Is it a children's movie? Or a movie mashup quiz for grown- ups?
This movie is slower than the roadworks undertaken by the Public Works Department of any city. You need to wear coolers over your eyes to deal with the garish colors and bring ear plugs.
Just because you can afford to VFX, does not mean you have to. Because the VFX are such an assault to your senses, you wonder if the filmmakers are competing for a Guinness record for most colors available in one frame.
Trees, flowers, leaves, grass, dirt, sky, stone, people, clothes is all fake. And you wonder how the actors must have felt acting with a green screen.
Shruti Haasan is a punishment to behold. Each time she opens her mouth, you want to stuff a banana sideways to shut her up. Every time she attempts to dance, you access her father's drunken dance on the edge of a well just to get the images of Shruti hips shake from damaging your brain cells. 'The second half gets better', a fellow critic said, ' Because she's tied to a sacrificial table, drugged and motionless.'
Puli looks like a children's fairy tale gone horribly wrong. It's a mish-mash of several stories, and not one gives any pleasure. And as a grown up watching the movie you idly wonder if kids today will enjoy anything from the movie.
There are blue-eyed vampires who look like Prakash Raj's goondas and all the romantic notions you had about being loved for ever and ever fly out of the window faster than they can bare their fangs. And you unkindly think, 'Do these vampires eat at Military canteens, or do their moms make them Taair Saadam?'
The people live in Hans Christian Anderson like villages and dress like they're in Vellore where leather goods are manufactured. If they wear shirts at all, it is evident that they do not know the art of hemming the edges of clothes.
There's Arwen's leaf pendant from Lord Of The Rings which becomes a mangalsutra here...
There's Gulliver's Travels for the kids in the theater. Except that the whole Lilliput thang makes the grown ups choke on the peanuts they are scarfing down when they see the peanut shell bras on the Lilliputian women.
There's the vampire castle and its furniture inspired by Game of Thrones.
There is a giant Cyclops from Atlantis, The Wise Turtle character borrowed from OVA (the anime game) or Kung Fu Panda,
There's the Indiana Jones leap of faith bridge across the void.
There are talking birds from awful movies too ghastly to name. There are magical frogs too ('Pudine ki chutney samajh kar chaat jao' one guy tells another and only then will the frog show them the way! And I thought frog-licking was a hallucingenic). There is a VFX panther. The less said about that creature, the better!
There is an evil queen who is all super arched eyebrows and glitter eyesh adow and strange gowns who is in reality plain ole Mrs Bennett from Pride & Prejudice wanting to get her daughter married off to the best suitor. And the daughter dances with the hero singing, 'Main teri Mandakini!'
There is dialog given to baddies which is so bad you cannot help but laugh: Main Bhayanak Darinda hoon!
There are fights that remind you of Shaolin movies made by Golden Harvest in the seventies...
And no matter how hard Vijay tries to dance or fight to impress, he doesn't. No matter how broody Sudeep likes to think he is, he makes me want to get up and buy him a bunch of butterfly clips to tie up his silly hair. And Sridevi? You wonder if it is the same woman who was in English Vinglish.
The half star is for having the cojones to say that this is an original story.