Review: Dasavataram – The trouble with ‘Execution’ (2008) Raided Now!
Quality score – 6.5/10
Masala – 7.5/10
The artistic nous of Kamal Hassan needs no introduction to the Indian movie goers. Clearly, he has often produced gems among movies that are far ahead of their time and also ones that have left the audience yearning for more. All indications prior to Dasavatharam was that he has succeeded in surpassing himself with his latest offering, so much so that anything short of a game changer in terms of screenplay, cinematography, and visual effects would have disappointed me. And perhaps because of these lofty yet justifiable expectations, or simply because of how the movie was presented, I definitely left the movie theater underwhelmed and disappointed. Having roped in some of the industry’s so-called revered ones in every department including, K.S.Ravikumar (direction), Thotta Tharani (art direction), Bryan Jennings (Visual Effects) & Himesh Reshamiya (Music direction), each one of these veterans has failed to execute a tight & well researched script.
The start to the movie left the audience’s mouths watering in expectation of the possibilities of the course, the plot could potentially take. And the combination of 14th century Tamil history, with present day biological warfare scenarios meant that these expectations were quite reasonable. Mind you, all the present day events happen around the five days prior to the calamitous Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004. This novel plot screamed out for an impeccable screenplay, and execution was always key, for it achieve the desirable impact for the consumer.
Govind Ramasamy (the leading one of Kamal’s 10 avatars), a native and graduate from Tanjavur, Tamil Nadu, leads a team of scientists in the USA, after his graduate studies there, in a Bio Technology firm. This firms and its investors’ goal is to develop potential biological weapons that may be worth their weight in gold given the state of alertness to terrorism post 9/11 in the
A sequence of events leads the vial to be shipped out to ... you guessed it…
The unbridled scope of the plot was sadly left unfulfilled in my eyes, with the obviously fake and unnecessary graphics and sub-par art direction from Padmashri Thotta Tharani and co., serving as the prime cause for the same. The cinematography was the most underwhelming feature, not helped by poor execution of decent thought processes. The drag that was the screenplay further undermined the clever story and completely hid the message of the same. Himesh Reshamaiya’s music did anything but complement the disastrous screenplay and failed to capture one’s imagination, let alone conjure up the magic of a ‘Adhiradee Kaaran’ (from Sivaji). I can’t help but think the script, and layout was hand crafted for Ilayaraja. It is sad that Kamal agreed to a few unnecessary commercial elements to be forced into the movie in places of the really necessary ones such as music and cinematography.
Among the vastly disappointing experience ( not to mention the cranky audio system in the theater ), I was definitely attracted to the innovative plot and was able to appreciate the extensive and studious research efforts that have gone through in making this movie a reality. The make up and costume design for the 10 characters of Kamal was exemplary with the actor himself, was the obvious strong point of the movie. Kamal’s portrayal of the social activist continues to amaze me at his limitless acting potential. The fact that I saw 10 different people, but for the similarity in their voices, was testament to Kamal’s caliber. Asin was a natural as an innocent, orthodox Iyengari, who refuses to give up her God even when the whole world is falling around her and she herself is falling into the laps of disaster. The martial arts fight scene that made up the climax was another scene that I enjoyed in the movie. The multitude of cast proved to be both a plus and minus at various times during the movie. Again, Kamal’s strong performance was a saving grace, but the drag caused by the numerous characters and sometimes their ramblings was tiring during those times.
Kamal had said in one of his press statements that he has tried to present this movie in a fashion that asserts his belief that his audiences were savvy enough to understand what they are presented with. However, on the evidence of the poor and often unnecessary graphics and the tiring screenplay, a lot remains to be changed for the better in the Indian and Tamil film industries. Movie goers, it seems, are considered only a little more than your average 10 year olds.
A chaotic ride, that strives to be a truly commercial blockbuster with a fresh story for plot and a not so subtle message from an exceptional artiste. Unfortunately, the movie only flatters to deceive and eventually leaves one without a sense of fulfillment as it falls short on many commercial aspects while submerging the message in what appears to be an uncoordinated tsunami of ideas and thought processes.
K.S.Ravikumar’s untimely cameos need to be edited the next time! It was chaos between commercialism and substance where justice was done to neither..
