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188 reviews in total 
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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
A warm love story; neat performances & a message of goodness!, 18 February 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Ever since its release, reviewers and audiences have been busy comparing MNIK with Forrest Gump. So, is it true? Definitely Not! While Forrest Gump was an extraordinary lifetime journey of a low-IQ-nice-guy, MNIK deals with the mending of a relationship smothered by typecasting of communities in the aftermath of terror attacks. The protagonist’s condition, Asperger’s Syndrome adds a third angle to the story.

Born with social interaction disability, Rizvan detests anything yellow or loud, but is gifted with the ability of repairing appliances. Events lead him to the US where he falls in love and marries the vivacious Mandira. Things change post 9/11 when Mandira’s son is killed in the communal hatred for his last name ‘Khan’. She now hates Rizvan for giving them the last name. It is now up to Khan to regain his lost love!

While being sentimental, MNIK packs in a message that every Muslim is not a terrorist, and Khan wants to tell this to the US President. Too many obstacles are thrown in, including a hurricane, terror suspicions, imprisonment, et al. But northing bothers our undaunted hero who even simplistically offers to repair the Air Conditioner in the prison! Ah yes, he also teaches us about pronouncing “Khan from the epiglottis”.

Religious tolerance is a hackneyed Bollywood theme. But, MNIK does it with a lot of heart. Khan lives by his mother’s principles that no religion is bad, but it is people who are either good or bad. His sincere journey touches hearts, admonishes hardliners and pines to re-unite with Mandira who now finds strength in hatred and prefers it to the weakness of love for Khan. The SRK-Kajol pairing here is simply beyond words!

Coming from a director best known for ‘loving your parents’ family movies, Karan Johar has carefully blended his ‘relationship’ skills with stronger themes of religion and disabilities, all into one film. Considering that SRK is one the producers, I won’t entirely believe that his airport security drama was not a publicity stunt! The producers must also thank the politicos for giving a nitrous boost to the release and its profits!

What makes MNIK tick is its cast. While King Khan is probably the best ‘emotion’ actor, adding Kajol to the combo makes it a killer. Tannay Chheda of Slumdog fame as the young Khan has some resemblance with SRK and Zarina Wahab as his mother is apt. Jimmy Shergill as Khan’s brother is decent but Sonia Jehan is outstanding in her role as the professor sister-in-law of Khan who identifies his condition and helps him.

Some of the songs like Sajda are Tere Naina make Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s work worthwhile. The songs don’t interrupt the flow either; a credit to the editors. Filming locations are the glossy as usual but those one that is over the top is the little Georgian town that propels Khan to Stardom. While it is undeniable that MNIK has an overdose of drama, it has packs in a lot of little moments that touch your heart. Try it out!

Ishqiya (2010)
8 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Well intentioned but hurriedly delivered; good acting & songs!, 3 February 2010

Movie Review: Ishqiya (Hindi) 107

If the promos were to be believed, this could have been one of the best made movies of the year. Who could predict that a movie that starred the immensely talented Naseeruddin Shah, Vidya Balan and Arshad Warsi along with the 'Vishal Bharadwaj' tag could only turn into a movie which you would call nothing more than 'Okay, decent'. Nevertheless, as music adds much needed spice, it's still worth your money!

The film opens with Krishna (Balan) in bed with husband Vidyadhar Verma in playful pillow-talk. As Krishna addresses Verma as 'Jahaanpanah' on screen, the audience was quick to append it with 'tussi great ho'; remember "3 Idiots" anyone? Cut to next scene, a blast. Cut again to Khalujaan (Shah) and Babban (Warsi) fleeing with stolen money seeking refuge at the now widow Krishna's village home near Gorakhpur.

The story builds on as Krishna unleashes her femme fatale charms to tame the duo to toe her line. Vidya Balan playing her part to perfection uses her 'desi' sensuality to the fullest while also displaying shades of bravado firing the shotgun when needed. As with Vishal Bhadwaj's movies, Ishqiya too has a rustic setting, foul mouthed characters and a hinterland heart. This flick deals with Kidnapping near the Nepalese border.

By interval time, the narrative just warms up enough to suggest that the trio now plan to kidnap a rich businessman for ransom. Khalu and Babban jump into agreement, given that their booty stands stolen and has to be repaid while on the other, they're taken over by lust and love for Krishna who manipulates their passions, so much so that Khalu junks his old lover's photo & Babban ditches his pal to make love to her.

The film-makers may have planned their hard-sell on the plank that Krishna's role is in shades of grey. Femme fatales have done well for themselves all through history, be it Cleopatra, or in Bollywood, "Karz" or "Aitraaz". But expectations fall flat towards the end as Krishna turns into nothing more than the clichéd vengeful Indian wife. Well, being apologetic was the last thing that one could expect out of a Vishal Bhardwaj film.

Making things worse is the hurried rush of scenes towards the end; as if a student just realized that he only ten minutes left with half the paper still to go. Climax is contrived and destroys the original 'femme fatale in grey' thread. But, its brilliant songs such as Rahat Fateh Ali khan rendition 'Dil to Bachcha Hai' and Singhs Sukhwinder & Mika's 'Ibn- E-Batuta' work like a balm. Try it out and you won't regret watching it.

1 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Himesh, for God's sake, stop acting and stick to composing!, 3 February 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"What did you think you were doing?", "Are you crazy", etc. were some of the reactions when I said that I saw Himesh Reshammiya's 'Radio' on the big screen this weekend. While buying the tickets, even the box office staffer said "Go for Paa instead, it's a good movie". But, my curiosity to see this composer turned singer turned actor's indomitable spirit to fight the odds and his detractors led me to sit through this apology of a movie.

Vivaan Shah (Himesh) is a popular RJ on Radio Mirchi who solves romantic tangles and of his callers; but his own life is in a mess following a divorce from Puja (Sonal Sehgal). However, neither accepts it well and harbor feelings for each other. Meanwhile, he runs into a free spirited Shenaya (Shenaaz Treasurywala) which develops into a meaningful bond. Both the women love him, as Vivaan refuses to acknowledge it or believe in love.

It's well known that Himesh can't act! Furthermore, he has dumped his hinterland audience to tap urban youth with references to Facebook, coffee conversations and RJ talk. Its tag line "It's complicated" seems inspired from the relationship choices on Facebook. I could never imagine anybody turning this playful phrase into a whole two hour movie! But, none of the youth stuff is capitalized and bears no effect on the story.

'Radio' comes to you in chapters, about 18 of them. While most are poorly scripted, some come with bits of intelligent dialogue sprinkled in between. Old time VJ Shenaaz who's started to look old now makes a decent effort to be sweet and adorable and is the better one amongst the three leads. Sonal Sehgal's effort is bearable. However, given Himesh's constipated expression throughout, there was nothing to save the movie.

The masala in the story includes a weirdly comical Punjabi and Parsi family of Shenaya whose family can never get their dish antenna fixed despite the Punjabi father being a senior cop. Probably Himesh didn't want his characters to buy dish antennas sold by his mentor Salman's competitors Shahrukh or Aamir. Paresh Rawal in his cameo as the forever- in-doubt 'Jhandu Lal Tyagi' makes a feeble attempt to tickle your funny bone.

To its credit, you don't feel cheated when you watch 'Radio'. That's because you watch it with expectations which are around zero or probably in the negative territory. In the end, you may come back humming a few of its songs 'Teri Meri Dosti Ka Aasmaan' or 'Rafa Dafa'. 'Mann Ka Radio' or rather 'Gham ka Radio' played repeatedly in the first few minutes makes it feel like a nail being drilled into a head and 'Damaadji' is horrendous.

With just 19 people strong audience, that too on the opening weekend speaks for itself. Some of us in there took pleasure in mocking at Himesh in every other scene. So, you know what to expect! Wait, before you think you can write off his filmi career, our Nasal star is all set to strike back again with 'Kajraare' later this month, 'Ishq Unplugged' in post production for 2010 followed by 'Mudh Mudh Ke Na Dekkh Mudh Mudh Ke'!

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Juvenile! Grab your ‘chance’ to skip this ‘dance’, 22 January 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Chance Pe Dance is a hackneyed story based on ‘reality shows’, the 'happening' stuff these days. Following the moderately successful “Ishq Vishq” and box office failure “fida”, this is the third of Ken Ghosh – Shahid Kapoor combos. While its budget permitted it to hire stars, it sorely loses out on juvenile script and shabby execution.

The story is about Sameer, a Michael Jackson devotee and a starry eyed struggler who fights his budgets by toasting bread with an iron, and has a broken fridge for a cupboard. Then there are failed auditions and dodging the landlord for rent. He nearly lands up with a music video but is displaced by a star-son. In the process though, he gains the smiley Tina (Genelia) a choreographer as his friend.

While the movie is themed on Dance and occasionally demonstrates its stuff, lame songs and an underused Shahid make a dumb movie dumber. Impracticality continues and a director who just saw Sameer dance casts him 'hero' in his next flick. But wait, the movie has just started and how can it be so goody-goody already? Then, the predictable happens. His production knocks him off for a talent hunt instead.

Till now you just had fun and drama is due to kick-in. A now jobless and homeless Sameer now decides to live in his car. Wait, did I say 'car'? A guy juggling borderline poverty drives around his four wheels! The only silly reason for the car was that the script wanted to have its 'hero' living in a car! It doesn’t end here. He takes up a job teaching school kids to dance while using their bathrooms for ablutions.

Trying to reach out to teens, they had to show have some child drama like the kids wining the inter-school dance competition, all due to Shahid. Though clichéd, the scene where his pupils part with their lunch boxes to feed their hungry and penniless teacher is touching. These lows also give an opportunity to the lead couple to show some chemistry, with a little help from Tina’s brother played neatly by Zain Khan.

It attempts to include humor, but this Augean mess of a movie leaves you curse your choice of movie. As you endure its painful length and poor editing, you turn into a hapless victim of reality TV drama transferred to a larger screen. Substantiating the accusations of imitating King Khan, Shahid does a 'my mom’s dream’ speech that even touches his rigid father. No prizes for guessing the obvious ending.

So, is there anything at all that is worthwhile in this? Barring Genelia’s freshness and some teen stuff, there is nothing. The dances are boring; Shahid retains his Kaminay hairdo and six-pack abs are now passé. Shahid’s forte is about cute looks and dance moves, both of which are untapped fully. So, take my advice, save your time and money; forget that this movie ever released; applies to die hard Shahid fans too!

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Wins you over with its narrative; a must watch!, 10 January 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Though having been a movie buff for a long time, I hadn’t watched much of Woody Allen’s movies till recently when “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” was telecast on Zee Studio that opened my eyes to this gem of a movie and the great man behind it. It went without saying that I followed this up watching “Match Point”, “Scoop” and “Hollywood Ending”. The sheer beauty of storytelling without the frills runs through them all.

In this movie, he dissects relationships and lays bare the feelings, physical, emotional and circumstantial that affects romance. The trick is to watch it without making value judgments. Love could blossom in the most unpredictable situations and between unlikely partners. And, in the end, it could all be just so transient!

Set in a summer at Barcelona, the story traces the two months spent by two friends Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson). While Vicky is interested in Catalan culture in which she was doing her masters, Cristina looked for a change of scenery after giving up on a short film and breaking up with a boyfriend. Despite similar views on most issues, the duo had absolutely divergent views on love!

The girls bump into an artist Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem) at an art gallery. Later at dinner he propositions them for a weekend of fun at Oviedo. Shot to precision, this is my favorite scene. As the offer is made, the two girls react differently. While Cristina finds Juan Antonio interesting, Vicky detests the idea of following him to Oviedo. But, strange as things turn out, Vicky and Juan Antonio make love eventually.

