Transformania

Vampire Owl: Do you know that they made Van Helsing the bloody scientist here?

Vampire Bat: Yes, I am completely aware of that.

Vampire Owl: They have replaced Doctor Frankenstein. How evil is that?

Vampire Bat: Doctor Frankenstein was never really a true scientist.

Vampire Owl: You should stop saying that. We know his inventions.

Vampire Bat: Your list of his inventions is flawed.

Vampire Owl: But they have been very useful.

Vampire Bat: Van Helsing has always been a real doctor.

Vampire Owl: You cannot support that evil former vampire hunter.

Vampire Bat: Well, you have to appreciate the fact that he is not into hunting again.

[Gets a vegetable puffs and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: Count Dracula (Brian Hull) has the celebration of the 125th anniversary of Hotel Transylvania happening with almost every guest attending the party. His human son-in-law, Jonathan Loughran (Andy Samberg) almost ruins everything though, as he continues to be the moron that he has always been. During the celebrations, he was planning to retire and leave the hotel to Jonathan and Mavis (Selena Gomez), but as Jonathan continues to be the most foolish person on Earth, he decides to pretend that there is a clause that the hotel cannot be transferred to anyone who is not a monster. Jonathan who has no inch of smartness in his small brain decides that the only solution here is to change himself into a monster. It is then that Professor Abraham Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan) provides him an opportunity become a monster, as he has the device to change people into such creatures. He does successfully test it on a guinea pig, and becomes proud of his grand invention, boasting further about it.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: So, Jonathan a.k.a. Johnny is transformed into a dragon-like monster which breathes fire, and has huge claws. Dracula tries his best to make sure that nobody gets to know about it, and tries to reverse the action, but ends up making himself human in the process, also destroying the device as a result of the events that follow. Abraham Van Helsing tells them that there is a way to change them back, and it is by finding a crystal in South America, which can take the place of the one which was destroyed, and get the device to work again. Dracula’s good old friends Frankenstein (Brad Abrell), Wayne (Steve Buscemi), Griffin (David Spade) and Murray (Keegan-Michael Key) also turn human, as they drink from a fountain contaminated by the ray. Even though Frankenstein feels good about it, as he is now a handsome human being, the others are not really fond of their transformation, and neither is the other monsters who find it to be very strange and unacceptable.

And how can the transformation be reversed now? :: Dracula and Johnny have already travelled all the way to South America, and as Ericka Van Helsing (Kathryn Hahn) sees some news about an old tourist being rescued by a monster in a Latin American country, they figure out that this is related to the father-in-law and son-in-law. They find Abraham Van Helsing hiding from the guinea pig monster, and understand things better, finally deciding to travel to South America and find the two. Meanwhile, Dracula does face the problems of being human again, as he is now old, and much weaker than his original state. They are forced to go through a jungle which seems to have enough dangers in store for them, but the monster finds it easy to go through them. The whole team from the castle are also in South America now, searching for the two. But it won’t be easy to find the two in the forest. Now the question remains if the transformation can actually be reversed, and whether things can now go back to the strange way of being normal. Well, you have to hope for the best, but not always when monsters are involved.

The defence of Hotel Transylvania: Transformania :: The Hotel Transylvania feeling is maintained here again, and the usual stuff gets going once again. The characters do continue to be interesting, as we look at them, and we have always wanted the monster world to be more relevance. The animation remains a thing of quality, and the world within Latin America is also nicely created, and would have looked much better if watched on the big screen with 3D, but we know that Amazon Prime Video is the best option with most of us not having the desire to sit in an air-conditioned hall with possible infected people for one an half hours. Well, the short run-time is still a positive thing, as we look at it. The message is surely given, even though there is the feeling of repetition, making us feel that we have seen all of these already. There is also some humour present around here, even though there is not much around. Well, you have vampires, the mummy, werewolves and the Frankenstein monster in an animated movie and you have to enjoy it up to an extent every time, doesn’t matter what the flaws are.

The claws of flaw :: Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is the fourth film in the franchise, and there hasn’t been any improvement, that is for sure. As we are watching this on Amazon Prime Video, we cannot really know if there is that much of a grandeur set for the big screen. The one young human here continues to be a complete moron, and a character whom we hate more than ever – the fact that he doesn’t die in this movie is the biggest disappointment of the whole franchise, the daughter vampire could have also been dead to add some beauty to the whole thing. The movie’s whole point should have been the end of humans and the rise of the monsters who are less evil, but the franchise still struggles to get to that point. It should take in some ideas of innovation from other successful animated movie franchises and get the creative imagination working – after all, it is about vampires and other interesting monsters, and you can never really have enough of them. You do have the premise to work on, don’t you?

How it finishes :: Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is just another addition to the grand list of similar movies which are part of a franchise, and has dealt with similar things for quite a long time. The first movie was among the very first animated films to be reviewed on this website, and there has been many animated movie reviews which followed. This one is surely a step backward from the original, and I cannot say about the other movies of the franchise as I haven’t watched them yet. With the lack of inspiration to create something better, and lacking further in creative imagination, the movie only continues what it has been doing, and does provide the feeling of repetition throughout its run. Still, it is some fun, and more entertainment for those who haven’t really watched the previous movies. Well, you can just start with Count Dracula who is running a hotel, trying to transfer it to his daughter and son-in-law, for there is not much lost related to it. These are the kind of movies which can always stand alone, as they are supposed to cater to the younger audience better and keep them wanting a sequel or two. Well, not every movie can be Frozen and its sequel.

Release date: 14th January 2022 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 87 minutes
Directed by: Derek Drymon, Jennifer Kluska
Starring: Brian Hull, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kathryn Hahn, Jim Gaffigan, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade, Keegan-Michael Key, Fran Drescher, Brad Abrell, Asher Blinkoff, Richard Blevins

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Drushyam 2

Vampire Owl: How many Drishyams have we watched?

Vampire Bat: I am sure that there is no count of the same being kept.

Vampire Owl: I remember watching the Malayalam, Hindi and Tamil versions of the first part and having missed the Sinhala, Telugu, Chinese and Kannada versions then. We can watch them all as second part this time.

Vampire Bat: Yes, and we are now done with the original Malayalam version of the second part.

Vampire Owl: Well, now we will have more versions of the second part too.

Vampire Bat: Yes, this version is only the beginning of another list.

Vampire Owl: Do you think that this one would be just like the original?

Vampire Bat: Well, the plot will work the same here.

Vampire Owl: Also, I see that Jeethu Joseph has directed this one too.

Vampire Bat: And we also have Meena and Esther Anil doing the exact same thing in another language. This would be a worthy remake.

[Gets some vegetable samosa and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Rambabu (Venkatesh) and Jyothi (Meena), along with their daughters Anju (Kruthika) and Anu (Esther Anil) have become richer after those earlier incidents from the first movie, as the former has now bought some land, and started a film theatre. Their neighbours make a couple who fights a lot, and the woman is a clear victim of domestic violence, with the man being a drunkard. The people in the town don’t really like them anymore, as they have become rich and influential. Due to the same, all those people around come up with gossips regarding the earlier incident leading to the death of the boy, and police continues to investigate the earlier missing case as it was something which proved to be very much humiliating for the entire police department. Rambabu has the dream of making a movie, which he wishes to be perfect, and has left aside, a certain amount of money for the same.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It is then that a local man returns home after finishing his time in the prison, and he had seen something of special worth to the police during the night when the boy was murdered. The words of the man would have a huge role to play in how the rest of the case would unfold. Geetha Prabhakar (Nadhiya), former IG, would make a return to finally find out the truth behind her son’s disappearance, and this time she will find better allies. It is the time period when the investigation seems to be gaining more ground. There is a new police officer in charge of the case, and he won’t stop pursuing Rambabu, but not many people seems to be realizing the same. There are many traps being laid for the man and his family, and some of them seems to be very close to finding its preys. But Rambabu remains strong as ever, even as there are many twisted ways being followed here, yet it remains to be seen about how long he can stand strong and protect his family.

The defence of Drushyam 2 :: In Malayalam movie industry, sequels haven’t had that much strength, even with superstars in the lead, as the chance to go down into a mass movie is always there, and this film does threaten to do so more in Telugu, but does manage to get back its original strength. There can always be exceptions to everything though. Just like the strong predecessor which made the big impact, this movie also starts with the usual family moments, even though we know that there is something always waiting to happen. There is the mention of such possibilities, but the progress is just usual until we get into the last one hour or so, as things continue to get worse for the protagonist and family, with the same thing going further down for them to bring the danger. Even though the movie also has a twist in store in the end reminding the viewers of the first film, it does manage to maintain its novelty with different elements. This means that the difficult job has been done nicely to make the sequel work well on its own.

Positives and negatives of the movie :: The fact that this one has released in Amazon Prime surely has its own advantages and disadvantages too, and I would prefer to watch this one without the horror created by the superstar fans in the theatre, just like I did for the Malayalam version. In the theatre, it wouldn’t have been this peaceful. The action should have started much earlier though, as this is the second movie of a franchise and character establishment was done well enough in the first film itself. The pressure that the first film maintained is much less here too, as things get over quickly after the terror begins. Final few minutes should have surely been extended at the cost of cutting a little bit of those family moments in the beginning – the dialogues from the local people are also a little more than needed. As a sequel which has been adapted from an original sequel, changes could have been made, with the same director at the helm yet again. Yet, the setting seems to have been more perfect for the Malayalam version, even though the adjustments made here do work.

