Saturday, July 22, 2006

Finally, Superman Returns!

It was time this superhero finally got a comeback, i had seen Christopher reeve as superman and had very faint memories of this superhero in my mind, as i grew up in awe of batman series, the master director Tim Burton, till the time batman movies got fancy and to the extent batman costumes became more girly, till the time Gorge Clooney acted in the last disaster flick.

I purely wanted to watch superman to see what this invincible character movie could offer, with Kevin spacey being the perfect match for the arch rival of superman, Lex Luthor. The movie revolves around how superman is gone for long, as he finds out that some astronomer had found remains of his home planet, thinking that he may find something superman finds nothing but ruins of his planet.

The opening sequence is awesome, would have looked celestial in a IMAX dome theatre, I am actually planning to re-watch this movie at ADLABS Dome Theatre in Mumbai. I had just seen Bryan Singer's X-men the last stand few weeks back, and I noticed that this director is technically a wizard, he does not give emphasis to special effects in his movies, but uses them as an advantage to the story, or you can say in better words, compliment the story.

Coming back to the movie, our superhero makes a comeback joins daily planet office as Clark Kent, to discover that his love interest, Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) is being married and has a kid, she still has the same passion to work as she had before and she is married to cousin of Perry white, of daily planet, Richard white. The flashback scenes of Clark Kent at small’ Ville are very much authentic and give you that 70's feeling.

While out here Lex Luthor digs out superman’s hideout far away in a polar region and discovers secrets and gets in some crystals which form landmass when dropped in water, now Lex Luthor tries it for once and a small bit of crystal creates electro magnetic disturbance all around the city also failing a test launch of a shuttle attached to a aircraft with Lois lane onboard, it is here where our superhero is given a magnificent comeback. I loved the way our superhero cushions the plane back in a baseball stadium amidst an ongoing match, with the whole stadium erupting in applause.

The director has definitely told the superman story his way, adding more of romantic element to superman's life some scenes are really magnificent, a moment where Superman takes Lois on arial ride through the city, When she clings on to superman, and he flies up past the Daily Planet Office globe, flying her close to water surface where Lois watches both of their reflection in the water.

These are few touching moments of the movie, also Lois still deep within her heart loves superman, but has learned to move on, and in his absence she also gives up on superman, writing off his need to the world, the movie is two and a half hour long, and actually after Lex gets defeated at hands of superman, movie was dragged at the end, some hints are left by the director probably Lois Lane's son is probably superman's child.

Watch this movie for great direction, amazing effects that compliment the movie's story, Brandon Routh has done a decent job of a superhero, i still cannot forget the bullet -time scene of point blank shot in superman's eye. Kevin spacey excels in his role as a loveable baddy; he could have being given more to perform with some more quick and witty one-liners from him. Kate Bosworth delivers perfectly as Lois Lane and even superman is faced with the same question at a point in the movie as to save a city in danger or protect his love interest. Similar to the dilemma faced by Spiderman for Mary Jane.

In the end, Lois ask's "Would we see you again?" Superman replies “I will be always around", he flies off.

The movie has good background score of John Ottoman, and the superman theme originally composed by John Williams still sounds very fresh and lingers in your mind right from your childhood.

So we finally have all three superheroes Batman, Superman & Spiderman back in business and raking the moolah for Hollywood, as its not just that these characters are admired by kids, but they still help us re-discover the kid in us, who once used to read these superhero comics, watched their cartoons, and today the same adult wants to re-live that experience on the big screen....

Friday, July 21, 2006

Superman, Move over, Make way for “Krrish”

The latest news now going around Krrish is that it has started giving stiff competition to “Superman Returns” in North America, crossing over collections of Fanaa, which were holding the records till date. Compare this $10 Million budget of Krrish, compared to $ 200 million budget of superman returns.

Are we finally having a superhero who can give the Superman, Batman & Spiderman a stiff competition, maybe we have struck the right chord with international audience with our own superhero.

Well about the movie, I watched Krrish before I watched superman returns, I thought the movie may not be a big hit compared to Koi mil gaya, and superhero movies have bombed badly in past in India, and even if they gain popularity with kids, they do not take off actually with the normal audience.

Krrish proves this wrong, I also read and watched reviews on Krrish before going for the movie, but I always wanted to see this movie with the fact that Rakesh Roshan finally made an attempt to make an all out superhero film, some one had to really take this risk. The opening titles were impressive; the background score by Salim and Sulaiman has some element of dark notes similar to the Spiderman theme composed by Danny Elfman, that’s what gets you into a mood that you are going to be treated with a good movie and not some mediocre stuff.

The story starts with the kiddo Hrithik making pictures of his late father and mom with quiet ease, and his dadi, Rekha watching in amazement, she discovers that he has inherited the same powers his dad had, she decides to move her away from the being detected with such supernatural powers, Hrithik as Krishna is detected by his school dean to be having exquisite IQ, which he wants to develop, but grand mom Rekha has other plans, she takes the child away from everyone, she becomes her teacher, her mom, everything…now that’s what we call a super grandson’s super grandma !

While Krishna (Hrithik) moves away from kasauni, to some place in himachal, Sharat Saxena comes seeing him to his school, where the father refuses to give any whereabouts of Krishna and his grand mom. I was spellbound by the cinematography of Santosh Thundiyil, the landscapes captured in the movie are amazing, and Rakesh Roshan does have such amazing breathtaking frames of nature even in Koi mil gaya, Koyla as far I remember.