Vicky is drawn to the artist who still loves his ex-wife Maria Elena (Penelope Cruz, Oscar winner for a Supporting role) who believes that only unfulfilled love can be romantic and had stabbed Juan Antonio. As the days pass, Cristina and Juan Antonio’s are in love and start living together. Vicky then gets married to Doug, her betrothed but her life has changed forever after what she’d experienced in Oviedo.

Maria Elena re-enters the scene. Though having gone green over Juan Antonio initially, Cristina and Maria Elena start their own romance with Antonio joining in later. They discover that Cristina was the missing ingredient in their romance. Though the going is good, Cristina is soon over with Juan Antonio and Maria Elena and falls out. Vicky then tries to take Cristina’s place and ends up getting shot.

In the end, the girls Vicky and Cristina leave Spain, Vicky back to Doug and Cristina back to nowhere ad the artist couple break up. All are back where they started. And you are left wiser to world cinema. Well, if you wondered why Barcelona? The city offered to support the budget if it were short there. Hence, Woody Allen’s original draft for San Francisco was changed to fit Barcelona. The result is a masterpiece.

The story, screenplay and performances are amazing. The Oscar wins and nominations say enough already. It’s a testimony to the superiority of art over high budgets. If you are in a mood for some classy cinema, I recommend this for your DVD collection.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
An old thriller; Jack Nicholson & Danny Lloyd make it worthwhile!, 10 January 2010

One of those old classics among thriller/ horror genre! Nearly three decades old and over two hours long, the only thing that can keep you glued to the screen is Jack Nicholson’s mesmeric performance while the eerie setting of a lonely hotel in the hills, everything around covered in snow and an untold story of death complete the picture.

Jack Torrance (Nicholson) a writer doubles up as a school teacher to make ends meet. When a position opens up as a caretaker at the Overlook Hotel in the mountains that closes down for the entire winter, Jack grabs the opportunity knowing fully well that a decade ago, one of his kind failed to handle the solitude and murdered his two daughters with an axe and then drowned his wife before shooting himself.

Joining Jack in his sojourn are his wife Wendy (Shelly Duvall), a fan of horror flicks and son Danny (Danny Lloyd). The little boy though seems to have visions of Overlook’s past and flowing blood. A casual chat with Chef Hallorann (Scatman Crothers) reveals that he too like Danny can foresee things and know unspoken words, a skill that is called “shining” here and is adequately demonstrated at significant turns in the film.

The long winter soon gets on Jack’s nerves as he is seen to be visibly stressed by his work and the loneliness of winter. As is must in horror flicks, he soon starts talking to the dead who tell him that he was always the hotel’s manager and compel him to ‘correct’ his son and wife who seem to guard themselves from the ominous. Hallorann, meanwhile envisions the happenings from Miami and flies down to save them.

While Jack Nicholson is an accomplished performer par excellence, Danny Lloyd thoroughly shines in his role. Be it his conversations with the imaginary Tony or his curious cycling around the hotel, chance encounters with the dead girls, his visions of death and the spooky humming of ‘Red-Rum’ which is read backwards as ‘Murder’. Shelly Duvall as the mom already looks spooky and is a fine fit for her role.

Based on the book by Stephen King, Stanley Kubrick the experienced Horror director makes sure that “The Shining” has its moments. Danny’s cycling scenes, sudden appearance of ghosts, conversations with them and the silent emptiness of locale are done well. The chase sequence in the snow-laden giant garden-maze is apt too. Despite its length, the performances will keep you glued to it. Worthwhile on DVD!

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Commendable effort & realistic feel; nothing too scary!, 10 January 2010

This was supposed to be a movie that scared many in the Western world. If you have seen those advertisements, you can’t miss the audience yelling in theatres. But for all its hype as a realistic scary movie, honestly I wasn’t scared one bit watching this one. The likes of “Ring” or “Grudge” and their sequels were far scarier actually.