The performers of the soul :: Venkatesh as Rambabu continues to be the strength of the franchise as Mohanlal was in Malayalam. He could go on doing the same thing again and again in even more films which can follow in the franchise – the character has surely come across some changes from the first film, but in essence, there is not that much of a difference, and we will come to know about the same thing soon enough. The ending shows that there is something about the character that is here to stay. The veteran actor at work has no real problems in keeping the act going, just like Mohanlal had no trouble. Meena’s work here is similar to what she did well in the Malayalam version, and yet it has the differences that are demanded when the whole setting is changed to elsewhere. Esther Anil also remains the same younger daughter as she used to be in the original, with the small differences of the new environment. Kruthika plays her role well, once again reminding one of Ansiba, often doing a better job in comparison. Sampath Raj and Nadhiya remains solid in their works of negativity, reflecting their Malayalam counterparts really well. It was also nice to see Shamna Kasim around here playing a strong lawyer role.

How it finishes :: Drishyam was once the highest grossing movie of all-time as far as Malayalam film industry is concerned, and it had shown the strength in so many languages including one in Sri Lanka with Drishyam 2 also calling for remakes now. Considering this remake, it is almost the same as the original, and therefore doesn’t require much of a talk regarding such a comparison, and as the sequel, it is certainly not that great as the first one. There was always going to be something about a remake and sequel like this, and that feeling will take this one forward for many more days. Drushyam 2 is surely a thing of quality as far as entertainment is concerned, and will go on to receive the expected appreciation. A lot of people from Kerala will also be watching this film to see how it compares to the original, and they will find this to be worthy enough. With the theatres being opened, there might not be many more big movies releasing Amazon Prime Video, and one can enjoy this one for now, even though you can’t stop of the feeling of having seen all these before, and for them, this is still repetition.

Release date: 25th November 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 153 minutes
Directed by: Jeethu Joseph
Starring: Venkatesh, Meena, Esther Anil, Kruthika, Nadhiya, Naresh, Shamna Kasim, Vinay Varma, Satyam Rajesh, Shafi, Tanikella Bharani, Chammak Chandra, Thagubothu Ramesh, Annapurna, Chaitanya Krishna, Venu Tillu, Chalaki Chanti, Naidu Gopi, Bharat Behera

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Jumanji: The Next Level

What is the movie about? :: Spencer Gilpin (Alex Wolff), Bethany Walker (Madison Iseman), Martha Kaply (Morgan Turner) and Anthony Fridge Johnson (Ser’Darius Blain) have gone separate ways after that one adventure with the Jumanji video game where they returned the Jaguar’s Eye, a magic jewel to the shrine where it belonged. They had saved the day, and then did decide never to go back to those video game avatars again. After a long time, they plan to meet up in Brantford, and everyone except Spencer is very much interested in seeing the team back again. He had put his romantic relationship with Martha on hold, and was living a rather dull life, as this call for a meeting reminds him not to see his old friends, but to go back to Jumanji, where he was special, and could save the world – that was the only way for him to become important again, with three lives inside a video game, fighting evil and making a difference yet again.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Fridge, Martha and Bethany meet up at the cafe sharing some happy moments of re-union, and are concerned when Spencer doesn’t show up, not even bothering to leave a message for them. This leads to them going to his home, and meeting Spencer’s grandfather Eddie Gilpin (Danny DeVito), who is currently recovering from hip surgery, and his former friend Milo Walker (Danny Glover) with whom he has issues over their former partnership cafe business which is no more. The three friends realize that even his grandfather has no clue where he is. But then they hear the drums of Jumanji, and down in the basement, everyone in the house except Bethany are sucked into the video game as the playable character while she is left rejected. The other four reaches inside the game, confused with their avatars, except for Martha who manages to get her same character as in her previous outing inside the Jumanji world.

And what else is to follow in this adventure beyond? :: So, as the four people become characters in the video game, Eddie becomes Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), Milo becomes Franklin Mouse Finbar (Kevin Hart) and Fridge becomes Professor Sheldon Oberon (Jack Black). Martha continues to be Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan), the martial arts expert. They are confused about the change of situation, and the new location while the non-playable character Nigel Billingsley (Rhys Darby) briefs the new and advanced mission to them. He informs them that a ruthless warlord Jurgen the Brutal (Rory McCann) has stolen a magic necklace called the Falcon’s Heart. The land is in drought in its absence, and there is an immediate need to bring it to the sun so that everything can be restored. Without it, the whole of Jumanji would turn into a cursed land with no hope. Now, with a few confused people, the question remains if they can succeed in this and bring Spencer home.

The defence of Jumanji: The Next Level :: Jumanji and its related movies have always entertained us, and this film is no exception. The coordination here is wonderful, and the world created here is also worth our attention. There are some fine scenes of action and adventure that can be seen here too. The humour is also nicely created, and the comic side gets a boost on many occasions. There are some scenes that will stay in the minds, one including a series of moving bridges and a group of monkeys, and another one is about body switching between characters. The humour doesn’t begin and end at exact places, as it is present throughout the film. It does know where to place all these, and in the end, the movie is never long, and never does it drag – with its shorter length, it makes a fine watch with ease. The audience for this movie could only increase in the next few days.

The claws of flaw :: There might be the feeling of repetition for some, even though the difference is certainly there. Any feeling of not liking this movie is mostly linked the absence of an understanding of it, as the crowd seems to be less for this one in this part of the world. Still, there is no doubt about the fact that this could have had even more adventures with extra additions of traps here and there. Light-hearted fantasy adventures can never have more, and this one limits its collection. Also, I have always had the opinion that this one should have had one more female playable character in the game. Here, it doesn’t have a competitor from Hollywood, and so, the flaws will most probably be forgotten. Anything missing can be added in another possible sequel, and we would definitely need one with the same cast returning, and bigger adventures happening.

The performers of the soul :: This is certainly a movie of fun performances. Dwayne Johnson a.k.a. the Rock is once again fantastic in this kind of role, and he brings a lot of fun as well as action in the best possible ways. We had just seen him, the man who has been Hercules, in Fast and Furious: Hobbs and Shaw were he excelled. Karen Gillan who is best known for playing Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers series of movies, is seen in an even better avatar, something which can make one recommend her for a Tomb Raider movie over all other actresses. The way she swings on the ropes and poles, and jumps on the walls reminds one of those Tomb Raider and Prince of Persia video games – she is one perfect video game character and is joy to watch. The looks support what she does. Jack Black brings a lot to the funny side. Danny DeVito and Danny Glover makes a fine combination too. Kevin Hart makes a fine avatar too. Morgan Turner leads the way with real-life forms of the young game characters.

How it finishes :: I remember having loved the 1995 movie of the same name, and then the 2005 movie Zathura: A Space Adventure, both having children in trouble when they are playing board games which are more than just games. I had missed Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and it is something that I regret after watching this sequel which is one interesting adventure, rising far above what was shown in the trailer. It is the kind of adventure that anyone would love to watch, and The Rock has always been good with this kind of movies, with an adventure having a funny side, and just like Journey 2: The Mysterious Island which was an adaptation to remember. Many of us have wanted to be a part of a video game, living through them as if the character which we play are us – it is more applicable in the case of Role Playing Games, and this movie lets us live through one of such games, and it is a very enjoyable ride.

Release date: 13th December 2019
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Jake Kasdan
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Nick Jonas, Awkwafina, Alex Wolff, Morgan Turner, Ser’Darius Blain, Madison Iseman, Danny Glover, Danny DeVito

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Cult of Chucky

Vampire Owl: There was this question for VPSC.

Vampire Bat: You mean Vampire Public Service Commission? You are writing exams out there?

Vampire Owl: Yes, my exam centre was on the Old Vampire Isles, and there was this particular question which caught my attention.

Vampire Bat: You travel a little too much to write a silly examination.

Vampire Owl: It is not my point. The real point is related to that question.

Vampire Bat: I know how strange the question of VPSC are. They rarely make sense, and they never really wanted anyone deserving to get a good score.

Vampire Owl: They asked about the greatest doll of all-time. the options were Annabelle, Chucky, Barbie and Shrek.

Vampire Bat: So, you only had to choose from two.

Vampire Owl: Yes, and I ticked on the last option, Shrek.

Vampire Bat: You and VPSC should make best friends, in that case.

[Gets three cups of ginger tea with Hide and Seek biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: Years after the events of Curse of Chucky, a lot of things remain the same, including the existence of Chucky (Brad Dourif). Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent) who had shot him in the previous movie, has his head kept at his house, and keeps punishing it for the crimes which were committed. At the same time, Nica Pierce (Fiona Dourif) has been spending her in life in a mental institution, most of the time restrained and sedated for the murders of her family. After being watched at all times through cameras, and going through never-ending therapy, she murdered everyone in her family, and that the doll was just a creation of her mind as a result of her seeing things. Doctor Foley (Michael Therriault), who is sexually attracted to her, has her transferred to his own medium security facility where he can watch her at all times. There, the nurses Nurse Carlos (Zak Santiago) and Nurse Ashley (Ali Tataryn) are in charge, and are nice to her.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: Nica has an interesting group of people to give her comany, with Malcolm (Adam Hurtig), a confused man with multiple identity disorder who is instantly interested in being with her; Angela (Marina Stephenson Kerr), an older woman who believes that she is dead and nobody can see her; Claire (Grace Lynn Kung), a woman who is known to have burned her own house down; and Madeleine (Elisabeth Rosen) who is believed to have killed her own son by suffocation even as she believes that he is not dead yet. To make things more interesting, Foley adds a Good Guy doll, as if bringing Chucky back between them again – nobody really likes that idea, except for Madeleine who believes that it is her child that has come back to her. Claire is more hostile to Nica than anybody else, believing that she is a mass murderer who killed her own family.

And what is to follow next in this adventure? :: Nica is visited by Tiffany Valentine (Jennifer Tilly), who has been the legal guardian of her niece, Alice. Tiffany reveals that Alice has died and leaves her a Good Guy doll, which she claims was a gift from Alice Pierce (Summer H Howell). After informing her that the kid is dead, she says that Alice wanted Nica to have her Good Guy doll, and that night, she tries to commit suicide by slicing her wrists. Chucky, who has woken up at the hospital, finds it out, and stitches her wound back, leaving a message that she won’t die that easily. At the same night, Angela is found dead, and Claire follows, as Chucky makes his impacy felt. Now the question remains about which doll is the one that is possessed, and despite Nica’s best efforts, nobody believes that there is a serial killer doll killing people – the doctor himself is not interested in her words, as his attention is only towards her body. Now, the question remains about who all will survive the Chucky attack.

