Posted by: kcgadiyar | November 1, 2009

Triple Decker review: Up, Aladin and This Is It.

After wrapping up whatever work i had to do, i found myself at Necklace road at 9 in the morning on a Saturday with the whole day ahead of me and my pre-booked ticket for “This is it” being for the 3:30 show. Since i felt too lazy to go back to Kukkatpally and come back to necklace road again (and brave Hyderabad traffic twice more) i decided to go to Prasads IMAX and catch whatever was playing until my friend would turn up at 3 for the movie.

So, i found myself watching 3 movies on this Saturday, “Up”, “Aladin” and “This is it”. The reviews for all 3 follow:

up-poster

Starting off with “Up”: The premise of this movie sounded so unlike Pixar’s previous efforts, but then again i realized that Pixar movies never have a single premise from “Toy Story” to “The Incredibles” to “Cars” and “Ratatouille” and “Wall-E”, every movie is different, but every movie is still great and an unique experience. There was a great article on Box Office Prophets which claimed that Pixar are aliens, which is the only explanation for how they can get away with such outlandish themes and still make them work.

“Up” is the story of Carl Frederiksen, who as a young kid was inspired by adventurer Charles Muntz to travel the world with his equally adventurous wife Ellie. But the realities of life got in the way, and Carl was never able to fulfil the promise he made to Ellie that he would take her to Paradise Falls in South America. After Ellie’s death, Carl is forced to vacate his house to make way for a new construction. At this point Carl remembers his promise and ties his house up with Helium balloons and takes off for his long overdue adventure.

His unwilling shipmate is Russell, an overenthusiastic wilderness explorer who wants his “assisting the elderly” badge, and later they are joined by Dug, a talking dog.

Like i said, the above 2 paragraphs do not seem like they would make a good movie, let alone a good children’s movie. But, Pixar has developed a screenplay where you are more than willing to let physical impossibilities slide and just let them tell you a great story.

The Animation is top-notch, at some points in the movie, i felt that it was real and not animated. The voice acting is brilliant, and the story holds the movie together.

Overall, “Up” raises expectations from Pixar again, lets hope “Toy Story 3” will be even better.

4.5 on 5 for “Up”, go watch it.

aladin-posterSecond movie for the da,y “Aladin”: Somewhere beneath the excesses shown on screen, deep within Aladin, there is a good movie waiting to show itself. But the movie got lost in the indulgence and overacting that comes across.

The story deals with Aladin Chatterjee, who is named as such because his Father believes that Aladin’s lamp is real. His parents are killed while searching for the lamp leaving Aladin an orphan. Aladin is continually teased by his friends for his name, and is also forced to rub lamps by them as a form of ragging. He is in love with the exchange student named Jasmine, and on his birthday, when Jasmine is tricked into presenting him with a lamp which he rubs, out comes Genius (Amitabh Bachchan).

The genie helps Aladin get the girl and they live happily ever after. Oh wait, there is a subplot about a fallen genie, The Ringmaster (Sanjay Dutt), who wants to become a genie again, and he will do this by capturing the shadow of a comet which only comes by once every million years (Don’t ask.)

The main problem with the movie is that it is a concept stretched too far. It seems good enough for maybe an hours worth of material, but at 2 hours and a bit, it starts dragging. The visual effects are good, and don’t look tacky, which is always a plus.

The actors overact, but seem to be having fun while doing so. Sanjay Dutt in particular seems to know the absurdity of his character and acts accordingly. Riteish is good, Amitabh is ok. The new heroine, Jacqueline is eye candy and nothing more.

Overall, 2.5 out of 5.

this_is_it

 

At the start of this movie, we are shown interviews with the backup dancers, who are obviously excited to just be on the same stage as Michael Jackson. Then, we are shown the final press conference for the concerts and Jackson says “This is it. It is the final Curtain call”, and the prophetic nature of these words hit you.

“This is it” is a celebration of Jackson as an entertainer. The songs are chosen brilliantly, each one building in tempo from the last. The rehearsals begin with “Wanna be starting something” go through a brilliantly edited “Smooth Criminal”, through “Thriller” and conclude with the crescendo of “Billie Jean” which shows us just why Jackson was highly regarded as a performer. His perfectionism shines through as he insists on specific notes being hit, certain cues and so on.

Throughout the movie, you actually feel like you are in a concert. In fact, a few people in the theatre started clapping after the amazing “Billie Jean” performance.

The movie ends with “Man in the mirror” and a message “Love is forever”.

Whatever we might think of Jackson as person, his talent is never in question. At no point can we make out that this was a frail 50 year old who would be dead soon. The movie is seriously a must watch for both Jackson fans and non-fans, just because this is the last time we get to experience the songs and the performance.

Overall, 4 out of 5. Brilliant performances, excellent choreography and a look behind the scenes at what would have been an amazing concert had i happened.

 

Until next time,

K.C.G

 

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