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Things That Don't Work Category

In my filing cabinet folder of "Things That Don't Work" we have a new entry.

Bollywood Science Fiction movies.

I watched "Koi...Mil Gaya" Fri/Sat. Oh my. Three hours of I don't know what. About halfway through it with The Dude laughing over my shoulder as I watched, I reread the reviews on Netflix and started to understand them. I had decided to grab the film because it was the backstory for another film, "Krrrish" which has just arrived. Parts of the acting are decent. But the overall film and concept didn't work. Some spectacular scenery that made me want to see the mountainous areas of India.

Let's see if I can make you certain you don't want to see this. Ever. Some very bad musical numbers with children on mountainsides that look nothing like the musical numbers from "The Sound of Music" but seem to be trying. A movie about a mentally defective young man who is bullied by other young men in some very disturbing scenes that are ugly in nature and pretty in cinematography and seem to be presented as family fare. These scenes persist throughout the film. A very bad puppet alien named Jaadoo who's blue and powered by sunlight. A million rifs on "E.T." right down to the bicycle scenes. A few rifs on "Close Encounters" centering around the word "Om" presented musically. A basketball game out of Disney's "Flubber" movies that first came out in the early sixties. Super powers that are bestowed by the alien on the mental defective making him perfect in every socially accepted way, physically and mentally. Said powers are taken away when Jaadoo returns to his mother ship and the young man is found not guilty of any wrongdoing by reason of mental incapacity in a court of law. At which point, his powers are restored permanently in a deus ex machina visit by the mother ship to the upper atmosphere to say good-bye.

A review claimed the first 80 minutes were godawful but offset by the final 90 minutes of the film. Nope. All of it was godawful, not just the first half. One dance scene in a nightclub had Miss E's attention and she asked me to replay the number a few times. The actor, Hrithik Roshan, is fascinating to watch because he's long and loose-limbed but has tremendous control. Of course, he's also wearing a dance harness in some of the item numbers, which detracts from the overall athletic effect. Supposedly he's a heart throb matinee idol, but I wasn't seeing that. But then, I'm not the right age. Preity Zinta is her usual charming self in a very bad role.

Another review said it was a great film for kids...except for the part where the bullies are hitting the main character in the face with a basketball repeatedly. Umm, yeah, I have to agree. As an adult I found that scene difficult to watch. But overall, I'd say it has the problem of YA (middle grade or lower) written without thinking about its audience. One of the important aspects of YA is that the children are the focus of the story and the children solve the problems of the story. And those problems are focused close to home and family. The issues in this film are all solved by the adults, aliens, or by the main character once he's been "cured" by the alien and takes his rightful place as an adult, leaves his childish self behind. The child actors are pushed to the background, indicating that the director and writer failed to grasp what "E.T." was really about: the kids against the adults.

Frog Out

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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
kelly_yoyo
Jun. 22nd, 2009 06:05 pm (UTC)
I saw Krrish not long ago. It wasn't great, but kind of enjoyable. Interesting to see another culture's take on the superhero thing.
birdhousefrog
Jun. 22nd, 2009 06:11 pm (UTC)
I'm 30 minutes into Krrish and it's much, much better than the prequel. It's the typical light-hearted fare and works fine on the comic book level. Not at all like Koi...Mil Gaya. But I'll take Munna Bhai MBBS over both.
kelly_yoyo
Jun. 22nd, 2009 09:45 pm (UTC)
Oh, I love Munna Bhai. I've only seen the one with Ghandi, though.
birdhousefrog
Jun. 22nd, 2009 11:47 pm (UTC)
Ghandi one is fine, but Munna Bhai MBBS is much, much better. It has no pretensions of greatness. Great scenes in the Mumbai slums a la Bollywood, as opposed to Slumdog Millionaire. But even with that "clean" look, so many of the extras look like REAL people. Great color in the songs, pink dye bursting into the air. Yummy.
tomdoyle
Jun. 23rd, 2009 12:06 am (UTC)
I've got a Bollywood SF story that I think works in Aeon 3, but it's not three hours long, which helps.
birdhousefrog
Jun. 23rd, 2009 02:11 am (UTC)
ooh, ooh. I'd trust you to at least understand what SF should be! OTOH, if one does a "Bollywood" SF story maybe it's bad by definition? Have to read that.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )