The Colourful World
Film: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Voices of: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, F Murray Abraham
Directed by: Dean DeBlois
Duration: 1 hr 44 mins
Rating: * * *
Based on the books by Cressida Cowell’s, this franchise has delivered two highly enjoyable films and this third and presumably, last sequel is not too far behind. The novelty of the first couple of films is missing but director Dean DeBlois (who also wrote and directed the previous two films) manages to stitch together enough material to keep adults and especially kids invested in this flick.
Hiccup (voice of Jay Baruchel) and the loving dragon Toothless are back and Vikings and dragons are living a peaceful existence on the island. Hiccup, the leader of the pack now, has feelings for Astrid (America Ferrera) and he is not the only one in love. Toothless has fallen for Light Fury but there could be more than meets the eye there.
The conflict is caused by an expert dragon catcher Grimmel (voice of F Murray Abraham) who looks like a cross between Christopher Lee and Anton Ego of Ratatouille fame. With the onslaught, Hiccup then has to take his people and dragons to safety and look for the hidden world which his father spoke about often. The visuals are quite stunning – right from the hidden world to the most ordinary scenes, the animation is of top quality – no wonder the film had a budget of $125 million.
Primarily, it will be the kids who will come out happy watching this; adults will be better off just going with the flow.
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Rakesh Chaturvedi, Parineeti Chopra
Directed by: Anurag Singh
Duration: 2 hrs 30 mins
Rating: * *
Back in 1897 at Sargarhi, 21 soldiers of the 36th Sikh regiment took on around 10,000 invading soldiers from Afghanistan – the numbers were mind-boggling and the story of those 21 men, who put up a valiant fight, is eminently worth telling on the big screen. But as it happens in cinema quite often, good stories don’t necessarily translate into good films and Kesari faces the same issue.
The screenplay is so automated that you can see everything coming from several furlongs and there is no real attempt to elevate it beyond the ordinary – play it safe, play it to the gallery – that is the mantra. Plus the film also clocks a good patience-testing 2 hours and 30 minutes of which a lot is in slow motion or unnecessary and sometimes, both.
Directed by Anurag Singh who has delivered monster hits in Punjabi (Jatt and Juliet I and II, Punjab 1984), the real life incident of Kesari has parallels with the Battle of Thermopylae, where King Leonidas led 300 Greeks to take on a whole army, which was made popular by Zack Snyder in 300 (2007).
Kesari takes its own sweet time to settle down and the actual battle only begins a good 90 odd minutes later. We are introduced to Hawaldar Ishar Singh (Akshay Kumar, sporting a ZZ Top-like beard) who is righteous and virtuous – going against his senior British officer, he saves a woman from being beheaded at the hands of a fundamentalist mullah. The cleric then wants to settle scores and garners support from the local warlords to launch an all out attack on the forts occupied by the Brits.
But as a punishment for disobedience, Ishar Singh is sent to Sargarhi to take charge, it is a fort that primarily acts only as a means of communication, without much action. Considerable time is spent in showing what goes on there – basically the soldiers there are all having a merry time till the hero shows up and disciplines them.
Then the attack begins, some of the action has its moments but most of it doesn’t have any fireworks. There are some standard situations – like the young soldier who trembles because he has never killed anyone before and we know they are all going to go down but they do it with a lot of melodrama.
Parineeti Chopra shows up as Ishar Singh’s wife – he imagines her in the middle of nowhere and has conversations with her.
The film also has an overdose of violence – It has been a while since we saw so much ketchup on the screen as bullets and swords pierce every part of the anatomy – in one shot there are multiple swords seen in a man’s body. Our otherwise hyper sensitive censor board though has allowed the film to get away with a U/A certificate.
Akshay Kumar and the supporting cast try to infuse some zest and conviction in the proceedings but they are let down by some ordinary writing. Effectively, the story of what happened at Sargarhi is great but because of the flab, the film is not quite close to it.