Genre: Action, Adventure, Desi
- Prasanna Ramakrishnan, Chandrachood Ramkumar
Quality Score - 8/10
The others (Non-fans!) - 5/10
The movie begins with Carrie at her apartment as usual typing away on her Mac. And she gives a very rapid gist of the 6 seasons, basically how each gal ended up with her current beau... so she rapidly summarizes Charlotte's 2 marriages and an adoption, Miranda's 'lawyer' role (seldom shown and hard to believe), her having Brady with Steve and marrying him finally and Samantha's trillion sex positions before settling (almost) with actor Smith Jerrad.
The plot for most part is simple and begins with Big and Carrie looking for an apartment to move into, settling for a gorgeous penthouse (with a teensy closet and a promise from Big to remodel it for her). The scene where he reveals her brand new closet to her almost takes everyone's breath away at the theatre. And Carrie marks her territory by symbolically placing her brand-new Manolo Blahniks on the shoe-rack. And soon they decide to get married. The small-scale wedding planned at first blows out of proportion and scares the groom away breaking Carrie's heart once more. How she recuperates and how they get together forms the main plot of the movie. However it is sidelined by new events surrounding it... Charlotte gets pregnant against all odds, Steve cheats on Miranda (just the once) and loses her trust for a better part of the movie, and Samantha now lives in Hollywood with Smith. Bored out of her wits, eating to satisfy her sexual craving, she packs away some pounds and does the noble thing of not cheating on Smith. The rest of the movie has the SATC typicals - tonnes of brand names strewn around, a photo-shoot, a fashion show, the girls brunches, etc. The scenes of Carrie with her new assistant, Louise are particularly good too.
The movie is long (2 hr and 20 min) but makes up for it by being fast-paced. For the fans, it was a treat just to see the four gals back in action. Indeed most people in the theatre were a band of girlfriends (and I sorely missed my own). For the others, it is still enjoyable, providing laughs, unnecessary nudity and time-pass. Mr Big's role is vastly reduced and though his scenes with Carrie are great, there's a little too few of them. Being a big star has its perks as is seen by the disproportionally large screen time that Kim Catrall (Samantha) gets in favour of the others other than SJP (Carrie).
All in all, a definite must-watch for the fans and not a total waste for the rest.
Genre: Romance, Comedy
- Jaya [jollyjaya.blogspot.com]
Quality Score: 6.5/10
Back in 1981, when Harrison Ford & Karen Allen unleashed their adventures in ‘Raiders of the lost ark’ through the deserts of Egypt fighting Nazis to uncover the Ark of the Covenant, Lucas created history & a brand named Indian Jones & then he did it again twice – in 1984 & 1989. ‘
After trotting half the globe, fighting Nazis, dodging rolling boulders, escaping hungry alligators, recovering lost relics, searching for the elusive grail, and resting for almost 20 years, Indy is back! George Lucas wrote, Steven Spielberg directed & Harrison Ford starred in this blockbuster and the legend is back, even though Dr.Jones has as many wrinkles as the countries he’s traveled. The question is, does this film satisfy the Indiana Jones junkies? I didn’t think so, but it definitely deserves one watch. I read somewhere that this film was more so an archeological class reunion than an Indiana Jones adventure – well said!
Now to the story – this time Indian Jones is fighting Russian communists in the year 1957 in search of a skull which possesses a ‘psychic power’ that mankind can only make movies on. His adversary is comrade Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett), in a menacing role with a sword and a Russian communist attitude. Irina Spalko and her KGB battalion are in the quest for a mystery skull lost through years that possesses supernatural powers with Indiana Jones’ accomplice George McHale’s (Ray Winstone) help. Mutt Williams (Shia LeBouf) a young biker dude with a 50’s hairstyle urges Indy to help him find an old friend, also Indy’s buddy and classmate Professor Oxley (John Hurt) who disappeared in the jungles of
Jeep duels, mild action and puzzle threads in between keep the Indiana Jones spirit alive although Mutt’s Tarzan-like stunt-work and man eating ant sequences (very Mummy-like) are comical tends to lose the audience. What Spielberg sees in Shia LeBouf is beyond me. Even after watching Transformers and Disturbia, I keep wondering what he’s got. The movie has no surprises but a wealth of action for any appetite and a fairy tale ending, and is not as bad as it could have been.
Spielberg has used a sumptuous amount of CGI input in this installment which is probably working against him, with a fan following from the 80’s when the graphic capabilities weren’t as sophisticated.
Director - Steven Spielberg
Writers - George Lucas, David Koepp (Screenplay), Jeff Nathanson
Cast - Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, Shia LeBeouf, Ray Winstone, John Hurt
Music - John Williams
Genre: Action, Adventure
- Chandrachood Ramkumar