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23 reviews in total 
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PK (2014)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
An eye-opening take on religion that every Indian needs to watch, 27 December 2014

After the Munnabhai movies and 3 Idiots, it is natural to have mammoth expectations from a Rajkumar Hirani. A movie that hits you hard, delivers a strong message and makes the public question some age old conventions and beliefs, that's what his past movies had (some of them in bits and pieces, others in spades). PK though, is the strongest of his efforts on that front.

PK is about Aamir's character (named PK by the public) arriving from a distant planet on earth on a research mission only to have his "remote control" stolen. This remote, is the sole means by which he can summon the spaceship that brought him here to get him back. Without the remote, he is essentially stuck on earth. He slowly starts learning the nuances of earthly culture and language and gradually moves closer towards finding the remote. He also realizes from the public that it is God alone who can help him find it. In the process, he ends up questioning and challenging the religious belief system that India has built involving multiple religions, each with their own set of traditions.

That last part is what hits you hard about PK. The fact that there is only one God, the true God, the one who created us all unlike the many Gods that exist and are worshiped on a daily basis is something worth taking home. Also, by this time, I wouldn't call PK being an alien a spoiler since this is very much clear from the start of the film itself (and in fact, is something that the screenwriter Abhijat Joshi has heavily hinted at in a Plot Summary written by him on IMDb).

Aamir is spot on with his portrayal of PK and one almost feels that he's back in form after the disastrous (but still financially successful) Dhoom: 3. His performance is again going to be a talking point for months to come and perhaps, may even land him the Filmfare yet again. The others complement Aamir well enough especially Anushka, who, despite having considerably fewer films under her belt almost feels like a seasoned performer by now.

But the laurels all go to Rajkumar Hirani and Abhijat Joshi for the wonderful script and direction; the script has so much material it moves at a break necking speed, never quite running out of events or situations. The crisp editing allows them to pack in a lot of stuff without it taking way too much time. The romance could have been toned down a bit as it was the only part that felt a bit unnecessary but in the end, that is a minor quirk in an otherwise outstanding effort. Shooting in real locations in Delhi such as the Red Fort and even a metro station lends an authenticity to the film that sets can simply not achieve. The music is strictly functional though and unlike the "Give Me Some Sunshine" song in Hirani's 3 Idiots, such a hard hitting number is missing.

For a country like India with an over-surge of religions, languages and traditions that sometimes border on meaninglessness, PK as a movie is an eye-opener. Sure it has its cheesy moments and it may not exactly be a "complex" piece of art in the league of Terrence Mallick or Christopher Nolan movies. But in an industry like Bollywood which is plagued with commercial no-brainers from one Khan after another, PK is not only a strong film, it is a laudable effort. I'd recommend every Indian to watch this film at least once and wake up from the nonsense that is being served in the name of religion to truly realizing what God is all about.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10

2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
The last of Middle-Earth, 21 December 2014

In a certain sense, The Battle Of The Five Armies could very well be to The Hobbit series what The Matrix Revolutions was to The Matrix Trilogy. With a battle occupying the center of the film and the title, chances of there being less story to tell abound. And after viewing the movie, I can understand why critics don't really like it.

From a critics' point of view, the movie has all that makes them cringe. It has an overabundance of visual effects in an attempt to recreate the epic battles of Jackson's prior trilogy. It has that clichéd love angle / triangle. It has deaths where every death appears a melodrama in itself. It has more connections to the Lord Of The Rings than you can count, effectively making it as a bridge film rather than a standalone one.

But then, I'm not a critic. And so, despite all of the above being true in a way, I still enjoyed the film. Yes the movie has a lot of visual effects and clichéd moments. But courtesy Jackson, the clichés manage to make an impact and the effects still appear spectacular. And this, in an age where CGI has made it notoriously difficult to please audiences is a great achievement. Yes, the deaths appear melodramatic. But having been with the characters since the last two films, they also touch you. Yes there are connections to the decade old Middle-Earth trilogy. But these connections only deepen the impact of every scene by making you realize what lies ahead.