The defence of Cult of Chucky :: If you like this never-ending franchise with Chucky, the charming serial killer doll at the centre of it, there is no reason why you need to miss this movie, as there is that murderer doll spirit being carried on to this one too. You have fun, and you have those scary moments, most of them with the elements of blood and gore though – well, Chucky is not Annabelle, and as most of you already know, his motives are significantly different. Well, in a seventh movie of a franchise, you have so many characters returning, and if you are a fan of the series, you are up for the treat again. The one you need to watch out for is indeed Fiona Dourif, who plays the helpless one with a lot of strength from within, and the supporting cast is also very good. The setting is also nice, as the mental hospital brings the appropriate environment to make sure that Chucky shines even after so many years. Well, you need to come back because Chucky needs you.

The claws of flaw :: The movie could have surely been better, with a lot of scary moments – this one, with its one and half hours of length, doesn’t add that many of them, which could make the whole thing bigger. The previous movie, Curse of Chucky was surely ahead in that case, and was surely the better movie in comparison. Chucky needs to scare more characters, and here, right after people know that he is alive, they are just killed within minutes – give the poor doll some more time, will you? At least in the next movie? Why would someone need more than one Chucky? Why would one of them be in distress for so long? Why couldn’t the doll get more serious at least with a few things? We need the character to be better, and we need the doll to be creepier. This is not that age of old horror any more – ask many movies including last year’s Don’t Breathe, Lights Out and The Autopsy of Jane Doe for some ideas about innovation, or this one’s own predecessor about being better.

How it finishes :: We have one of the most popular horror dolls of all-time returning to action here, and due to the same reason, we just can’t stop the need to watch this particular flick, as we have felt the urge for so long, and it can only get stronger with time. Child’s Play has been an integral part of our horror lives, just like The Evil Dead, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Wishmaster, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween and Friday the 13th, all of them, never really leaving our childhood, and all of these movies beginning before I was born. Along with accepting the fact that this one is not going to please everybody, you will accept that this is still good, and Chucky franchise is one of those things of horror which you need; if not now, at some other point. Remember this when you come across a nice looking dolls next time. Maybe there is more to it too, than what meets the eye.

Release date: 3rd October 2017
Running time: 91 minutes
Directed by: Don Mancini
Starring: Fiona Dourif, Michael Therriault, Adam Hurtig, Elisabeth Rosen, Grace Lynn Kung, Marina Stephenson Kerr, Alex Vincent, Jennifer Tilly, Brad Dourif, Zak Santiago, Ali Tataryn, Jennifer Tilly, Summer H Howell, Christine Elise

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Aadu 2

What is the movie about? :: The team of Shaji Pappan (Jayasurya) go on with the journey after the events of the first film. Their world hasn’t really gotten any better, as they keep struggling to find the money to keep their club, and once again their option is to participate in the tug of war competition. With the Pinky episode closed both with the girl and the goat, Pappan just continues to have his back pain, but leads his team to victory in the competition, only to have his golden trophy stolen by the rival team lead by Anali Sabu (Anson Paul). Meanwhile, S.I. Sarbath Shameer (Vijay Babu) manages to get back to service after begging the new Home Minister of Kerala, P.P. Sasi Aashan (Indrans) to have his uniform again. He decides to keep his eyes on Shaji Pappan who had thrown the former S.I. of the station into the dam reservoir, and prove to everyone that he is an even better police officer than he used to be.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: At the same time, Damodaran Unnimakan Delmen Edakochi a.k.a. Dude (Vinayakan) is having an even more terrible time, working at a restaurant, and with his friends and the new comrade Dragon Paili (Nelson) is planning something huge, without being depressed of his failure – he is ridiculed by the owner of the restaurant, but he is waiting for his opportunity to get back to what he does the best. Satan Xavier (Sunny Wayne) surely has better times with the help of Kanjavu Soman (Sudhi Koppa) and Battery Simon (Bijukuttan) who work for him at small wages. But their world along with that of a criminal mastermind, a villain known as Shetty (John Kaippallil) are to come together soon, with that day on which five hundred and one thousand rupee notes ceased being legal tender. It would begin a series of blunders and confusion that would lead to a twist of fate for some.

The defence of Aadu 2 :: After Aadu Oru Bheekara Jeevi Aanu disappeared from the theatres, people have been slowly trying to like it, and there has been a lot of talk about the same – for them, this would prove to be a nice treat, as they have all wanted it a lot. There are some funny moments in here for sure, and they come and go. The beginning with the introduction of the protagonist, and the return of the police officer to duty are all good, making sure that the sequel starts well. The music and visuals are all pretty good, and there seems to be more and more of an effort to make the youth appreciate it rather than an individual or the family. From a reviewer’s perspective, this movie would come only under Midhun Manuel Thomas’s each and every other work – Annmariya Kalippilaanu, Alamara and Aadu Oru Bheekara Jeevi Aanu are better than this. But you know that it is not the thing which always counts, but on the other side, we know that more people liking or pretending to like a movie to go with the crowd doesn’t make it a better one.

The claws of flaw :: There is not that much of fun in Aadu 2 as it was there in its prequel. It falls short there, and also the story itself is not that interesting. The limited number of working jokes is rather a sad thing. The excuse in favour of this movie might be that it is meant to be nonsense – but even making quality nonsense requires better thinking, and when we look at this movie, that part has come down a level from the first movie too. There are so many ways of making a funny thing work, and whether it is funny in a smart way or if it is nonsense, the thing has to work. Here, Aadu 2 has the nonsense which struggles to be funny even as nonsense, and that is a crime, which is repeated a number of times. Also, even a dumb story can be smart in how it is made to seem ridiculous. This one falls short of its predecessor in doing the same too.

The performers of the soul :: Jayasurya leads the way as expected after another sequel, Punyalan Private Limited, playing the character that nobody has refused to like. There is no surprise about the fact everyone wishes to see Shaji Pappan again – even I remember that entry that he had in the first part; there is not that much of an entrance here that we will keep remembering, but we love him anyway, as the one character who seems to be part of us in one way or the other. Vinayakan’s Dude could have used even more screen-time, as among them all, the man makes us laugh the most – almost everything from him works, unlike some of the other characters that got to struggle to keep up with the standards set in the first movie. Vijay Babu is in full form with this character which he seems to hold close, and with the support of Noby Marcose, he gets to score with nice moments. Indrans has his presence limited, maybe due to the absence of the sidekick character – and that is disappointing too.

Further performers of the soul :: One can’t help noticing the absence of two of the characters that made the best impact in the first part, played by Chemban Vinod Jose and Sandra Thomas. The former’s moments which are widely used in memes for trolls and latter being a reflection of a certain group of people who prefer animals to men, are clearly missed in this flick, and Chemban not being found here is a bigger surprise. Sunny Wayne’s character, despite being a big name again, never really gets to get bigger. The big team of the protagonist including Saiju Kurup, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Bhagath Manuel, Vineeth Mohan and others won’t make that big impact this time, as they also struggle to live up to what they did in the first movie, with some jokes here and there. Sometimes, irritating moments do come in as if they are jokes, and the characters just manage to play with the same. Well, fans will just find awesomeness in everything and abuse, but we can’t, can we descend that low?

How it finishes :: The first movie, Aadu Oru Bheekara Jeevi Aanu, was kind of late to gather all the positive opinions, as it had failed at the box-office, and didn’t make much an impact with the critics of that time. This one has picked up due to the fans going in favour of it, and youth taking it as their duty to support it. But in the end, you will find that it is not that funny, and there is a lesser effect here than what was created in the first movie. It is enjoyable in parts, but as a whole, the first movie was surely better, and it also had a better effect on us, as it was something that felt new. But here, we see a movie which seems to try to repeat the same thing without trying anything better or new. It is the curse of the sequels that has caught this movie, and we know that sequels are rarely better than the originals – well, this one is no exception. Well, if you are not going to think about any of these, and desperately wishes to watch the second part, just go for it. After all, it is Christmas, and the festival season and holidays can use some meaningless fun. It is surely why it is more difficult to get tickets for this one than its competitors Vimaanam, Mayaanadhi, Aana Alaralodalaral and Masterpiece.

Release date: 22nd December 2017
Running time: 160 minutes
Directed by: Midhun Manuel Thomas
Starring: Jayasurya, Sunny Wayne, Vijay Babu, Saiju Kurup, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Bhagath Manuel, Vineeth Mohan, Harikrishnan, Noby Marcose, Aju Varghese, Vinayakan, Indrans, Sudhi Koppa, Anson Paul, Srinda Arhaan, Nelson, Bijukuttan, Gopesh, Mamukoya, Baiju, Irshad

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Punyalan Pvt Ltd

What is the movie about? :: Joy Thakkolkkaran (Jayasurya) was going through a good run with his business of Punyalan Agarbathis, until a series of misfortunes strikes his life, beginning with the death of his wife Anu Joy (Nyla Usha) due to complications related to delivery. It is soon followed by the bank sequestrating his business due to his inability to repay the loan taken. This leaves his best friend and right hand Greenu sharma (Aju Varghese) on a journey to the Middle East in search of a job. Abhayakumar (Sreejith Ravi) is still left there as his driver, and Advocate Peerthanesh (Dharmajan Bolgatty) is his lawyer and the new best friend. They plan to create a new venture, and this would be Punyalan Water, a substitute for the usual mineral water in Kerala, made in an innovative style. But his problems are only beginning, against the system, including the road transport corporation and the city corporation itself.

