Friday, May 12, 2017


Bahubali Ya Batman?

3 stars

Mini Review:

Was it a mistake letting Guy Ritchie take a quintessential English tale and turn it into a battle of good vs. really good evil? The explosive action and the grey, ‘doomed forever’ setting is perfect. But it’s disconcerting to see bits of Batman in the story, hear a regular Hollywood American English being spoken by King Arthur (and everyone else), and the awful omnipresent undeniable parallel storyline with Bahubali. If you can get over all that, then the legend of the sword keeps you hooked.

Main Review:

England Ka Bahubali

The only difference between Arthur and Bahubali is the color palette. The rest is the same. In England, an evil, conniving Uncle makes a deal with the devil to become King. In Mahishmati, an evil undeserving cousin plots to become King. In England, the real heir to the throne, floats away in a little boat and is saved and brought up by prostitutes, In Mahishmati too the real heir floats to safety in a boat… The similarities are endless, but it ends with the color palette. While England has only greys and blues and blacks, Mahishmati suffers from a color diarrhoea.

Guy Ritchie Had Batman On His Mind

England is cold and grey and mostly gloomy, but they do have a fabulous legend of the sword in the stone happily exploited by the Minions and other animation films as well as sexily by the Richard Gere/Sean Connery film First Knight. Guy Ritchie offers us a dark action film that is more Batman than Arthur. Especially with the losing of parents, the nightmares, and of course bats in the cave!

But what explosive action! The legend of the sword holds its own and does not allow Guy Ritchie to fool around with it. The creepy Syrens too have an old world feeling about it. ‘You know the price you have to pay’ is so fairy tale-ish… The Lady Of The Lake pulling Arthur in and showing him a glimpse of the future is brilliant too.

What Guy Ritchie cannot be faulted for are the fight sequences. The assassination attempt, the fight following the attempt, the clever how to get money from the Vikings, the final confrontation between the evil King and the born King, the montage of Arthur growing up in London’s unfriendly alleys are all brilliantly done.

Though the director gets the grime and the grit of action scenes and the life in Londinium feel right, the ‘Kung Fu George’, the Americanisms in the dialog - King Arthur mouthing, ‘What the fuck’ - makes the audience cringe. When the real heir to the British throne, asks, ‘What are we gonna do now?’, you think you’re hearing things, but when the subtitle says it too, you want to take that sword and unleash it upon the dialog writers and the king himself. The joke format for the round table is so lame, not even a ten year old will laugh at the result… And I cringed and laughed to see elephants as fantastical beast used by Mordred (yes, like Mordor but dreadful!). What Guy Ritchie, you never heard of dragons as mythical beasts of England? Du-uh!

The cinematography is spectacular. The aerial shots of Scottish lands is stunning. As are the city scenes. You are awed by the medieval world the director manages to create. What earns the movie its stars is one dude alone. And that is Jude Law. He makes for the near perfect villain. He broods brilliantly, and he screams with a heartfelt evil drive. He sneers to put habitual sneerers to shame and his eyes drip with ambition. You feel his simmering rage at being second best to the good king. You understand why he can make the sacrifice the Syrens ask of him and yet forgive him because he feels the pain too. All this and more in one role? And he’s the bad guy? Wow! Guy Ritchie excels in creating grey characters, and he makes the perfect King Vortigern. Superbly cast.

Watch this film because of the Sword, and its magic and for Jude Law. All else is unoriginal.

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