The story is about a young couple Micah (Micah Sloat) and Katie (Katie Featherson) who seem to be experiencing the paranormal in their house. Strange footsteps, banging on doors, faucets and lights going on and off doors opening and closing by themselves compel Micah to capture it on camera to better understand the events.

What is worth appreciating is that it has entirely been shot on Handy-cam on a shoe-string budget of USD 15,000. Having already become a successful, the ROI figures would have just gone tizzy. As long as you don’t mind the shaky & grainy pictures and unedited sound buzz and that you only see 6 human faces throughout its near 90 minute runtime, it oozes of creativity and confidence and it scared people too!

So, what makes Paranormal Activity work? It’s the thought of just two people living all alone in a luxuriously huge American house. People can relate to Micah and Katie who are not stars but just commoners; the idea is to make audience feel “hey, it could’ve been us”. Then comes the western obsession with exorcism, ouija boards and yeah ‘demonologists’ to solve their problems despite their tech advances!

I was told that this was to be boring in the beginning with scariness picking up slowly as the story progresses. But, barring those odd scenes of doors moving and strange sounds punctuating it, you wait endlessly for something concrete. When something really happens towards the end, you’re done with your endurance. I saw two of its 3 alternate endings, which were at best unsetting, but not unexpected.

There is however no worthwhile explanation offered for the phenomena happening there and you have to be content with the abrupt ending leaving you tad cheated. And No, it’s not a real story; but, director Oran Peli has definitely made a wonderful effort at keeping it realistic. Ah yes, you have to give it to the director for casting the duo who have such great chemistry. And what more, Sloat doubles up as cameraman too!

If this movie doesn’t work in India, I won’t really be surprised. In countries like ours, the sheer number of people living in a neighborhood can scare ghosts away! But, if you’re looking for a break from the lame Bollywood fare of this week, try this flick. But yeah, if are a tad weak hearted for horror or sleep alone at home, better beware!

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A fine animated story with lively characters and lovely music!, 10 January 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

One of those 90’s classics that I had enjoyed during my schooldays was a beauty to watch again recently. Though the story is just an odd family drama where the less capable brother overthrows the king by deceit while his son runs away; only to return years later to undo the injustice and regain his throne. Where “Lion King” excels is getting this story out of animated animals and put in a way that kids would love.

Pride Rock in Africa is where the earth is green and animals live in peace in the reign of the great lion Mufasa (James Earl Jones) who is assisted by an old wise monkey Rafiki and a loyal bird Zazu (Rowan Atkinson). Plotting with the hyenas, Scar (Jeremy Irons) causes a wildebeest stampede and kills Mufasa while Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas/ Matthew Broderick) takes the blame for putting his father in fatality’s way.

Consequently, Simba runs away to a distant land where he grows up in the company of Timon, a meerkat and Pumba a warthog, characters so lively that their “Hakuna Matata”, the no-worry song is one of its biggest hits with its infectious positivity. In a chance encounter with his former playmate and destined lover Nala reminds him of his unfinished business at home. Wiser now, Simba returns to claim his due!

Made in times that can nostalgically be remembered as the days when animation still had the old artistic beauty with just the right mix of CGI. “Beauty and the Beast” and “Anastasia” too come from a similar time and won accolades for their Music. Though its sequels or games weren’t too appealing, the original is still a masterpiece. You can’t just miss those adorable characters, each filled with life and character!

No description of “Lion King” can be complete without a befitting praise to its songs. While Hans Zimmer won the Oscar for the best score, Elton John’s Can You Feel the Love Tonight in the credits is its best song. The judicious mix of African vocals in “Circle of Life” the deep darkness of “Be Prepared” and childish fun of “Can’t wait to be king” keep ringing much after the movie is over and even after years pass by!

With its short runtime of just over an hour, it doesn’t take away much of your time but doesn’t at all fail to take you into itself. Neatly edited, there is never a time that you get bored with it. Though technology has moved light years after Lion King, I’d still say that if you have missed watching it back then, better run and grab the DVD!