And what is to follow in this particular adventure? :: As the system seems to stop himself from becoming the businessman that he has always wanted to be, a bankrupt state awaits him. But he decides to fight against it. This would bring him face to face against Shakthan Rajashekharan (Vijayaraghavan), the Chief Minister of the state whose fate is to be decided by the upcoming by-elections, as one seat at Thrissur is all that matters in a close call with the total number of MLAs. With Joy’s challenges going viral in Facebook, and his ideas becoming popular with the common man, the Chief Minister is forced to come live on Facebook, and make a declaration, that would lead to the sequence of events, which have the strength to change the path in the elections. But the question remains if Joy’s new adventure in the business field can be successful in one way or the other!

The defence of Punyalan Private Limited :: There is some motivation to be taken from this movie, regarding the need for the public to be aware of certain things in a democracy, including their own power. At these times when there is so much of debate on so many things both in the state and the centre, this movie becomes very much relevant. There is some humour which has been powered by sarcasm, even though some jokes just go around aimlessly reaching nowhere. At the same time, the movie keeps coming up with more and more ideas, and uses its cast to make things better. You see that the idea here is a much needed one for these times, even though not that strong with how it is executed, with the courtroom scenes also not being strong or funny not going on a path like Jolly LLB. If you liked Punyalan Agarbathis, I don’t see why you shouldn’t watch Punyalan Private Limited here. There is the feel-good factor, and some nice visuals of Thrissur too.

The claws of flaw :: One will notice that there is more dialogues and less action in this movie, and you will also notice that most of the things here might not happen at all, under any circumstance – the common man’s chance is rather too far away. There is also the lack of strength with many arguments around here, and a smart twist doesn’t happen with the protagonist – even when there was the chance to bring the big surprises, they are not there to be seen. The much needed depth is missing here with the tale, something which a political satire could claim to have, in order to reach better heights. The idea was rather limitless, but what comes on the screen is not. We also see the lack of any memorable female character in this movie, as only one who comes close to being the female lead is Arya herself during her short presence as a reporter. Nyla Usha’s character is dead, and Rachana Narayanankutty is replaced by Dharmajan as the lawyer.

Performers of the soul :: Jayasurya is once again the one who leads the way, and he has this character played with ease. No matter how the movie fares at the box-office, this character is certain to remain with that strength which it has always had, for that much is clarified with this performance. Sreejith Ravi and Dharmajan are the ones we are supposed to look out for here, as far as the comedy is concerned, and they do deliver, but the same level is not managed until the end. Aju Varghese is sadly limited to a few video calls here, as he arrives and leaves through video chatting. Meanwhile, Vijayaraghavan shines on the other side, as the politician who is interested in nothing other than playing political games to stay glued to his Chief Minister seat – it is something which he has played before with success as we all know, but it suits him very well this time too. As I have already made it clear, there is no female character worth mentioning other than the one Arya plays.

Soul exploration :: There are so many things that the movie criticises, including the terrible condition of the roads, lack of safety for women, irritating situation brought by demonetisation, troubles in beginning a new business venture, pathetic attitude of politicians and the influential towards the common man, compulsory national anthems in cinemas, dumb social media trending, misuse of public funds, inability to eat or drink what one wishes to, hypocritical approach towards public cleanliness, exploitation in the name of taxes and tolls, laziness of the government authorities in doing their jobs and many more. The idea seems to be to criticise almost all parties, the politicians as villains who don’t care about the public at all, and it doesn’t begin or end with one person or one party, in one state, or at the national level. The movie takes on almost everyone, from one end of politics to the other.

How it finishes :: Punyalan Private Limited has been the movie that so many people have been waiting for, after the success of Punyalan Agarbathis, and while the sequel to Aadu Oru Bheekara Jeeviyanu has been a much awaited one for the new generation, this movie is something which everyone, especially the family audience have waited for. It is also surely a waiting long above an over-hyped, over-slow-motion, copied flick’s sequel which has all style and zero substance, recently being talked about rather too much that needed, in those troll pages. This has actually been a little too long a wait, and Punyalan Private Limited has surely delivered something even when the void stared at it, but not that much as one would have wanted to, after this long period of waiting. But, when we look at the two movies separately, this one surely is close enough to the first one, and it gets there without that much of a trouble.

Release date: 17th November 2017
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed by: Ranjith Sankar
Starring: Jayasurya, Aju Varghese, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Vijayaraghavan, Guinness Pakru, Sreejith Ravi, Prem Prakash, Ponnamma Babu, Sunil Sukhada, Vinod Kovoor, Guinness Pakru, Vishnu Govind, Jayaraj Warrier, Arya Rohit, Sathi Premji

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Independence Day: Resurgence

Vampire Owl: I was never a fan of the original Independence Day.

Vampire Bat: I have never really found the reason why it was so much liked during those days.

Vampire Owl: Some movies just get to be lucky for no reason.

Vampire Bat: I watched that movie a few years after it released as I had read that it was so good and collected so much. There was certain disappointment after watching it for sure.

Vampire Owl: I will never understand these people who keep overrating things.

Vampire Bat: I felt that the computer virus idea was the worst.

Vampire Owl: I got a feeling that it is disrespectful to the aliens too.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that the aliens might attack us soon?

Vampire Owl: If they watch that movie, I am sure that they would.

Vampire Bat: I am going to add this to the vampire alert list.

[Gets some potato chips and three cups of Ceylon tea].

What is the movie about? :: Twenty years have passed after the devastating alien attack on Earth. Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith), with the help of David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) and President Thomas J. Whitmore (Bill Pullman) had done the impossible by defeating the aliens who used such superior technology that the end of humanity felt so near. There were lessons learnt from those alien attacks, and humans remain more united than ever before. With everyone trying to learn from their mistakes, the United Nations had set up the Earth Space Defense (ESD), which is a global defense and research program meant to use the alien technology which they had left on Earth, and use it warn the human world of the danger from outer space, as well as use the same to fight these creatures. Most people believe that they are ready to face an attack in a better way, but there are a few others who think that the worst is yet to come.

So, what happens next? :: Even though most people don’t think that future is safe, and aliens are done attacking, the doubts of the others are proven to be truth, as it is discovered that the aliens before losing the battle had sent a distress signal to their home world. With some fear spreading about the situation, a spherical alien object seen near the Moon is attacked by the Earth’s defences despite the protests of David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) who thinks that it is not of the same alien creatures, as the thing seems to be different. Their doubts are proven to be true, but then there is the original alien mothership which follows and gets back to doing what it does the best – bringing chaos and destruction, as it lands over the North Atlantic Ocean and starts drilling. Earth is once again caught on the backfoot, and now humans have to find a way to repeat what they did on a July 4th, twenty years ago – but is it going to happen this time too?

The defence of Independence Day: Resurgence :: You can see a lot of action here, with visuals being spectacular, and the chaos and destruction remains beautiful as you would expect in a movie like this. The improvement that this movie has on its predecessor is a lot especially for me, as even though I had watch that movie as a child, I never even came close to consider it as a good movie. So, this sequel is essential, to make everyone realize how dumb the original movie, was and how easy it is to make something like that these days, and here we have some nice additions which make this one a lot better. Well, it is not easy not like at least something about this movie, as long as you are not determined to save the Will Smith starrer – the one flick about which everyone is prejudiced. Some may think that you can’t blame them though, as Will Smith has had that kind of an effect in so many movies for the fans.

The claws of flaw :: There is that essence of the original movie which stays with this one, and never does it try to bring something that would bring it a new identity separate from the previous alien movies. It will not match the Alien movies including its own Prometheus and Covenant, or even Life, coming nowhere close. We have so many others including Pacific Rim and Edge of Tomorrow. There has been something intellectual or terrifying on display with alien movies making the genre better, but that seems to be of no concern of Independence Day: Resurgence. The movie actually doesn’t try that hard either. There is no memorable dialogues in this one, and there will not be many moments which will stay in our memory for long, as going different is not the key here. Independence Day: Resurgence is not going to make it to any list about the best movies concerning anything, and neither is it going to be among the big alien invasion flicks. There might have been the chance here, but the movie decides not to grow up that much.

How it finishes :: Working on the dumb movie on which it is based and brings the sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence makes things better unlike what the critics think about it. You will see that a lot of people like the first movie just because it would make them look cool, and it is more of how they follow the trend – say that the original was so good and the sequel or reboot doesn’t have that much life; it has become a rather stylish thing to do. The truth is that I have never been a fan of Independence Day, and felt that it is one of the most overrated movies in history, and undoubtedly the most overrated alien invasion flick that one can ever watch. Without being rated that high, watching Independence Day: Resurgence is rather a safe option – everyone says that it is not like the first movie, and if it is so, there is a good chance that it is better than that blockbuster without even a tiny bit of brain.

[Walks into the balcony with another cup of tea].

Vampire Owl: I am recommending the destruction of this portal which connects the two worlds.

Vampire Bat: I do not think that you have the power to make such elder recommendations.

Vampire Owl: Still, these aliens just can’t be managed. We have to stay safe.

Vampire Bat: The undead are more powerful than living aliens, at any point.

Vampire Owl: The undead power! But what about their advanced weapons?

Vampire Bat: Well, we are strong even without them, and nothing stands against the power of having risen from the grave.

Vampire Owl: Nothing confuses me more than these separate worlds beyond the portals. Our realm is rather easy to follow.

Vampire Bat: There is no need for such confusion. We are adding a new course about it, and you can learn the whole thing in one and half years.

Vampire Owl: Do I get to watch alien movies as part of the course?

Vampire Bat: Yes, most of them, and there will be no Independence Day. But for this movie, there is scope to bring a bigger sequel considering how the final moments have been going.

[Walks into the silence of darkness].