The film moves on with Krishna growing big, the scene is well shot, showing the transition of a kid into an adult, a village simpleton, with his superpowers and finding himself to be alone and unable to overcome his superpowers, which makes him play with bunch of kinds, the same plight which his father had to go through. I would definitely not compare superman with our Krrish, still moments from superman like, he returns to his home, he throws a ball, as his dog runs to fetch it, superman realizes that his doggy is not gonna get that ball anymore, and even the dog gives up..

Such scenes indirectly make you aware of the superhero’s powers and say a lot adding humor to it. Moving ahead Krishna discovers a girl in dangers, i.e. our leading lady in the movie Priyanka Chopra, who gets stuck on a tree top, falling down while paragliding, Krishna rescues the girl, again here also, the director captures the scene very well, showing a slow fall, rotating the camera around them, really well captured first meet, Hrithik coming almost like a elevator coming down, and priyanka screaming in between, not believing that she is actually still alive.

From here the movie has moments of Hrithik falling for Priyanka, playing tricks around with priyanka, as Hemant Pandey the tour guide plays a funny side-kick to Hrithik, as priyanka had arrived with her group and her friend Maaninee Mishra discover that he has amazing powers, the there is a song, Hrithik falls head over heals for Priyanka, Priyanka also meets Rekha, and as she departs she finds Hrithik falling for her.

Now Priyanka comes back to resume her job, she is a news reporter at Star News office in Singapore, her boss, Archana Puran Singh is ready to fire her as they have exceeded their vacations, in order to save their jobs, they think using Hrithik’s power display for the news channel, promising their manager to get Hrithik in Singapore.

Priyanka manages to bring Hrithik over to Singapore, as Hrithik has to face resilience from her grand mom , as she is not ready to loose her grand son, she tells Krishna (Hrithik) as to what happened to his dad, how he could never return after a company in Singapore called over Hrithik’s dad and it is none other than Naseeruddin Shah, who persuades Hrithik’s Dad Rohit Malhotra to make a machine that enables one to see future.

Naseeruddin shah excels as a baddy; he has a strong screen presence, similar to that of Lex Luthor in superman, a loveable baddy. The story moves on with Hrithik promising his grand ma that he would not reveal his superpowers , he meets a road performer who was performing for his sister for her operation, whom Hrithik helps performing some martial art stunts, they become friends and that guy invites Hrithik to his show at a circus. A song at circus with priyanka, fire breaks into the circus, Hrithik watches parents of few children trapped in the burning circus crying for help, in hurry, he picks up a black robe and a broken mask of a circus performer.

Enter “Krrish”, the superhero makes a impressive entry and leaves lot of questions behind, a good way to bring a superhero, the best thing Rakesh Roshan could have done to introduce, Krrish, a fancy costume would have killed the character, the birth of the superhero is more practical, which does not make you feel about a brainless story being told to you, Batman & Spidey had taken their own time designing their own costumes, here Hrithik does not get that time… a very creative move by the director.

Going ahead the film then takes some turns which further grip you to the story, and believe me special effects in the movie are far greater and better than any other Hindi movie seen till date and they have being used at places where needed and not unnecessarily, also another good thing about the stunts of the movie is that the action directors have worked hard to make stunts look impressive sans, special effects which also could have killed the thrill of these stunts, though it looked like more of crouching tiger, hidden dragon stuff, but its acceptable.

Hrithik is the main highlight of the film, followed by Naseeruddin Shah and then Priyanka. The time machine built by Krishna’s father Rohit, looks gracious and controls of the machine looked similar to those in the movie “Paycheck” also the latter half of the story after interval, is based more or less on the movie story of paycheck.

I would not go ahead further with the story as the movie is made with lot of effort, with a sensible storyline, editing of the movie needed some polishing, Watch this movie purely for Hrithik and for the storytelling of Rakesh Roshan, which is definitely going to make you appreciate this film. This movie has done a lot to priyanka’s career, what it did to preity’s career; Yash Raj banner has a special way of projecting heroines of their movies. They form central figure of their movies, here Rakesh Roshan does not have much to offer to the leading lady of the film, and still you cannot ignore the screen presence of his movies heroines.

Not to leave the music of the movie behind, Rajesh Roshan surely delivers in his bro’s films, his music is not a instant hit like that of Himesh, his music grows over you, taking its own time to keep listening to his songs, it was the same case when I first heard music of Kaho na Pyaar hai, Koi Mil gaya I did not like it that much, but after watching these movies I used to hear its music over and over re-living the feel of movie, same is the case of Krrish, I was disappointed that the track “Main hoon who aasmaan” was not in the movie, its really a slow melodic romantic track to fall in love with.“Koi tumsa nahin” also strikes a chord with your heart, “Dil na diya” is peppy. “Chori Chori Chupke Chupke” & “Pyar Ki Ek Kahaani” stand apart as excellent tracks.

If Rakesh Roshan is planning to make another sequel to this movie, he surely can go ahead; he has started something new in the Indian cinema which he can be proud of, which no other director like Subhash Ghai, Aditya Chopra or any other big name amongst the director could have thought of risking. One suggestion for Rakesh Roshan for the forthcoming sequel, he can groom the character of Krrish better, by giving him some more moves and powers, maybe he can spend good amount of money on special effects to give some muscle to Krrish’s character.