Jackson was right when he said this film moves almost like a thriller. The editing is tight, the effects are a spectacle (it would be a shame to watch this first on a laptop / desktop and not on a big screen), and the music almost feels like the culmination of a six-film saga that began a decade ago. Howard Shore masterfully mixes different themes connecting this not only to the previous movies but to the Lord Of The Rings movies as well.

It was always my desire to see the first trilogy in theaters, something which I never got to do. With the Hobbit films, I have at least been able to witness Middle-Earth on the big screen. This may very well be Jackson's final foray into Middle-Earth and for this reason alone, if nothing else, it is worth seeing. Now let's hope Warner plans a Lord Of The Rings re-release in 3D.

Following (1998)
The birth of an intelligent film-maker, 19 October 2014

Saucy, eh ? If at all you're familiar with Christopher Nolan's style of film-making, watching this will at once make you realize where it all started. Its also of course possible that it began much before this but since much of that material isn't accessible to the public (save Doodlebug), we'll never really know. For all purposes, Following remains Nolan's feature film debut and it surely is a remarkable achievement.

The story follows Bill, a struggling unemployed writer who takes a liking to following people in hopes of finding material to write about. This liking soon turns into addiction forcing Bill to set rules to allow him to restrain his activities. One of the rules which he ends up breaking, is following the same person twice. The person with whom this rule is broken is Cobb, who soon confronts Bill about being followed. As it turns out, Cobb is a burglar who enjoys robbing people, not for the money, but rather for the sheer pleasure in taking away things that people took for granted; his belief being that it would make them realize what they had. Taken away by Cobb's lifestyle, Bill becomes a partner in his burglaries which is where the trouble begins.

Digging any more into the plot would serve to spoil the complex mystery that Following is. Following has a lot of those narrative structures that would become trademarks of Nolan's directorial style (intercuts, close-up inserts, non-linear editing, multiple chronologies, and so on). Nolan and crew were forced to make certain hard choices to obscure the severely limited budget, one of which was shooting the film in black and white. Of course, the plot was such that these decisions worked the film's favor. The film's incredible naturalism repeatedly comes to mind while watching the film. This is due largely in part to the film being shot hand-held, with scenes filmed in a take or two to save on film stock. The behind the scenes material with the film reveals this and other fascinating details about the film's production such as the crew shooting over weekends due to their jobs on weekdays as a result of which the film took a year to complete.

Despite the low budget, you're always hooked on to Following and that is due largely in part to the film's plot and tight writing (another of Nolan's strengths). Unlike many filmmakers who use lavish editing styles and gimmicky display effects, Nolan's films rely primarily on story and screenplay to get the viewers attention (with the occasional non-linear editing thrown in to really keep the audience alert at all times). Add to it, the intriguing characters which have personalities so distinct it appears Nolan himself followed a handful of people to get the traits right. Jeremy Theobald is as natural as the gullible Bill as Alex Haw is suave in the role of Cobb. And the chemistry between the two is so natural, it makes most of the dialogues they say seem improvised, as though real people were conversing.

Following is a great start for Nolan who has now moved on to bigger, elaborate and definitely better projects. It is a lesson for aspiring filmmakers that even with a limited budget, it is possible to make a feature as interesting, riveting and thrilling as some of the best noirs of the early 40s. While it may not be perfect, most of the limitations it suffers from are largely due to production values rather than plotting and pacing. It is nevertheless, a must watch for anyone who has even the slightest of respect for Christopher Nolan's film-making.