Release date: 24th June 2016
Running time: 120 minutes
Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Starring: Liam Hemsworth, Maika Monroe, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Jessie T. Usher, Travis Tope, William Fichtner, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner, Sela Ward, Patrick St Esprit, Angelababy, Vivica A Fox, Nicolas Wright, Deobia Oparei, Travis Tope, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Ng Chin Han, John Storey, Joey King, Jenna Purdy, James A Woods, Robert Neary, Garrett Wareing, Hays Wellford, Mckenna Grace

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Despicable Me 3

Vampire Owl: I would like to use this particular title for myself too.

Vampire Bat: Why do you want to be called the vampire deserving hatred and contempt?

Vampire Owl: Because I am going to take over the world.

Vampire Bat: You have had that thought since you became a vampire apprentice for the first time. It is not real.

Vampire Owl: Doctor Frankenstein has always believed in alternate realities.

Vampire Bat: But you don’t believe in Mr. Frankenstein.

Vampire Owl: He is just not part of my reality. But his methods surely are.

Vampire Bat: You cannot pretend to put things into different realities, and speak as if you are from one reality in which is independent of the others when all of these is just one reality.

Vampire Owl: Do you know that with regular practice and with finding inner peace, we can create our own realities with our minds?

Vampire Bat: This is exactly why I feel that zombies without brains are awesome.

[Gets the tickets with masala tea and caramel popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: Felonious Gru (Steve Carell) is spending some nice time as a secret agent of the anti-villain league along with his newfound love, Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) who is also trying hard to be a loving mother to the three adopted kids, Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Nev Scharrel). Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), a supervillain obsessed with the television character that he played, has become Gru’s biggest opponent, and even evades him and Lucy on so many occasions. After the last encounter between the two, Gru and Lucy end up being fired from the league by the new chief of the league. Now left without any job, the minions led by Mel (Pierre Coffin) wishes for him to go evil again, so that they will all have something to do. But Gru doesn’t want go back to be the villain again as it would be against all he had hoped for, and so the minions just decide to quit, except for two.

So, what happens next? :: Meanwhile, Balthazar continues to have more and more success with his evil plans, stealing world’s most precious diamond without even having to think twice about it. It is during those times that Gru comes to know that he has a twin brother named Dru (again Steve Carell), who seems to be rather a successful businessman with his pig farms. They had separated when they were kids, as Gru was taken by his mother and Dru by his father, both not knowing about each other until now. When it is revealed, Dru does invite Gru and his family to his special place, where they are given a grand welcome. With golden hair on the head and being a more cheerful and successful man, Dru does make Gru jealous, but it is not the visit is more about. Dru reveals that Gru has always been a role-model in the form of a master villain, even with his failures – he claims that it is Gru who has kept the family tradition going.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: Meanwhile, minions end up in prison, and come up with some special plans to get back with Gru due to the nostalgia keeping on troubling them. Dru wants Gru to go back to crime with him, as he feels that both of them could get the family crime legacy to the next level. Gru who is now married to his love and being the father of three adopted children, doesn’t really want to do the same, but wants to get even with Balthazar. He plans to get the diamond from the criminal, and get it to the anti-villain league along with the villain himself, so that he could find him and his wife back in the job. But his brother is interested in this because they could get their hands on the most valuable diamond in the world, and the heist would thus go down in history. But our evil villain does have other plans starting from Hollywood, and going on for mass destruction. Will Gru be able to stop him this time?

The defence of Despicable Me 3:: There is the focus on laughter here, and attempts are regularly made at the same. With the attempt to bring in more action sequences, and situations made for comedy, we are surely seeing an entertainment which finishes without taking that much of our time. It also leaves things open in the end which means that we can have something to go for with a fourth movie which will be something better if good imagination gets the right inspiration. Minions, even though out of the main tale, making almost no impact, are still fun to watch – there are some rare cases here that has repetition being fun. The kids are surely going to love this one a lot – there is no reason why they shouldn’t, as silliness is written again and again on screen with this movie around. Everyone from that age really wants to be Gru or at least with him in an animated world full of action and minions, don’t they? Well, be there early as this one released in India before it did in the United States of America.

The claws of flaw :: Well, Despicable Me 3 is just too childish – surely more childish than the first movie as well as Despicable Me 2. There is almost no thinking regarding the story-line here, as we get to know that quite early. We see not much happening here, and even the usual messages are not present. With what seems to be a random mixture of things, the emotional side is rather lost, something which can be rather catastrophic of an animated movie – the kids have almost no significance in the tale along with the minions who are just there for the laughter, and there are the two brothers whose story just seemed to have been brought for the sake of the adventure, and there is the villain who seems to have the appeal rather too much on the kids rather than anyone else. You would also realise that there have been two movies before this and a spin-off, and a better result still evades the makers and the fans alike. 3D is also not that much of a difference maker.

How it finishes :: Well, Despicable Me 3 is fun for sure, even though it seems to trail behind Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2 without even trying well enough to make much of an impact. Maybe, everyone have already felt that this franchise is in an eternal safe zone, like Ice Age, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda series might have been thinking already. But, if we compare the number of screens and the number of viewers for Cars 3 and this one, it is clear that safe zone is slowly and steadily becoming a myth – there are always new movies which are not sequels made out of special creativity, like Moana, Zootopia, Frozen and Inside Out, ready to conquer the animated area. They will surely have to put the extra effort for the next movie, if people are going to continue believing in the same – this will work as of now with its comic side and how good it looks on the screen, but an animated movie is going to require more than that in order to have a long and better run.

Release date: 16th June 2017 (India); 30th June 2017 (USA)
Running time: 89 minutes
Directed by: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda
Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Nev Scharrel, Steve Coogan, Julie Andrews, Jenny Slate, Pierre Coffin

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Never Go Back

jackreacher-2

Vampire Owl: Yes, I have added this name to the list too.

Vampire Bat: To which list? Your list on Transporter, Mechanic and Codename 47 was closed a week ago.

Vampire Owl: I am making a new list. It has John Wick, and now Jack Reacher.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that they are all people “specialised” in one particular thing, and they lead us through those sequences of action and thrills, but this time, they have the first name and the last name.

Vampire Owl: It is exactly what this particular list is about.

Vampire Bat: Will you add Ethan Hunt to that list?

Vampire Owl: No, not until he features in the title of a movie.

Vampire Bat: Are you keeping an Excel sheet about this too?

Vampire Owl: Yes, and I am also keeping a backup of this on my pendrive which looks like our fangs.

Vampire Bat: You really need even better ways to spend free-time, don’t you?

[Gets three cups of masala tea with banana chips].

What is the movie about? :: Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) continues to do what he always did the best, as he catches a human trafficking ring, all by himself. One day, as he goes to meet his old friend Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders), he understands that she is under arrest for espionage, and she is also held responsible for the murder of her two soldiers. Despite all that was said by Colonel Sam Morgan (Holt McCallany) who has taken her place, Jack refuses to believe that Susan could be a spy and a traitor to her country. Believing that she has been framed, he meets up with Susan’s attorney, Colonel Bob Moorcroft (Robert Catrini) who talks to him about the available evidence on her being involved in the murder of her colleagues. He also tells him that she doesn’t want him to be involved in this, but Jack doesn’t seem to care, and decides to get to the bottom of this.

So, what happens next? :: Jack also realises that an old acquaintance has filed a paternity suit against him, claiming he is the father of her daughter, Samantha Dayton (Danika Yarosh) who has just turned fifteen years old. Even as he goes to meet the girl, she doesn’t seem to care. Later, when Bob is killed by an unknown assassin (Patrick Heusinger), Jack is framed for the murder and sent to prison. There, he finds Susan, and kills those who comes to murder her, and they escape. Sam is also killed, and once again it falls on Jack’s head. The team of Jack and Susan, while going through Sam’s computer, finds out that Samantha might be in danger too, as they feel that the assumption that she is the only relative of Jack would bring her into to threat, and an image of her was already there. They reach her place only to find her foster parents dead and Samantha hiding in the kitchen.

So, how do things go from here? :: Both of them decide to take Samantha to the school where Susan studied, for protection, but finds out that they were traced due to Samantha using the mobile phone for texting. They quickly escape from there, as Samantha steals bag from one of the students which has credit cards, which they use for funding their journey. The team of three travels to New Orleans to find Daniel Prudhomme (Austin Hebert) who is supposed to be the only eye-witness to the murders for which Susan was sent to prison. With an assassin on their trail, can they manage to do what seems to be the impossible? Jack and Susan are trained for things like these, but how well can they do this with everyone including the good guys and the bad guys chasing them? What role will Samantha play in this game for survival? Is she really Jack’s daughter?

The defence of Jack Reacher: Never Go Back :: There is no lack of entertainment with Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, as there are fights, and none of them are overdone, even when there was the chance for the same – there are some interesting chases too. The tale begins to get interesting very early, and it keeps being so, even without going too much above a certain level in pace. It is Tom Cruise who once again makes sure that all of these work, and supporting him is Cobie Smulders who is not far behind with all the action. Playing Maria Hill in The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron, we have always wanted to see her in this role. The two surely make a nice pair in an action thriller, as proven here. If we look at it closely, there is never really a challenge here for the two. Danika Yarosh also has all that is needed for her role.

The claws of flaw :: There is a certain amount of lack of speed associated with this one just like it was in the first movie. It could have gone for more action sequences, and many twists and thrills, but the second movie of this franchise hesitates in doing the same. The humour is not that effective, and the side with the father-daughter twist seemed more unnecessary than anything else. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is adapted from the eighteenth book in the Jack Reacher series which was written by Lee Child – so, maybe there was so much need to stay close to the original material, which nobody I know has read; but still, this could have been made more interesting when on the screen. This one is surely no Mission Impossible for Tom Cruise, and it is surely not as good as the previous movie, the first one in this franchise – there is no Edge of Tomorrow or Oblivion either. People are sure to have expected more with this one.