3 Idiots (2009)
1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Intelligent Script plus Munnabhai-esquire fun = a sure entertainer, 6 January 2010

Coming from the director of the “Munnabhai” series, on the face of it, 3 idiots is a complete 'paisa vasool' (value for money) comedy. As with his earlier flicks, it has benign intentions at heart, and some lessons for the system. Vis-à-vis a goon do-gooder there, you have an enigmatic genius here who seems turn everything that he touches into gold; which includes smiles, encouragement, healing, love, creativity, tears and some hard lessons.

The system under attack here is similar to that in Aamir’s previous masterpiece “Tare Zameen Par”: Education as he steps up his ire from schools to professional colleges that emphasize on cramming and bagging ranks. One of the gags says: “if you don't run, you'll be like a broken anda (egg)”. Facing the attack is the fictional Imperial College of Engineering, modeled on the famed IITs and shot on campus at IIM Bangalore.

Drawing inspiration from Chetan Bhagat’s ‘5 point someone’, it tracks the lives of its 3 protagonists Ranchhoddas Chanchad or Rancho (Aamir Khan), Farhan Qureshi (R Madhavan) and Raju Rastogi (Sharman Joshi) through their college days, their battles with the dictatorial Director Viru Sahasrabuddhe or ViruS (Boman Irani) and a dabbles into Rancho’s love interest and ViruS’ daughter and a doctor, Pia (Kareena Kapoor).

3 Idiots also tackles issues such as pursuing a stream of education against one’s own creative interests or heart’s calling, teaching a hard lesson to ragging seniors and an odd lesson to slimy nerds. While he goes about things, he gets Pia to fall for him too. Rancho’s bold methods irk ViruS, the similar antagonist from Hirani’s Munnabhai. Of course, as must all movies end, Rancho opens up ViruS’ eyes towards the end.

The funniest scene in undoubtedly is the one involving Rancho modifying Chatur’s speech. While it had to praise ViruS for his ‘chamatkar’ (miracles) in the college, the modified ‘balatkar’ (rape) brings out the reality. With Omi Vaidya delivering it to rote perfection, you’d be rolling on the floor laughing. Here, don’t also miss Hirani’s lesson that mugging up without understanding is ‘balatkar’ of knowledge.

While it’s not all perfect, there are times when the drama is overdone, especially the delivery scene on a TT table! But considering its other goodies, overlooking this is quite easy. The best goodie comes in the form of editing wherein it weaves the past and present events as Farhan and Raju accompanied by a vengeful Chatur try to unearth the whereabouts of the ‘real’ Rancho who disappeared during the convocation.

Aamir Khan is synonymous with quality films. It’s another thing though that I found last year’s "Ghajini” purely average and it turned out to be a hit. But, with 3 Iditots, his sole release for this year, Aamir, in my reckoning is back to his glory days of “Tare Zameen Par”. If the rave reviews and BO collections are to be believed, 3 idiots is a Smash-Hit. If you have still not seen this meaningful laugh riot, rush now for a bite of its 'gyaan' (wisdom).

Avatar (2009)
32 out of 51 people found the following review useful:
I’m Speechless! Simply redefines cinematic experience!, 21 December 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First, he gave us slimy “Aliens” that Sigourney Weaver battled hard as Ripley. Then the cult hit “Terminator” that created a new benchmark for science fiction and followed it up with the smash hit sequel “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” which initiated many in my generation to Sci-Fi and admiration of Hollywood. “Titanic” mesmerized fans of both SFX and Romance genres while it pushed the envelope for elaborate production design.

More than 12 years after “Titanic” comes the most awaited movie of the recent years “Avatar” in which James Cameron has created a whole new Planet Pandora replete with new creatures, predators and humanoid aliens that in every way are beautiful! Well, it did cost him more than 300 million USD to make it and another 100 spent on promotion, but the spectacle that you see on the gigantic IMAX screen in 3D is beyond words!!

