Interstellar

Guest Review: Interstellar

This review of Interstellar is a guest review by one of my friends Amar Singh. 

About the Guest Author:  Amar Singh is a 
Research Scholar from Department of English, BHU
Working with Prof. Anita Singh on the topic titled, “Hyperrealism and Christopher Nolan’s Cinematic Texts.”

“A real magician tries to invent something new, that other magicians are gonna scratch their heads over.”

This line said by Alfred Borden (played by Christian Bale) in The Prestige (2006) pretty much sums up what the brand Christopher Nolan is all about. His new instalment, Interstellar, is now in the theatres and man o man, what a ride it is! If one has to capsule the story of Interstellar, it would read something like this; this is basically the story of Cooper and his bond with his daughter Murph that surpasses the limits of the universe. The plot of the movie has been based in the future where the climate of earth is deteriorating at a rapid pace. The only chance for human beings to survive is to find a new abode in some other galaxy where they can start life afresh. This daunting task is laid upon Cooper, to pilot the spaceship Endurance, which will go through a warmhole discovered near Saturn and hunt for a new earth. But the story is not as simple as it reads. There are so many elements, so many concepts that Nolan has introduced (and that is what we expect from a director who has made Memento and Inception): theory of relativity, warmhole, blackhole, time and gravity as other dimensions, and so on; that it becomes an uneasy and adventurous ride for us as it is for Cooper and his crew. But behind all these heavy concepts, there is the strong emotion of love that becomes the main thrust of this movie.

If one goes through Nolan’s movies from the beginning, there is a gradual development of an enlightening process of his protagonists that one can trace in his films, which is directly proportional to his advancement as a director. He is one of the brightest students of cinema who is trying to learn new lessons with every movie he is making. And one thing that has become his signature style is the way he is obsessed with the concept of time and how it affects us on different levels and how we fit ourselves in its not-so-linear movement. In Interstellar, he has gone way ahead of his previous movies in dealing with such high concepts which one has to brainstorm with repeated viewings to understand them. And I have not even talked about the visuals yet. Oh, what an experience it was! If there are flaws in the movie (there are a few), all of them will be subsided with the grandiose of the visuals. Just invest yourself in his world; you will come out with a never felt before riveting experience.

In the movie, when Cooper is dropped into a fifth dimension from where he gains access to time and gravity as physical entity, which he uses further to convey messages to his daughter, the very scene becomes so intense and emotional that one can go through the psyche of Nolan himself. The concept of filmmakers as someone who have an access to parallel times (which they gain through their camera) have been repeated quite a few times in different movies (Hugo and Inception are among such examples), but this movie becomes so personal for Nolan that in that very scene, we can see the struggle of a maker to look for and give directions to his greatest creation, his daughter, so that she may be safe and secure.

If you love cinema, go watch Interstellar. Whether you’ll like it or hate it, it doesn’t matter, what matters is that you will remember the experience for days and will indulge in the dialogues related with this movie. This is where cinema comes at its best, and this is what we call a true cinematic experience.