How it finishes :: You can always find something to love in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, as long as this is among your favourite genres. You don’t need to have that high expectations with each element of this one though, as this runs on a straight line – there is not much of going down or coming up. If you are Tom Cruise fan or admirer, this is another movie that you can add to the list of movies to watch, without second thoughts. You will still ask for more from this movie, but one can blame it more on the expectations, and there is the visible need to get bigger with this cast. If you bring John Wick and the two Jack Reacher movies, I would surely go for the latter, with a possible change coming up after I get to watch John Wick 2. It doesn’t matter what the critics say and judge, I will surely recommend the second part of Jack Reacher as much as the first one – I will go back for this one!

Release date: 21st October 2016
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: Edward Zwick
Starring: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Aldis Hodge, Danika Yarosh, Patrick Heusinger, Holt McCallany, Austin Hebert, Robert Catrini, Robert Knepper, Jessica Stroup

jackreacherr

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Force II

force2-1

Vampire Owl :: Do you know how long we have waited for a sequel here?

Vampire Bat :: Five years. Just have a look at IMDb.

Vampire Owl :: Why do we have to wait so long? Don’t we deserve the sequels much earlier?

Vampire Bat :: I agree. They tend to make it bad when releasing a movie after too much of time.

Vampire Owl :: The first movie a good one, even if it was a remake.

Vampire Bat :: Especially when we haven’t watched the original.

Vampire Owl :: And everything or rather everyone has changed in this movie.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, except for John Abraham.

Vampire Owl :: So, we are going for this right now. May the force be with us.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, in a few minutes; just count till four hundred and twenty five.

[Gets the tickets with tea and cheese popcorn].

What is it about? :: After the episode with Vishnu (Vidyut Jamwal), ACP Yashvardhan (John Abraham) lives in the memories of his dead wife, Maya (Genelia D’Souza), and gets into fight with the gangsters and criminals of the city, which goes on naturally cool for him. But when three Raw agents are killed in Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai, and one of them is his good friend, he decides to get involved in more than just fights in the streets with thugs. He finds a message from his friend, which he decodes and gives to the RAW chief Anjan (Narendra Jha) who is impressed. He is provided with the special permission to go on the mission to the place in the message, which is Budapest, the capital of Hungary, instead of one of those Chinese cities where the three agents were murdered.

So what happens next? :: The RAW officer Kamaljit Kaur a.k.a. KK (Sonakshi Sinha) also joins him in the quest, even though she is doubtful about the inclusion of a simple police officer. When they reach the city, they are welcomed by an explosion, which makes them realize that RAW agents are not even close to being safe. There is someone on the inside who knows the names of the agents undercover, and all of them, especially the seventeen agents in China are in grave danger. There are a number of people in their list of suspects, but everything points to Shiv Sharma (Tahir Raj Bhasin) in the end. But there is something about him, as he always stays one step ahead of them. They find it almost impossible to get him out of Budapest, and at the same time, another agent gets killed. This newly found enemy has something more to do than to just kill the RAW agents – what is it?

The defence of Force 2 :: The action sequences are well-planned and executed very nicely. The presence of patriotism and thrills are things of certainty here. There is quick pacing, and we are never bored, and you can see that there is the complete absence of drag throughout its run. There is not much of the songs here and it is a relief, which many other Bollywood movies should also provide us with, instead of throwing all those tunes towards us – maybe one would want the songs like the predecessor, but with our hero going on full attack, they were not to be here. The visuals of Budapest are really good, and there are so many occasions when we are lost in them and feel the need to visit Hungary, and even go further through Central and Eastern Europe on a special journey. The movie is emotionally strong too, and there is the tribute for the unsung heroes of the nation. The story has a lot with all these.

The claws of flaw :: The story is not something which we haven’t heard before – it is up to the hero to save more than just the day, with that extra dose of heroism along with the special dose of patriotism coming right through. The similarities with Hollywood situations are there, as you will notice depending on how much of those international movies you get to watch. There are also a little too much extra with the way in which the big action sequences are added – they could have been avoided, and the movie should have stuck to those which feel realistic, even when maintaining that style. There are lots of moments which remind one of a first person shooter, and it comes as kind of a pain. There are explanations which do go missing with the antagonist’s past and all, but within the movie’s scenario, things go fine, and that will satisfy your brains well enough. The comedy is not good.

Performers of the soul :: John Abraham comes up with an intense performance here, and we feel the force in his performance right from the beginning to the end. We have seen him in a similar role in a more realistic way in Madras Cafe, and here he goes more entertaining in this action-packed thriller – there is no real shortage of intensity from him here either. From the first time I had seen Force, I was sure that there was more to be done in that movie for him, and this sequel brings him the opportunity to do the same, for which he has no problem at all – we have the force right through him. Sonakshi Sinha looks nice and does mostly okay, and as expected, it is John who gets to steal the show. Tahir Raj Bhasin who is the antagonist in this thriller has managed to do a great job, and adds this performance to what he did in the much appreciated Mardaani.

How it finishes :: Force 2 is the right sequel to its predecessor, and it makes sure that we are thrilled throughout its run, and this one is a fine action thriller which is worthy enough to rule the weekends with all kinds of audience. As you can remember, the trailer was pretty much interesting, and this one stays strong to live up to the expectations. There were other choices to make this weekend, and for me, that included the Malayalam movie Kattappanayile Rithwik Roshan, and the Hollywood flick, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them – I am pretty sure that I made the right choice to watch Force 2. I am sure that people will have many reasons to go for another movie, but Force 2 is undoubtedly the right movie, because it is one entertaining package with enough application of brains.

Release date: 18th November 2016
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: Abhinay Deo
Starring: John Abraham, Sonakshi Sinha, Tahir Raj Bhasin, Paras Arora, Narendra Jha, Boman Irani (cameo), Genelia D’Souza (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2

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What is it about? :: Anshul (Kartik Aaryan), Siddharth (Sunny Singh Nijjar) and Tharun (Omkar Kapoor) are best friends who share a flat. Anshul meets Ruchika (Nushrat Bharucha) during a party, gives her his mobile number and their relationship begins. Siddharth comes across Supriya (Sonnalli Seygall) at a wedding program and immediately falls in love, hoping to get married to her as soon as possible. Tharun meets Kusum (Ishita Raj) while at the gym and with his infatuation, their love story begins. But all these three relationships don’t move forward as expected. They try to make things better, even by going to a trip to Pattaya, but the situation remains the same. It seems almost impossible to get along with each other, with a split ready for all the three couples.

The defence of Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2 :: The comic side of this movie is strong as expected. The same successfully generates a lot of laughter in the theatre. Making the audience laugh a lot is not that easy, and that has been achieved, both in the case of men and women viewers. The songs are okay. The vain love based on infatuation gets the beating here, even when there is absolutely no need to bring a message here or be serious about its idea. The jokes related to online life and the struggles of Siddharth to impress the girl’s parents are the best among them. This movie only does what it is supposed to do, and if anyone wanted it to do something else which it was never planning to come up with, they can hate the movie, but bringing just one point up is more like vendetta. I agree that this could have done differently, and that would have surely improved my opinion, but this product works.

Claws of flaw :: You can see that critics have chosen to degrade this movie, but most you will see that the reason itself is one-sided and prejudiced, as it can only be found by digging the wrong way. But this movie is no big thing either. The flick actually starts with some drag, and it only gets better with the men meeting the women. All the comedy stuff won’t work that well either, and it is not applicable for everyone in the same way throughout the flick. Some dialogues were quite unnecessary, and the movie surely had better scope. The acting department is not that great either, but not much is required in this movie as the cast manages okay. You will also get less out of this movie if you have decided to thrive in the negative idea given to you by the critics, and won’t watch this as a regular movie loving human who thinks not from or in favour of any category.

Soul exploration :: I keep wondering why some critics think that this movie hates women. It makes no sense, because anything against women in this movie is from three male protagonists who are pretty much dumb (nobody needs to believe even a word they say); so if there is anything negative here, it is to be shared between both sexes. I can have problems about how men are portrayed in this movie too! Well, it is a modern take on the relationships which have no value and about those which are too hasty; it is about how decisions taken without base never last – it is also applicable both ways; you can also see a male character whose girlfriend has ditched him, and it is clear that the particular person appears as the mirror image. People are free to come up with opinions, but some people surely need to develop some tolerance – otherwise, these people might not have the right to call the political parties and religions intolerant.

Further soul exploration :: This just a story about a relationship, and not judgment. There are movies with good women and there are others with bad women; sometimes there are those which are full of bad men and otherwise good women. But if you look closely here, are these characters the kind of people who can’t exist in this world? Haven’t you seen the shades of some of them in your life? Don’t try to deny it because of your prejudice. Well, if you are looking for the same story to progress from all angles with just one movie, you are looking at the wrong place. These people who pass judgment in favour of just one side of this flick really need to think again. If they need movies which hate women, Bollywood has many of them along with another Indian flicks, and this movie here is not one of them – you will know if you remove those shades of prejudice. Nobody with sanity will let this movie define their world except for laughing at the jokes! This is never really about true preaching! No characters here are heroes to imitate either!

More of soul exploration :: If you are determined to hate this movie, and looking for points to note down, feel free to write something even before watching this movie. If you think that men in this movie are so awesome and women so bad, you need to look into your viewpoints about the good and the bad; because all that this movie has is a collection of grey characters. You don’t even feel that the women are evil in this movie if you look deeper; what you see here is a case of not finding the right person, as each human being is different. These three men found the wrong women, and they suffer for it – the men are not really angels either, and their choices were just dependent on infatuation or lust. Here is a message for you to take home even if there is none intended – don’t go for looks and don’t fall for what you feel with first looks; go for character. You got the message when there is none; happy? Now, that is a good addition.