Set in 2154 and 4 light years away, humans are now exploiting ‘Pandora’ an earth-like moon orbiting a gas giant in Alpha Centauri for an expensive and rare mineral appropriately called ‘unobtanium’. Coming in their way are the indigenous Na’vi who need to be relocated from their ‘home-tree’ that sits on a deposit of unobtainium.

RDA, the company has already tried its best to convince the Na’vi to move. They have taught them English and tried offering infrastructure. But, being content in their natural settings, the Na’vi have no interest in what the humans have to offer. English plus business: doesn’t this remind you of European colonization in some sort?

The air on Pandora is toxic to humans necessitating the wearing of gas masks outdoors. To get around this, the researchers led by Dr Grace Augustine played by good old Sigourney Weaver have developed an alien-human hybrid ‘Avatar’ that can be mentally controlled by the brain of the person whose DNA was used to build it. Here, the idea of jacking into a computer generated digital-self will surely remind you of “The Matrix”!

The death of his researcher brother in the Avatar program leads to his paraplegic ex-Marine brother Jake Sully joining up the Avatar program. Played by Sam Worthington of Terminator Salvation fame, Jake is happy using his Avatar that gets him to use his legs. Soon, he befriends the tree living Na’vi and its huntress princess Neytiri. Learning their ways during the day, Jake returns to debrief his trigger-happy boss, Colonel Quaritch.

Soon Jake begins to appreciate the harmony and spiritual connection the Na’vi have with nature and falls in love with Neytiri, much to the dismay of Quaritch who attacks the home-tree. Though the script was written a decade ago, I believe Cameron has subtly hit out at the recent American battles for oil that the administration justified in dubious ways. For those who say the script is poor, take this quote from Jake Sully “When people are sitting on stuff you want, you make them your enemy”. Thought provoking indeed!

Visual effects are Avatar’s forte as it creates a new world before you. Filmed in blank sets with motion capture, the actors had to act out without ever knowing what it would look like on screen. Sensors on the Actors’ body and spots on their faces picked up moves and emotions bringing the CGI characters to life. To bring his actors up to speed, Cameron took them to jungles in Hawaii to bring them up to speed on jungle life. 60% of Avatar is CGI with only 40% being real footage. What you’re left with is a WOW!

While you may not see Zoe Saldana as Neytiri anywhere in its 162 minutes, the nimble ballet trained actor worked hard to make her character so endearing and realistic. The scenes where she trains Jake in the art of war are its best, be it bonding with the Ikran that seems like a flyer straight from ‘Jurassic Park’ or riding Pa’li the hairless horse.

The biggest blame that Avatar can take is that its story is too predictable. Man recruited to fight, falls for the local culture and turns his guns around; just as you saw in “The Last Samurai”. But, making Avatar cool are its special effects that seem so real in IMAX 3D.

Emotion seekers and script blamers can’t really deny the story’s soft side when you see the Na’vi suffer human attack and they die fighting for nature we have scant respect for. For one, Na’vi lived for everything we don’t. Politically too, the battle takes a dig on the suffering the Native Red Indians went through in the country that Hollywood comes from.

On Music, James Horner’s score doesn’t really stand out and has his ‘Troy’-esque feel. Probably, a score that doesn’t stick out as a sore thumb is good enough in a movie that’s all about special effects. As for Cameron and Horner, this is their third venture together after ‘Aliens’ and ‘Titanic’ with the latter giving him his first and only Oscar honors.

As a director, James Cameron doesn’t need a critic’s recommendation. He dropped out of college and drove trucks, but Cameron is the super benchmark movie maker with truly gifted imagination and commitment to translate his dreams to the screen. You simply can’t ask for more from a sci-fi movie at least for a few more years to come!

The least I can do with my review is to give it a 10/10. What are you waiting for? Go pull out your newspapers or log on to the web, check show times for 3D and book your tickets now! An IMAX would be even better. Believe me, it’s a bang for your buck!

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