The death of Padaiyappa's father destroys his family. But his luck changes, and he is able to lead a prosperous life, embarrassing those who stood over his family. But when the opportunity arrives, his nemesis plots to ruin his happy family
The Story of a powerful king Kochadaiiyaan, and so does his Kingdom. But on a fateful day, one of his close friends plots against him and acquires his kingdom, while he was driven away. Kochadaiiyaan gets a baby boy Rana, who grows up to become a great warrior, and fights and redeems the kingdom that rightfully belongs to him. Written by
A Somewhat Mixed & Uneven Affair - Brilliant Music, Acceptable Story & Lacklustre CGI
When first announced, it came under several film titles/projects - from "Sultan: The Warrior" to "Rana" (to which is now a prequel/sequel) to finally "Kochaiidaiyaan". It was a brave attempt into a completely unknown territory.
With this, comes the risk one the project being a complete success or a complete failure. I am now thinking of it heading towards the latter, unfortunately.
With a beastly budget of $21 million which for a Tamil/Kollywood film is unprecedented, it would mean that the film would have to perform admirably at the box office the world over to even break even. At this moment in time, it is looking somewhat dim ; $7 million gross since release.
Let's get to the story - the story is, by movie standards, quite standard. Nothing the movie world has not heard before. I found the story quite interesting and with the usual 'love story' we always have in Tamil movies, this is quite refreshing. However, as the movie progressed, the story can be quite coagulated/rigid with little room for one's own interpretation, but thankfully at the end of it all, it does hold up just fine. The story is about kings/kingdoms and quite honestly, is not that often we see it in Tamil movies, so kudos to that. Unfortunately, the 'pitfalls' of a typical Indian movie is here - don't want to sound too harsh but the 'ridiculous' moments does occur. Riding a dolphin and being propelled into the air onto a ship ; really? Haha, quite hilarious but it is moments like this then make you go "What did just see?!" Potential meme in the making. There are other cringe- worthy moments as well, but I'll spare them.
The music - quite possibly the best part of the movie. A.R. Rahman did a brilliant job here (he narrate the Tamil version too). The songs are really good and worth listening over and over again. Highly recommended to purchase the audio CD.
The movie paces itself just fine. However, I felt that instead of a near 2 hours runtime, it should have been trimmed to just over 90 minutes, as with most animated feature movies. I didn't feel the movie 'stretchy' or 'overly long' for an animated movie.
Now comes the hard part - and the most talked about aspect of the movie
the CGI. Has anyone seen 2007's "Beowulf"? If yes, then anything less
than this is going to draw criticism. Movie goers are not easy to please these days, and I consider myself highly critical of '...it could have been better' movies. "Kochaiidaiyaan" fails quite squarely in this regard. The CGI is easily 5-7 years behind the tech of the most advanced animated movies - I'm not talking "How to Train Your Dragon" or "Toy Story", but rather the more human-involved/realistic 3D animated movies - the easiest example would be Robert Zemeckis' motion-captured films ("A Christmas Carol", "The Polar Express", etc.). The opening sequence of the movie on the boat - it should have been either removed or simply redone. Not a good way to start the movie. Even video games have better visuals than that. There are certain areas that the CGI shines, Rajini looks the best with little dead eyes compared to other CGI rendered characters. The motion capture technology is there but there are some clunkiness to it. Compared to the ultra high budget "Avatar", the motion capture in "Kochaiidaiyaan" is about half way there. Facial expression and such only effective works in some scenes while others seem more generic/standard. Nothing special about the motion capture here. It's here, it's okay, and nothing to shout about. More work needs to be done to improve the CGI and the director, Soundarya needs to rethink how to do so - either an even bigger budget (which means a higher box office risk) or hire more skilled visual effects work force.
"Kochaiidaiyaan" is an entertaining yet flawed movie. It is a defining moment in Indian cinematic history. Any other full fledged animated movie will always be compared to this movie, for better or for worse. This is a great starting point, but the results isn't that good. Watch it if you are a fan of Rajini or someone who wants to see Indian cinema do something unique. You might be surprised if the movie induces tears in you - as in actually feeling for the characters. This is the part where no amount of tech can achieve, and it comes from the heart of the story. A good attempt. Keep up the good work. I still wholeheartedly prefer live-action to animated. While it is Super Star Rajini doing the acting, you still want to see him in live-action. On a side note, I really did appreciate the inclusion of a 'making of.../bloppers' at the end of the movie.
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