Sunday, June 29, 2014

Blockbuster Movie Night

Went to catch a movie last night. The 10 PM show or the night show as we call it. It was a few minutes short of 3 hrs long and there was the constant threat of falling asleep in the hall what with the 'pongal' I had for dinner, the comfortable seats, the AC, the time of the night and what have you. That, however, didn't happen and I am still not sure if I am glad for that or not. Still trying to figure that one out.

How was the movie, you ask? Well, one word. Wow! Don't mistake me. I mean that not in the I-am-blown-away-that-some-one-could-tell-a-story-in-such-an-entertaining-and-riveting-manner-that-I-can't-come-up-with-any-other-adjectives-other-than-riveting-and-entertaining-but-that's-probably-only-because-of-my-limited-vocabulary kind of way but in the I-just-spent-three-hours-of-time-I-could-have-spent-getting-some-much-needed-sleep-watching-the-same-old-worn-out-tropes kind of way. As I look back on the experience, the only good part I can think of is that I didn't pay for the tickets and am pretty sure I am not going to pay up when my friend comes around to asking for it! ;)

Anyway, here are the worn out tropes (I learnt this word very recently and I am showing off! :) )

#1 - Single dad with a teenage daughter who is down on his luck; daughter's boy friend; dad - boy friend at loggerheads; all of them caught in a life threatening situation and comedy relief thrown in to reduce tensions. The movie ends with dad giving them the ok and they all live happily ever after.

#2 - Hero is being hunted; multiple un-related bad guys; one bad guy is hunting him to imprison him, another bad guy is hunting him to kill; first bad guy is a real bad-ass with cool moves and cooler weapons; second bad guy is a crazy, evil schemer waiting for his chance; hero gets caught; he gets help from an unexpected source; he escapes; more unexpected help; final battle; some really unexpected help; first bad guy is vanquished and the second bad guy slinks away to wait some more. The movie ends with Hero promising to keep in touch and going away.

#3 - Did I forget to mention that the dad and his entourage are happily leading their life on a farm before all hell breaks loose when the 'gobermint' agents land on their property to cause trouble? My bad. Can't have a movie without a stick-it-to-the-Man under current, now can we? Along with it, we also have the breathless action taking place all around huge buildings in metropolitan areas (including 'phoren' locations).

#4 - This I can't and shouldn't forget. The good guys can't die or get hurt or get caught or remain caught or anything like that. The bad guys just can't catch a break or anything like that, the cops and even the armed forces can never get to the scene on time or bring down anybody of consequence or anything like that.

All of the above are from the same movie. The perfect formula for a summer blockbuster, full family entertainer of a movie with a big name, super star hero that we are so used to seeing in either Hindi or Tamil or Telugu (those are the Indian languages I know and follow). So imagine my surprise when I got all this while watching Transformers: Age of Extinction

It felt very much like watching a Mahesh Babu movie remade in Tamil with Vijay in the lead, the rights of which have been bought by Ajay Devgun for the Hindi version. With robots and stuff thrown in of course. There was enough applause and cat calls and whistling inside the hall when the main characters (Optimus Prime, BumbleBee and Mark Whalberg) appeared on screen for the first time that you would be excused to think that it was indeed a Vijay or an Ajith movie. Of course there was no prancing and singing around in some scenic location which was a dead give away and once the special effects start, the quality of which till date remains firmly outside the realm of what any of the copycat '-woods' in India are capable of, all bets were off. You knew fo' sure that you were watching a Hollywood movie.

But there is that one redeeming quality which is missing in this movie which each of the previous three episodes of this mega serial had. Eye-candy in the form of Megan Fox and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. They got rid of that and inadvertently brought out all the other short comings in sharp relief. Make no mistake, this movie will rake in the moolah just fine. It just didn't feel like a Transformers movie.

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