Overall Score: 7.0 / 10

Bang Bang (2014/I)
2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
A better script would've resulted in lots of more Bang !!!, 4 October 2014

There's a sequence in the movie where Harleen (Katrina Kaif) has been taken hostage / abducted. Rajveer (Hrithik Roshan) runs frantically to catch up to the bad guys taking her away. However, the bad guys have raced pretty far ahead. Just when all hope seems lost, Rajveer comes across an F1 racing track and spots an F1 car being off-loaded from a truck. The next thing we know, he's driving the F1 car along the streets of Abu Dhabi cutting across cars and traffic until he finally catches up to the bad guys. And this, is the moment where we hear the now famous score from the teaser play in the background.

Yes, Bang Bang does have its moments. And all those moments are in the action sequences. But action is all there is to Bang Bang. You'd think that after the disjointed effort that the Tom Cruise - Cameron Diaz starrer Knight And Day was, the filmmakers would use the opportunity of a remake to make the plot more interesting, connected and a bit meaningful. Turns out they didn't (in fact, with the emphasis on the romantic angle, they've only made it worse). You'd think Bang Bang's editing could be smooth as compared to the chaotic way in which Knight And Day was pieced together. Turns out this is equally chaotic with the film slowing to a crawl in the romantic sequences between Hrithik and Katrina (most of which contain dialogs that come across as highly cliché) and speeding up rapidly in the action sequences so that they're over before you even know it. I guess once a flop, always a flop.

Rather than lifting the plot straightaway from Knight And Day, this official remake gives the plot its own Bollywood spin. Thus, the MacGuffin here is a diamond (Kohinoor) instead of a perpetual energy source and (without getting into spoiler territory), the theme of revenge takes over. Also, the opening sequence has been reworked a bit so that instead of Knight And Day's plane crash, we have Hrithik meeting Katrina via an online dating site. Katrina's character Harleen is a simple bank receptionist who hasn't had fun for most of her life even though she wants to. Desperate to meet her knight in shining armor, she registers with an online dating site for a date with Vickee Kapoor who, the site reports as her perfect match. Of course, Vickee doesn't turn out for the date and Rajveer instead makes an appearance. Smitten by Harleen, he pretends to be Vickee and thus begins one of those drab Bollywood conversations that eventually ends up in the two falling for each other followed by a song and then a fight scene.

And thus begins the chase. Only this one has more romance than action (the action comes and goes pretty quickly even before you notice). Bang Bang suffers from the same problem that most Bollywood action flicks do; while the action looks good for a trailer, it appears disjointed on film so that the jump from one sequence to the next does not appear well connected. Why is the Kohinoor so important ? How does it serve its purpose (as revealed in the end) ? Why is Omar so feared ? Where does he come from ? Now I'm not saying that all these need to be explained exposition style. But in a 150 minute movie, some more detail would have only made things interesting. Add to that the songs which only make you wonder why they were needed in the first place. To serve as promotional material perhaps.

Hrithik does well in a drag script while Katrina irritates for the most part. Whether its her role or her performance, I can't say but she surely makes Cameron Diaz look like a legend. Director Siddharth Anand handles the action sequences decently enough with The Amazing Spider-Man 2's Andy Armstrong serving as action consultant. The film is shot well and while the songs are unnecessary, the music is generally good (both the mainstream and the background music). Salim-Sulaiman seem to have perfected the art of background scoring Bollywood flicks.

One only wishes that more attention had been paid to the story and screenplay. After all, these were the same issues that plagued the original Knight And Day off which this is based. Sadly, those issues plague Bang Bang as well. What we thus get is a well packaged but lame remake of an already lame movie which, with some fine tuning, could have translated well for Bollywood but does not. This is pure high-quality junk.

Overall Score: 5.0 / 10

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
They almost had it !!!, 16 June 2013

Now I guess a lot of people are simply going to "Disagree" with this review once they see the rating and the heading. After going through a lot of the reviews posted on this recently, I get the trend - you hate this movie even a bit and you have 20% of the audience disagreeing; you love it and 80% agrees with you. While I'm not at the end of either side as my score illustrates, I do believe the movie is slightly disappointing.

This being a Superman movie and the board being filled with Superman fans, lets not even discuss the plot. Instead, I'll straightaway get to the points. To begin with, here's what I liked about the movie:

Action & Effects: As much as the critics will bash it, I'll admit the action in the movie is simply spectacular, very literally of epic proportions and quite out of this world. In fact the trailer of this movie has more action than the whole of Superman Returns and the trailer contains only about 5 - 10% of the action. The best scenes are in the end when you see Superman flying at breakneck speed and slamming Zod - intensely gratifying.

Story & Script (If I understand the term Script correctly): Nolan and Goyer wrote and conceived the story together with Goyer then writing the screenplay. I must admit that this is definitely a very unique take on Superman, the likes of which we've never seen in any Superman movie or comic. The ideas presented are interesting and one plot point gradually leads into the next instead of scenes being forced. And the ending is simply brilliant.

Performances: Shannon as Zod is exceptional. Cavill as Superman is also intense. And both the fathers add their unique paternal touches. Everyone else plays their part convincingly.

Score: Hans Zimmer. That epic score running in the battles scenes. It doesn't get any bigger and better. Enough said.

Now, onto the dislikes:

Zack Snyder: I seriously didn't like his direction. He overuses Zimmer's score, inserts random flashbacks and focuses much more on action when instead he could have given time to characters like the Kents, Perry and Lois (though she does get a lot to do). Although the story had the world "reacting realistically" to Superman's arrival, we rarely get those moments save one or two shots of people staring in the sky reminiscent of standard disaster flicks - meaning, nothing different. I guess Nolan in the chair could have made a huge difference.

Cinematography: The hand-held work, while good enough in the action scenes, totally sucked during character interactions. I mean, when Jonathan is talking to kid Clark, the camera shakes so much to make it "seem real" that it looks like those scenes were shot with a Galaxy SIII with stabilization turned off. I doubt shaking the camera that much was the best way to achieve realism with the 3D making it even worse. Steady camera shots focusing on the actors could have a more powerful effect if not more.

Miscellaneous: Characters rarely get beyond a point (lets hope there's more of that in the sequel). The only exception is Zod who is far far better than what he was in Superman II - and yup, you actually empathize with him. The first meeting of Lois and Clark is not what people would expect and hope for (yet seems to be the only way to progress the story forward it seems). The "realistic" portrayal they were so talking about seems completely lacking as well.

So many hits and yet so many misses. While Man Of Steel is certainly a good movie, it was destined for greatness which it never manages to fully achieves. This, and not the movie, is the reason for my disappointment. Nevertheless, it certainly deserves a watch on the big screen. The action alone is worth it.

Score: 6.5 / 10

60 out of 107 people found the following review useful:
As if a Tank wasn't enough, they got a Plane too, 26 May 2013

Fast & Furious over the last few installments has become all about action. And the latest outing takes it a step further. Almost 20% of the movie is comprised of action sequences. And at the expense of action, plot, writing, characters all take a backseat. But no one's complaining. Why ? Because the action makes up for all of it.

Do the above statements sound cliché ??? The movie's plot is full of such silly dialogs so its best ignored in the current context. What works is the action - Lin and his crew bring us some of the most ridiculously outrageous and boldly conceived action sequences. There's an intense chase through London in the initial reels and also a race later on. There's a whole plane take-off-crash sequence towards the end that you've probably got a glimpse of in the trailers. The girls are no slouches either and we see an intense hand-to-hand fight of sorts between Michelle Rodriguez's Letty and Gina Carano's Riley.

But the movie's best sequence is undoubtedly the 10 minute Tank chase across the freeway that involves most of the cast and culminates in a breathtaking "catch" (about which I'd not say any further). The camera cuts like crazy, music is pulsating and that single sequence is probably worth the price of the movie ticket.