How it finishes :: Actually, under normal circumstances, if you are looking to take a message from a full comedy movie, you are looking at the wrong place. What to expect from this movie was pretty much clear. I went for this movie thinking how terrible this would be, thanks to those critics who only saw only one side of this one. But that only helped me to once again understand why I shouldn’t go by the opinions especially when they are focusing on one particular thing which is not even the basic factor of this movie. I haven’t watched the first movie, but about Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2, I am sure that it will make the viewers laugh, and the genre here is comedy – note that down. It doesn’t have anything else, and this is not a movie to be taken seriously. If you thought that this was going to the movie with a grand love message, the problem is on your side and not with the movie makers. Use that side of brain somewhere else, as there are many serious ones and grand superstar movies which work against equality.

Release date: 16th October 2015
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed by: Luv Ranjan
Starring: Kartik Aaryan, Nushrat Bharucha, Sonalli Sehgall, Ishita Raj, Omkar Kapoor, Sunny Singh, Rumana Molla, Sharat Saxena, Manvir Singh

pyaarkapunchnamaa

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

See No Evil 2

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Vampire Owl :: I feel that we shouldn’t watch this movie.

Vampire Bat :: Why? You didn’t like the first movie?

Vampire Owl :: No, not that; even if we tell others that we see See No Evil, we actually see the evil which is committed on the screen, but it should be about seeing no evil. So, it implies that we are lying. You will be writing about this movie. So, if you write that you saw See No Evil, that means that you saw all the evil deeds on the screen and in the end, it means that you saw evil instead of not seeing the evil. That is a lie. Vampires don’t lie.

Vampire Bat :: I don’t get this see-saw evil. What are you talking about?

Vampire Owl :: I am saying that this movie asks us not to watch it, and it is a fact.

Vampire Bat :: I don’t really think that you should create a complicated issue out of a horror slasher movie and its title.

Vampire Owl :: How can you say that? I demand the right to use my owlish brain.

Vampire Bat :: Why does it never work when needed?

Vampire Owl :: I can’t help it. I am an evil genius and my needs are different.

Vampire Bat :: So, it is true that the branch of a tree fell on your head?

[A few minutes of silence].

What is it about? :: Amy (Danielle Harris), Seth (Kaj-Erik Eriksen) and Holden (Michael Eklund) are working at a morgue late night. As it is Amy’s birthday and with her getting ready to leave, they get to know that the bodies of nine victims of a murderer are being brought, along with that of the killer, Jacob Goodnight (Kane); and she decides to stay and help them instead of going for a party. Due to her absence, her friends Tamara (Katharine Isabelle), Kayla (Chelan Simmons) and Carter (Lee Majdoub) sneak in to celebrate her birthday along with her brother Will (Greyston Holt) as they begin a party in the morgue. But what will they do when they find out that the killer is alive and is killing one after the other?

The defence of See No Evil 2 :: Coming from the Soska sisters Jen Soska and Sylvia Soska who came up with the movie American Mary in 2012, this is a sure improvement from there – that movie itself had some nice elements, but none that effective. They have also starred in the nice beginning credit scenes as corpses. There is nice treatment of this regular slasher movie which makes it rise above the ordinary. See No Evil 2 is surely going to be something of interest for the WWE fans. There is Kane doing what he has done in WWE for a long time; there is total devastation as he used to do with his opponenets. Jacob Goodnight is sure to become a character to be remembered for a long time, and the setting and the style only adds to the overall terror quality of the movie. The elements of fear nicely focuses on the killer and the environment. It is good fun with thrills.

The claws of flaw :: There are things that go on without reaching anywhere, with the attraction between the co-workers and the brother-sister relationship being just two of them. The return of the villain doesn’t have any explanations, as we can’t stop feeling that it is just an attempt to make things work once again with the same character and the actor. There is a certain supernatural feeling about the character with surely damages things. The flashbacks which go back to the first movie only makes things too strange and less interesting to follow as they break the continuity of the story. The horror elements never really go above a certain limit which has been set by the inability to do anything special. The killings are nothing beyond the ordinary, and the ending is just something which could have been better planned.

Performers of the soul :: Glenn Thomas Jacobs whom we know as the WWE wrestler Kane remains the biggest asset of this movie, and it surely was a good idea to bring the character back for him, as he seems to do this role with certain ease. Working as the brother of The Undertaker and being part of The Brothers of Destruction was a job too good with the mask, and this one has him returning with another mask. Danielle Harris is one of those scream queens who has been there in horror movies doing similar roles for a very long time, mostly related to two movies of Hatchet series and four belonging to the Halloween franchise, and the list doesn’t end there. She is right there with the role, but it is Katharine Isabelle, the other queen of horror who steals the show – the one from Ginger Snaps franchise and American Mary, not easily recognizable in this new style, but this is a different character for her as she adds humour and fun to this movie.

How it finishes :: With some fun and scares here and there, this one is a sure improvement from the first movie. The environment, the leading character and the two leading ladies are those factors which make sure that this works better than the previous movie. We have had some interesing killers including Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers and Victor Crowley; so Jacob Goodnight will only add nicely to that list which has the stranger names like Rusty Nail and Chrome Skull. There is one certain thing about this franchise, and it is that the whole thing has managed to move away from the weaknesses of the first movie. See No Evil 2 works, and how much it works is dependent on the taste.

[After watching the movie].

Vampire Owl :: I think that we should follow the pattern.

Vampire Bat :: What pattern?

Vampire Owl :: This one tells us how to establish a base at the morgue. Why didn’t we ever thing about it?

Vampire Bat :: I am currently thinking that this is better than the predecessor.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, that is established already. What about the pattern?

Vampire Bat :: I don’t think that we should establish new vampire bases without permission from Uncle Dracula.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, the permission has to be taken, but this is one place where we can establish the base without further trouble.

Vampire Bat :: You don’t think that the current cemetery bases will be enough?

Vampire Owl :: No, there is something big coming. I can feel it. We need the morgue.

Vampire Bat :: It is Insidious: Chapter 3. Just make sure that you watch it.

Release date: 21st October 2014
Running time: 90 minutes
Directed by: Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska
Starring: Kane, Danielle Harris, Katharine Isabelle, Chelan Simmons, Michael Eklund, Kaj-Erik Eriksen, Greyston Holt, Lee Majdoub, Sylvia Soska, Jen Soska

seenoevilii

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

How to Train Your Dragon 2

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Vampire Owl :: I have always preferred dinosaurs and Godzilla to dragons, wyverns and all kinds of flying machines.

Vampire Bat :: What about the Golden Dragon Restaurant?

Vampire Owl :: With that chicken and noodles which should not be named?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, that variety which we tested and tasted.

Vampire Owl :: In that case, I guess I will have to make an exception.

Vampire Bat :: Let’s train a dragon then.

Vampire Owl :: As long as it is not named Fernando Torres. I need it to score when opportunity comes.

Vampire Bat :: It is not easy to make the sequel to one of the best animated movies of all time. Still, the reviews are great and lets hope for the best. After all, there is no strong opposition this weekend.

[Reaches the multiplex].

The day of the dragon :: The past goes back to 2010 when the first movie was released, and at that time in the movie, vikings and dragons have been fighting each other. The battle was something which defined their lives and seemed to go on forever. The chief of the group is Stoick who is a firm hater of the dragons. The son of Stoick and the heir to the title, Hiccup is not having a good time with his Viking blood, but happens to capture a blue dragon whom he couldn’t make up the mind to kill. This rare Night Fury dragon and the boy becomes friends and is given the name Toothless for its retractable teeth. The boy would no longer find killing the dragons an option as he feels that it is not right. Even as it did infuriate his father and most of the other vikings, this would lead to a chain of events which will finally lead to the end of war between vikings and dragons. The first idea would be that this is the end of the story, as everything seemed to go on happily ever after. But the need for the sequel comes up and it takes off from here, as this had gone on to become one of the more popular animated movies at that time.

What is it about? :: As the peace has been established and the dragons live happily with Vikings, it seems that nothing bad can happen. Close to taking over as the new chief of his village, Hiccup goes on random adventures with his dragon and best friend, Toothless, as they discover and add to the map lots of unexplored lands and the water-bodies which surrounds their island, as the assistance of flying creatures have made things easier for them. On one such day of exploration, he encounters a dragon catcher and knows about his boss Drago Bludvist who is building a dragon army. Hiccup decides to get to the root of this and find the one who is taking the dragons for himself. Even as Stoick tells his son that the new villain is a mad man and it is impossible to prevent a war and their only possible defence was being inside the walls of the city, Hiccup continues on his path to find the enemy. But on the way, he will meet another dragon rider who will bring some changes to his plan. At the same time, he is chased by dragon catchers as well as his own people who are trying to bring him back. It is to be seen how things will go on.

The defence of How to Train Your Dragon 2 :: The movie takes us into the world of vikings and dragons again, and begins another saga of awesomeness which is a great continuation of the previous one. It is connected quite well to the first part. The story has nice new elements even as some part of it is undoubtedly predictable, but that is to be expected in an animated movie. There is some good 3D, nothing special though. There are moments when nothing special happens, but no boring moment. The Vikings are nice to watch and the dragons are glorious fun; for there are so many of them this time with even two alpha dragons fighting with each other. The villain characters is nice, and the father and mother characters are lots of fun along with our hero’s friends, girlfriend and the friend of the chief. But the best thing is still the relation between the hero and his dragon, followed by his relationship with his father and his mother. The environment of the movie is nothing less than a Avatar in animation as far as the whole visual splendor is concerned, and the dragon designs are nice even as some of them might seem a little too funny for some – well, this is a movie for the kids too and so such things were to exist somewhere.

The claws of flaw :: If we take the major characters out, the movie is centered around dragons and it is their existence that defines this movie, and vikings come only next. There is less about the lifestyle and more about exploration. The Vikings and their way of life takes second place and becomes something based on the existence and presence of the winged creatures. The only other creature which we see is the sheep in a world which seems to be shared by just two creatures. Some of the dragons are actually too cute even for the bigger kids. It was already cute with everything and this gets further. Even as the story is nicely done, there are some areas where it gets predictable. It will also be difficult for those who haven’t watched the original movie, as those incidents have quite a lot to do with this movie, and the characterization is also dependent on what happened earlier. Therefore, the connection will obviously be weak for them, even as the same can’t be said about the fun. The emotional and dramatic scenes often go out of hand, and they are rather far-fetched and still not that effective as Frozen or Mr. Peabody and Sherman. The talks about this being the movie of the year or the best animated sequel won’t work.

