Theri Review – Theri is a Tamil action film released in 2016. Joseph Kuruvilla lives with his daughter in a remote Kerala Village. He always stays away from fights or disputes. But circumstances lead him to pick up a tiff with the local don and in the course his original identity Vijaykumar, Deputy Commissioner of Police is exposed.
Vijay has gone back to his comfort zone after his experimentation with fantasy adventure Puli. This time, he has joined hands with director Atlee after his successful first venture Raja Rani. When a successful filmmaker gets to direct a successful mass hero there is a huge burden to please the fans of the star. Only a few directors like Shankar, Mani Ratnam have been able to stay focused on the script and deliver an appealing product both to the fans and general audience. Atlee doesn’t fall into that category. He has struggled to find his story in the commercial entertainer. In the end, it happens to be an out and out Vijay’s mass masala movie which has all the minimum guarantee elements for success but would be a forgettable one in the long run.
The movie reminds one of many blockbusters in Kollywood and Hollywood. It has influence from Baasha. Baasha seems to be a milestone for Kollywood like how The Godfather is for Hollywood. It is still inspiring movie makers. Then there are influences from Yennai Arindhal and the directors own Raja Rani and finally, there are glimpses of The Dark Knight Trilogy. In the scenes which mimic the dark knight movies, you will find Vijay modulating his voice as well like Batman :). If you have seen all these movies and is not a Vijay fan then you won’t find anything appealing in the movie. If you are an ardent Vijay fan then there are more opportunities for you to whistle throughout.
For me, the best part of the movie is the romance portion between Vijay and Samantha. It does bring a different face of Vijay which we don’t get to see much. He tries to be a hero who can also cry just out of emotion. That’s new for a mass hero movie. The comedy during these portions has also turned out well. Where he describes the outcome of the fight before fighting is definitely enjoyable. Atlee’s core strength is in this area which he had utilized well in Raja Rani. Mottai Rajendran has a new role of being a sidekick to the heroes previously in Vedalam and now in Theri. I personally would like to see him as a fearsome Villain or in comic roles like Ghost Gopal Varma than seeing him flattering the hero. The biggest surprise of the movie is Director Mahendran donning the role of the Villain. Years of experience is seen in his acting. I would have loved a build-up portion for the villain rather than him just jumping in and only targeting Vijay.
High Points: The romance portion between Vijay and Samantha, Visuals and production quality, Comedy sequences in the flashback, Director Mahendran playing Villain.
Low Points: The overall movie might only appeal to hardcore Vijay fans as they have been generous in creating masala elements.
Overall Theri is created to appeal to the Vijay fans worldwide. It just increases Vijay’s mass masala template movies by one rather than standing out. If you are not a Vijay fan then you can watch it when played on TV.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Review – Batman v Superman is an American superhero movie released in 2016. The movie is based on superheroes from the DC Comics. Superman’s fight with Zod results in large scale massacre that destroys Bruce Wayne’s (Batman) office and casualties in his company. Batman decides to fight Superman to keep him in check while Lex Luthor adds fuel to their fire.
First of all, I would like mention that I am neither DC nor a Marvel fan. Rather I like all superheroes from both the universe. It helps to read this review in an unbiased fashion.
It has been a long due for the DC universe to bring their superheroes together. Thanks to Nolan’s Batman trilogy that had set up the foundation for the movies. Although Zack Snyder did not impress much with the Man of Steel he has definitely justified his efforts with the edition of Dawn of Justice. This may not be the epic start for the Justice League DC fans would have expected but nevertheless, it serves as a good appetizer for the upcoming main course.
The movie has a sluggish start and you tend to wait for those brilliant moments restlessly. Just when you feel that this might turn out to be a half-baked effort the movie picks up and keeps you engaged till the end. Ben Affleck is very convincing as Batman and definitely carries on the legacy putting the sarcastic comments on him to rest. His performance is a standout. The icing on the cake for the movie is Wonder woman. Her entry is the best part of the movie. Lex Luthor’s characterization is good and his dialog delivery reminds of Sharukh Khan. Some portions of the movie even look like the old school Bollywood movies and look like a decorated extravagant Karan Arjun 🙂
High Points: The fight night between superman and batman, Wonder woman’s entry, Lex Luthor’s characterization, Hans Zimmerman’s background score.
Low Points: Sluggish screenplay in the first half, some of the dialogues are cheesy and cliched takes away the impact of the good ones
Overall Zack Snyder doesn’t disappoint this time and in fact, has created a good start to the Justice League. Hope DC is able to be successful with the upcoming movies. If you love superhero movies don’t miss this one when it is in the theaters.
In the previous Friday Fundas section I mentioned Cinema is a magical medium and how optical illusion can create perceived reality with techniques like Forced Perspective. One of the readers had asked an interesting question on how scenes similar to Kumbakarna and the tiny soldiers, Gulliver and Lilliputs are made. While some of the scenes may be forced perspective but the scenes which involve the Lilliputs walk over the giant body of Gulliver is covered by what is known as the Chroma Key Compositing or Chroma Keying Technique. This also popularly called as the Green Screen effect or the Blue screen effect.
The basic of Chroma Key is overlapping two images and make them merge with each other. Let us consider the flying action of Superman and the image of sky behind him. As images are built of pixels you would want to replace the background from the image of superman in flying action with that of the image of the sky. In order to achieve it you would want to make any pixels around Superman transparent. Well Chroma Keying is the technique to do that. The technique involves choosing certain color range of pixels and making it transparent.
In the initial days this was done using a blue screen at the background and then blue color was made transparent to merge with another frame to make it look like they are happening in the same space. It should be noted that no other character or object in the first scene should have blue color. As Superman has a blue costume instead of a blue screen a green screen could be used. In the modern days a green screen is used prevalently as the image sensors in digital video cameras are more sensitive to green there by allocating more pixels to green channel.
Prior to the digital era Chroma Key was also performed on the films. It was popularly referred to as Matte technique. The technique is as old as 1930s. The scene comprises of two scenes one the foreground shot and the other the background shot. The background of the foreground shot when taken would be a blue screen. Now the camera color negative of this shot was printed onto a high contrast black and white film using either a filter or the black and white film to limit the blue color. The resultant film produced transparent color wherever it found blue. The end result is the foreground object with a transparent background. This is called the “Female matte”. This was now copied onto the high contrast negative of the background scene which is called the “Male matte”. The end result is the negative of the film with both these scenes merged with each other.
One of the key challenges in this technique was camera movement. The camera movement used when shooting the foreground should be used exactly the same way while shooting the background scene. Later techniques were developed to automate this process to move the camera exactly the same way.
Well next time you see Superman fly or Batman jump across buildings you would remember there is always a Chroma Key behind it.