Apart from action, Furious 6 doesn't have much going for it. Dialog is standard, at times even silly and predictable, characters are flat, performances are decent. The car chases and night scenes got me so involved, I actually felt a bit strange leaving the theater and coming out into the real world's broad daylight. And the post-credits scene is simply, a treat which makes the next installment in the series worth looking forward to. Suffice it to say that in the end, the movie drifts full circle.

Watch it for the action, and for the action alone. If you expect any sort of character development or family issues like the first installment had, you'll be disappointed. Else, you're in for one hell of a ride.

Score: 7 / 10

Iron Man 3 (2013)
1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
He still is Iron Man, 28 April 2013

We've all seen the trailers. And we've all probably built up a certain vibe about the movie - that its taking the dark route a.l.a. DC movies. So, if it doesn't end up living up to that vibe that its built around itself, its bound to disappoint viewers, mildly or hugely. Because in this case, the dark route actually seemed like a perfect fit for the third installment.

Sample this: After the events of The Avengers, Tony Stark suddenly realizes that there are other supremely powerful beings in existence, that he's not alone, and that when compared with the others, he's certainly not the strongest of the bunch. So he develops post-traumatic stress, starts getting anxiety attacks, and in the process has built himself an army of suits - an Iron Legion - all because he just doesn't feel safe anymore. This causes friction between him and everyone else he knows - between him and Pepper and their romance, between him and Rhodey and their friendship, and between him and Happy affecting their bonding. Lots of room for exploration there right ??? Add to that, an emerging terrorist threat in the form of The Mandarin whose organization, The Ten Rings was alluded to in the first movie and you have an opportunity to bring things a full circle. The Mandarin being Iron Man's most prominent foe in comic book legacy only helps.

But sadly, it looks like the movie doesn't care to exploit all of these to their fullest. I'm not saying it doesn't use these issues at all, Tony's vulnerabilities are played out brilliantly. Its just that they could have done so much more with this material and the trailers gave us reason after reason to expect that they have that we end up a tad bit dissatisfied or should I say even mildly frustrated. And the pacing of the movie is quite feverish which isn't a problem if the characters are involving enough. But when they keep spurting out one-liners after another with a comic intent, it gets a bit irritating. Again, I'm saying a bit and not hugely irritating.

There's no reason to scoff at the movie's production values. In fact, being a Marvel movie, I shouldn't even be commenting on how amazing the visuals are, or with Black at the helm, the action is top-notch. It would simply be wasting characters in this review if details are described. But yes, the airplane crash and the subsequent fall sequence deserves mention - its the only sequence in the movie that gave me real goosebumps. I'd say that sequence makes up for some of the movie's flaws never mind the brief duration that it last's for.

Downey is at the top of his game here. He plays a more mature, sensible and disturbed Stark unlike the jolly good alcoholic of the previous movies. However he does retain his sense of humor which is good in a way but not so good when done excessively. The girls get little screen time but give in their best. As for the bad guys, they're all effective and any further comments on their performance would mean spoiling a big twist in the movie.

With Iron Man 3, Marvel's Phase II has begun. And while this may not be the best of starts, its certainly not a bad one by any means. A little bit of fine tuning and even sticking to the vibe the trailers projected would have made this movie a serious force to bicker or reckon with. As it is though, Iron Man 3 is a pretty decent summer flick. Just don't expect anything extraordinary out of it.

I was about to give it a 7, but I'll raise the score by 0.5 for Downey's performance and for the airplane sequence.

Score: 7.5 / 10

Oblivion (2013/I)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
The visuals are surely not prone to Oblivion, 14 April 2013

In a vast seemingly endless landscape, Jak travels on a bike surrounded by what appears to be the remnants of the Manhattan Bridge. In another shot, Jak's Bubbleship circles a destroyed football stadium which hosted the last Superbowl before the alien invasion that destroyed earth. These are simply two of the many shots that you see in Oblivion showing a ravaged Earth circa 2077. And they're a sight to behold no matter the countless times such sights have been and shall continue to be shown on celluloid. The effects blend in seamlessly and after the initial few shots, it ceases to matter what's real and what's digital.