Soul exploration :: The movie’s most important theme is co-existence. The lack of tolerance has been something which has been hurting more than just one race of people. Well, if dragons can co-exist with a race like Vikings, anyone can do that. This is the age when hatred is spread through Facebook, as people come up with some random post which has no truth in it, and present it as fact just to degrade others and their political, social and religious beliefs. It is a shame that some of these are actually learned men with good status, and in that case they are able to make the fools share what they share. It is quite difficult to reason with people who pervert history for the same, and come out with nonsense to support their cause. In the outside world, there are always wars, but they are all the products of the hatred that is burning in the minds because of the greed or personal agenda of some people. The Vikings had their own purpose and the dragons think only of their major needs, but lets experience this movie and learn something about co-existence not only with other people and creatures, but also with the environment. Avatar did the same, and instead of the tree at the centre, we have the alpha dragons which controls them all.

How it finishes :: The original movie was a smart one, and it was surely not going to be easy to make a sequel to the same. But this movie has accomplished something which only movies like Kung-fu Panda 2 and Despicable Me 2 have achieved, and Rio 2 came pretty close to doing until losing its way. This one becomes a very good sequel to the first movie, and there are occasions when it seems to rise above the first movie. It has all the ingredients to rule the box-office; a strong base which is already constructed by its predecessor, the absence of any better movie in the theatre and some good developments of its own. The only remaining challenge is from what is left over by Edge of Tomorrow, but that should be no real problem considering the kind of audience targeted by the two. It is surely leading the weekend until now. How to Train Your Dragon 2 is the second best animated movie of the year after Mr. Peabody and Sherman, and the same can be said about the fun that it carries. There were expectations and this one meets them steadily. Watch this one on the big screen and nowhere else, and it won’t really matter if you are an young man, an older person or a kid, this one is going to make your one hundred minutes count.

Release date: 13th June 2014
Running time: 102 minutes
Directed by: Dean DeBlois
Starring (voice) : Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, Djimon Hounsou, Kit Harington

howtotrainyourdragon2 copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Smurfs 2

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There are times when people think that a sequel is necessary for every successful movie. Such sequels often go bad, as they are more of repetitions and imitations of the first – but this one manages to hold its ground, not with full strength; just marginally. It has forced itself on the viewers, and has often succeeded with its funny dialogues and the incredible cuteness which it has developed, with an inherent goodness and a little stupidity which gets overshadowed by their aversion towards evil, unlike the minions of Despicable Me 2. That should make this the perfect movie for kids, as there is the moral side which is strong, and everything else goes on depending on this side of the good. Well, The Smurfs 2 is highly dependent on what the first movie had given the viewers, and in the process of making this sequel, it has copied almost everything from The Smurfs and has presented it in a slightly different manner. The advantage that we achieve with the same is that this one is an even better story in morals, and it is further preachy in nature as it goes on and on. There is divine justice as well as the poetic justice, but not without the actions from our little and bigger heroes does fate and destiny dare to intervene.

The Smurfs 2 is a collection of escapism and childish fantasy. It has done enough to have almost every child drag their parents into the theatres to watch some cute little blue creatures. They have also tested the same on the older one very well, as there is a certain amount of nostagia of childhood that seem to affect the grown ups too, and if this was released before Despicable Me 2, the scope would have been higher. They had taken on New York earlier, and now they are at Paris. The little blue creatures have tried their best, but lacking in bringing innovation and originality, this movie had to try and bring a smile to the face of all the viewers, and once again, the result is effectiveness of a lesser scale. If one didn’t watch the first movie, the probability of liking this movie might even go higher. There is a good explanations of the things that go on with this world even in this movie. There are so many occasions when a predecessor’s shoes are good enough, but shouldn’t they have tried to remove the dirt in the same instead of throwing more on it, in a huge variety of colours? May be colourful dirt is good – at least its not bad or evil, and there is a little more time to be sure about that.

Years have passed after the group of smurfs got sucked into a gigantic vortex which brought them to the new world of New York City. Smurfette is shown to suffer from an identity crisis, as she is having nightmares about betraying her fellow Smurfs and getting them captured by Gargamel. At the same time, the Smurfs are preparing a surprise birthday party for Smurfette. But as nobody talks about her birthday and keeps it a secret, she feels that they have forgotten the day and don’t consider her as one of them. She feels that she is neither here nor there, as neither the daughter of Gargamel or Papa Smurf, created by one and given the life of a Smurf by Papa Smurf. She had been an instrument to distract and trap the Smurfs, but now she is claimed as one of them, but the doubts in her mind never ends. She wanders away from the village thinking about the same. Meanwhile, Gargamel has become a famous magician in Paris, but he is running out the Smurf essence and thus losing his magical powers. With his new Smurf-like creations, who are called the Naughties – Vexy and Hackus, Gargamel plans on opening a portal to the Smurf village and get the Smurf formula by kidnapping Smurfette who joined the other side. But he doesn’t have the magical powers to create a portal big enough for him to enter, and he sends Vexy who goes through it and successfully tricks the first Smurf lady through the portal as she wanders around alone.

The Smurfs are alerted, and Papa Smurf uses his magic to create crystals that would allow some of his best Smurfs to go back to the human world, but through an accident, Clumsy, Grouchy and Vanity ends up travelling to the modern world rather than Brainy, Hefty, and Gutsy. The four Smurfs arrive in the apartment of Patrick Winslow (Neil Patrick Harris) right after the birthday celebration of his son Blue (Jacob Tremblay) who has been named after them. They also meet Patrick’s stepfather Victor Doyle (Brendan Gleeson), whom Patrick hates and wishes to keep away from his family. The Smurfs join with them as well as Patrick’s lovely wife Grace Winslow (Jayma Mays) and goes to Paris where the sorcerer has set up his abode. The team manages to sneak through the backside of the magic arena of the villain, but fails to find Smurfette. Meanwhile, she joins with Vexy and Hackus in fun, and almost forget the Smurf life. Gargamel and his cat Azrael try their best to get information out of the Smurf lady, and at the same time, the human gang and the Smurfs tries to get through to the secret lair of Gargamel. In the battle for Smurf identity and Smurfy existence, there is a lot at stake including the Smurf lady as well as the whole Smurf village.

So, this movie running just a minute more than its predecessor, is no entity which can be considered different from the first movie. Its twelve percent approval rating at the Rotten Tomatoes comes as no surprise, even as that is a little harsh considering how much goodness this movie carries, or at least attempts to hold in itself. Its best moments are recreated from the first movie, and it fails to exist as a thing of innovation. With the large number of animated movies releasing these days, this half-an-animation might be a little repetitive in a less interesting manner. We already saw The Croods, Despicable Me 2, Monsters University, Epic and Turbo making impact this year, and this movie tries to impress kids in the same way. But how much can the kids take? They have a similar movie coming up each month which gives them their good time in the theatre. It is us horror fans who have less for our liking. We are fed with one movie, once in five months or so, in the form of The Conjuring, and that too should have been cut so much that there is that new question about what the horror really is. I guess we don’t count anymore, and the animated movies are the new, profitable trend – if the superhero movies don’t have anything to say against that claim; ask our beloved Man of Steel who lost his underwear in his effort to match a Dark Knight who rises.

Smurfette is the central character of this movie, and the second significant one is Vexy, voiced by Katy Perry and Christina Ricci respectively, bringing the whole new sisterly Smurf relationship to the movie series. The best moments though, belong to Vanity Smurf and Azrael bringing good laughter through their pride and fall. Neil Patrick Harris as Patrick Winslow has a lesser role to play in this sequel as his character looks more hammered into the middle of the world as a misfit, and Jayma Mays as Grace Winslow has even lesser to do this time. Brendan Gleeson as Victor Doyle brings some fun right into the middle of chaos. Hank Azaria as Gargamel continues to keep us interested even as the villain seems to be more of a clone of what he was in the first movie. But we can’t avoid Gargamel and his sorcery that easily, as the man continues to be the villain that he was in the first movie. Azrael the cat could have had a little more screen-time to make the most out of it. The movie should have found something smurfantastic, but it takes the easy way out, as the movie starts in an ordinary manner and ends in a predictable manner. Whatever happens in the middle tries to hold this world together.

Even with some good 3D effects, The Smurfs 2 fails to get rid of all those things which might have added negatively to the first movie. But all the good things are still there. With The Conjuring on the other screen, this would attract the families with kids, that’s for sure. But the fact remains that Pacific Rim, The Wolverine and Man of Steel haven’t disappeared yet as expected. Therefore, the choices are there, and this movie has to strive hard. The big shock might be that there is the little presence of Despicable Me 2 somewhere around. But The Smurfs 2 is new and they got style, colour and a cute and easy to pronounce title which rhymes with Surf Excel, our common detergent powder which has attacked the television screens without mercy. With its ordinary moral story which keeps you smurfed, smurfized and smurfined, the question would remain if they could have waited a little more and come up with a better sequel of excellent content. The little blue creatures have more potential than this, and we can only hope that the third movie of the series would fulfill it. Until then, one has to adjust with this movie, and I am sure that it won’t bore you to death – it doesn’t make you feel awesome either.

Release date: 31st July 2013 (USA); 4th August 2013 (India)
Running time: 104 minutes
Directed by: Raja Gosnell
Starring: Hank Azaria, Jayma Mays, Neil Patrick Harris, Brendan Gleeson , Jacob Tremblay, Nancy O’Dell & a big number of voice actors including Katy Perry and Christina Ricci

thesmurfs2 copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.