Monday, November 04, 2013

Krrish 3

in summary
Based on the songs and the trailer, I went into Krrish 3 fully expecting a fiasco. Fi-as-co. Everything promoting the film seemed sloppy, thoughtless, or just plain silly. And those are problems that do not  disappear in the context of the entire film, but they are at least evenly matched by some genuine fun. Hirthik's earnestness may be Krrish's (and the franchise's) supreme power—the man can sell anything,* even with his lines and identities split across three (or more, depending on how you count) characterizations. Kangana's enemy mutant is utterly entertaining, the SCIENCE! is spectacular, the sanctity of Indian motherhood is maintained, and a few of the in-world inventions and touches are a nice surprise (at least to someone like me who hasn't seen a ton of recent superhero films). To me Krrish 3 is far from perfect, and like many grandiose projects it has moments of ambition, or at least concept, that are not well served by the execution, but I honestly enjoyed quite a bit of it, and I don't think it's the flaming disaster that I had anticipated (or gathered from the few reviews I read before going to see it for myself).

things I do not like
  • Priyanka's character (Priya) is disposable. Five writers and they still only come up with one decent female role. The underwritten wife/daughter-in-law/representative of us mere mortals means the humanity of the big conflicts is underestimated. I find Priya almost offensively mono-purpose. 
  • Smashy smashy blah blah blah. I'm not sure that having Kaal and Krrish chase each other through glassy skyscrapers is the best of ideas, since Avengers and others have already done that more convincingly. Have them run through Victoria Terminus at least (though if that had happened, I would have said "Hey, Ra.One did that already," so they'd need to be more inventive). 
  • Kaal. Poor Kaal. Not intimidating in the least and not weird enough to be unsettling or even interesting. He suffers from a really long wind-up that doesn't deliver much in the end. Vivek Oberoi...is fine? He's...in the movie and speaks his dialogue slowly in a way I think is supposed to be maniacal? And when his plan finally gets underway, we see him in a less-than-knee-length dressing gown with no trousers, and it's just hilarious. I never realized until that precise moment that it's so much harder to menace with bare legs, especially if the rest of you is wearing drapey satin. 
  • Obviously one does not demand real-world logic of a superhero story; however, internal consistency and sense are not too much to ask. (I won't specify any because they might be considered spoilers, but even major features, like what Krrish's powers are, seem to be inconsistent.) It's easy to imagine this is a casualty of the film's "too many cooks" approach to the script. 
  • Comic relief. I even like Rajpal Yadav (see Main Madhuri Dixi Banna Chahti Hoon if you haven't) but this track is so unnecessary. Can't Rohit be comic relief? Or more of Krishna getting fired because he keeps dashing off from work to save the world?
  •  At times the story feels understaffed, by which I mean anything with a "crowd" or "masses of innocent victims" just isn't full enough to create either grandiosity or threat. The unveiling of the statue...I mean there are more people than that at any given seafront intersection at almost any time of day, right? Never have more backing dancers than audience members unless the song is a seduction or spy number set in the villain's inner sanctum. The mall and the airplane are also sparse, and the versions of Bombay streets that mutants and Krrish fight in/over look desolate yet oddly clean, like their superpowers accidentally sanitized the area before the fight broke out. And all the buildings they chase through (see above) are devoid of workers despite it being daylight hours. It's all too set-piece, which lowers the stakes and thus the excitement.
  • The songs are an embarrassment through and through. I hated them on youtube and they're horrifying when projected 30 feet high. The music itself is blah but to me the culprit here is the choreography. Kangana is reduced to asthmatic baby bird, Priyanka sort of swivels and kicks daintily (perhaps because of her clothes, but obviously that could have be avoided), and Hrithik is lackluster. If Hrithik doesn't want to dance in his films, that's fine, but then why half-ass it? This stuff is just a slap in the face of our hopes, reminding us what we could have enjoyed if someone had done a better job.