For a futuristic sci-fi that claims to be original (and it is if Kosinski's unpublished graphic novel by the same name is considered just that: unpublished), Kosinski nails the look and atmosphere. But then, Kosinski's already done that in Tron: Legacy, his last outing, which was no less of a visual achievement by any means. Fortunately, at least for me, this one comes out to be a tad bit better than his previous attempt.

Jak Harper and Victora a.k.a. Vika work as a team with Vika serving as the operator and Jak handling the drone maintenance work on Earth: repairing drones that have been programmed to destroy any alien life on sight. Earth was destroyed in an alien attack 60 years ago and while the humans won the war, the planet was sabotaged beyond habitation. On one of his routine missions, Jak encounters a flying object that crash lands on Earth. It turns out that there were five objects housing humans with one of them resembling a woman Jak has been seeing frequently in his dreams. Jak rescues her and the real story takes off from there.

Joseph Kosinski takes the simple route and has the film begin with a narration by Cruise explained the aforementioned scenario. Perhaps he chose to do it because the film already has plenty of surprises in store in the second half and as such, there was no need to obscure Earth's current situation. As expected, the movie feels like a well polished product in all departments. Cruise, Olga and Andrea turn in pretty decent performances despite having no distinct character arcs to follow. Cruise in particular gives in a very, shall I say, sincere performance playing it low key. Freeman essays his cameo with ease. The Zimmerish music does get a bit repetitive and generic but manages to keep the tension at appropriate levels which suits my tastes so that'll be a plus for me. And thankfully, the movie refuses to go all out into Haloesque action mode for a long time with the action being interspersed and well spaced and most importantly, kept to as much as is required and no more.

What you will take in the end with Oblivion are the visuals. Lets face it, by the time the whole movie ends, you'll realize all the plots elements have been borrowed from a flick or two in the past. But these days, its not only about an original plot but an original execution. And for a movie that's not a remake, or a sequel, or an established comic book or adapted novel, Oblivion does the job. It may not be an Avatar but Oblivion is decent enough for a one time watch. And going by the visuals, that watch is best suited for the big screen.

Score: 7.5 / 10

Doodlebug (1997)
12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Humble Beginnings, 13 May 2012

A word of advice. Watch this movie straightaway without reading anything about it. Most of the plot summaries you'll go through will mostly end up ruining the movie for you. Its incredibly short (about 3 minutes) so even if it ends up sucking for you, it wouldn't have in any way hurt to devote 3 minutes to what I find a great start for a by now famous and master craftsman Nolan. Heck even a visit to the loo takes more time so giving 3 minutes to this movie without any second thought shouldn't be hard enough. Let the bug surprise you.

Doodlebug came to my attention when doing a bit of research (that isn't the right term but I'll stick to it anyway) on Christopher Nolan now that his final movie in the Batman trilogy is about to hit out. It appears he made two more shorts before this of which one named Larceny, I've heard a lotta praises about but sadly couldn't manage to get my hands on it anywhere. So I decided to started my Nolan filmography with this one. For the meager amount of money, this movie is quite a watch. Excellent camera-work, nice editing which keeps the movie flowing smoothly (and not much like Nolan's later non-linear works), good effects for a short (that's just me though) and a decent performance make this worth a watch. Now I don't exactly know what messages this movie wished to convey but I do know that those were some entertaining and insightful 3 minutes into what was to come in the future from this guy. Following's up next for sure.

The perfect Star Wars movie. The perfect action adventure flick. The perfect film., 12 February 2012

It's now an accepted fact that the first Star Wars is regarded as one of the most, or amongst some communities, the most successful movie of all time both in terms of critical acclaim and box office gross. Attempting a sequel to a movie of such magnitude, while an exciting prospect from the movie goers' perspective, is a suicidal task for the crew behind the same. One can only imagine the immense pressure of expectations that the makers of this film would have gone through while making this movie and even more so when the movie eventually saw the light. However, this movie not only fulfills all such hopes that fans of the first movie would have from the sequel but takes the Star Wars franchise into an even better and exciting territory, and improving upon the minor flaws of the first, turns out to be an adventure that can be regarded as good as perfect in all aspects of film-making. Although I had gotten a slight hint of this from the forums and internet talk, I now realize why this is regarded as the best movie in the Star Wars universe.

There's little need to get into the plot as it is best experienced by watching the movie directly. To describe it in short though, Darth Vader is desperately after Luke Skywalker and wants to turn him to the dark side. In an attempt to capture him, he plans to use his friends Han Solo and Princess Leia as bait. Meanwhile, Luke, guided by Obi-Wan Kenobe's voice through the mystical Force must travel to Dagobah where he must learn the true ways of a Jedi Knight in order to confront the evil lord Darth Vader.

Once again, all the elements that made the original Star Wars a success abound in the sequel. There's a well conceived story put together in place, great writing and editing that makes all the sequences feel connected to each other allowing them all to flow together, there's the original cast giving better performances this time being more aware of their characters, and of course, there's the by now famous Star Wars opening musical piece. Lucas, busy handling his newly established visual effects house and finances, hands over the directorial reins to his trusted professor Irvin Kershner. A professor at the University of Cinema Sciences, the way he handles the epic sequences while at the same time concentrating on expanding and developing the characteristic traits of the main cast gives the film an emotional depth which was sorely lacking in the original movie and which was one of my complaints with that film - the characters there were appeared too flat and devoid of personality as though they were just going through the motions. The presence of some character development this time allows us to connect with them even better which in turn makes the situations in which they get involved in a lot more engaging. Amongst all, the character of Han Solo as a dependable "scoundrel" is what really stands out; Ford plays him out in a near perfect way which is not only consistent with what Solo was in the first film, but also takes it in a further positive direction. His sequences with Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia are amongst the high points of the movie and are brilliantly played out. We also see Mark Hamill as a now slightly more mature Luke Skywalker as he journeys to Dagobah to learn the ways of a true Jedi from the strangely voiced Yoda. And of course there's the inseparable duo of C-3PO and R2-D2 who are actually forced to stay apart from each other for a major portion of this movie. As much as I can admit to not being able to understand anything R2 says, I have inexplicably grown to like his presence immensely in Star Wars.

The film features visual effects and action on a scale that's almost twice as big as its predecessor (the budget only confirms this). Spending $32 million on a movie in 1980 would not have been regarded as a wise decision but thank goodness that Lucas decided to go for it or we might not have been able to witness space battles on such a huge scale. The battle on the ice planet at the start of the movie is brilliantly staged and a behind the scenes documentary sheds some light on how some of these miraculous shots were achieved. What's really great about the action is that unlike the heavily edited action sequences of present films wherein the average shot just lasts for about 2-3 seconds, shots in Star Wars last longer making the action very comprehensible and easy to follow. Its easy to see the strategies being adopted by each side while fighting as opposed to units just being brought down by random shots fired by people / creatures obscured by the miss-mash editing. And the best sequence of the movie comes towards the end in an epic battle between Luke and Darth Vader that literally will send your pulse racing. Even more exciting is the battle's infamous outcome which I shall not reveal.

Movies like The Empire Strikes Back come only once in a while. Perhaps, every decade must have only a few of these movies present. Fans would obviously come up with a few nitpicks here and there but as far as my opinion goes, this movie is perfect in every aesthetic and area of film-making I'm ever aware of. Now that this movie has set such high standards for the Star Wars saga, I wonder where the next movies will take me. Suffice it to say, The Empire Strikes Back strikes a positive blow from which recovery is simply not possible. A winner all the way !!!

Score: 10 / 10

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