  • The idea that superpowers are really just courage and honor and yadda yadda. If that's true then we don't need superheroes or superhero movies, and it's obviously not true, or at least not at all believed or acted upon, since Krrish and Kaal are completely alone in their big battle at the end. Very It's A Wonderful Life: "Krrish is in your house...and your house, and Joe's house, and the Kennedy house, and the MacClaren house, and a hundred others!" There's got to be a better way to uplift us and integrate us in the stand against evil. Of course, in this particular story, Kaal doesn't care about humans at all—he cares only about himself and his lifetime of misery, and anyone who directly affects him—and thus whether they fight back or not is irrelevant to him. (In this regard he's kind of like Ra.One, who is only after that moppet?) So why have Mumbaikars stand up and preach at him in the first place?  
  • As the film started and the obligatory "Any similarity to actual people or events is coincidental" rolled across the screen, I had to laugh at the bold-faced cheek of copying other films that so often goes unacknowledged by the filmmakers. A story based on superheroes who get powers from blue aliens attracted to earth by om vibrations requires a statement that it has nothing to do with real life, but the actual telling of it by using passages from other films gets a pass. How ya like them filmi irony apples?
things I do like
  • Kangana! I've seen very little of her work and am shocked at how much I liked her. Part of it is the role, of course—Kaya has more compelling things to do, think, and say than anyone else in the movie—and Kangana makes Kaya a believable straddler of the animal and human worlds. I am not completely sold on how her character arc develops, but it is done with thought and raises some points about the characterization of women that are fun to chew on.
  • The age makeup/effects on Rohit are surprisingly good. There are a lot of closeups on Hrithik's various faces in this film, and I think they aged him really well. He's also good at making Rohit and Krishna two very separate people, which is an effort I really appreciate. Kaya's creepy doll-eye contacts are effective too.
  • In their public face, the wife has a far better career than the husband. In private, of course, that's not at all the case, not do they have any particular friends or much interaction with anyone outside their family at all, actually, but at least in theory, to everyone other than Rohit, Priya is more stable, professional, and successful than Krishna. This is not at all significant to the plot, but I wonder how common it is.
  • As a balance to my dislike of giving screen time to humans philosophizing at a villain who doesn't care about them or their resistance one way or the other, I really like Krrish sitting down with the little boy he saves and discussing what heroism is. That is a genuine human-superhero interaction that is clearly meaningful to both of them. 
  • Kaya's nail polish that looks like circuits and turns into an actual phone when she does the phone gesture with pinky and thumb near her head. That is very cool (and useful). I also love the sequence of circles of blue light spreading out over the dark cityscape. 
  • There are components of the film that feel like Manmohan Desai is at work—and there might not exist a higher compliment from me than that. The film isn't complex and complicated enough to be Desai, and it doesn't have all the strengths of his finest, but I was delighted to discover that it does have some of the same building blocks. 
  • This review by Ashish Shakya, though I think I like the film more than the author does. And I share his scoffing at the virus.
Ultimately, I am not comfortable calling Krrish 3 either a disaster or a success as a work. It has passages of both, and I think, like Kaal, the creators should have kept experimenting for awhile more, editing to make sure more of the film is in service of Rohit and Krrish versus Kaal, of alien-spiked humans dealing with animal-spiked humans, or even of Kaal's crazed wondering about why he is the way he is. Goose up the villain, re-write the heroine, come up with at least two decent song picturizations, and I think I'd feel a lot more than "meh" about this movie.

Even on opening weekend, I had the cinema to myself, so I tweeted a lot, which you can read here if you are so inclined.

* Except Guzaarish.

5 comments:

Jess said...

Whenever I wonder about Kangana I remember Tanu Weds Manu. She is fab! I just rewatched that movie last night and was crying like a baby lol.

LeannaJ said...

I have not seen any of the Krrish films, but I would really like to now. I enjoy your to-the-point and very expressive style!

And if you hear anything about Gori Tere Pyaar Mein (which I am personally looking forward to) look me up at
theasianstation.wordpress.com

Manish Jangid said...

Good technologies use in this movie... i wish krish 4 will be next year6 Month Training in Jaipur

Manish Jangid said...

Good technologies use in this movie... i wish krish 4 will be next year6 Month Training in Jaipur

rogers john said...

It emerged as a huge surprise when Krrish 3 broke all the box-office collection records held till date. Still pondering, how can such a movie – a messy soup of all the possible superhero movies in the world make so much money??