Laal Singh Chaddha narrates his incredible story on the train to the nearby passengers as he travels to meet the love of his life.
Laal Singh Chaddha is the official adaptation of the Oscar-winning film ‘Forrest Gump‘ with Aamir Khan returning to the silver screen after a gap of four years to play the Indian version of Tom Hanks‘ most memorable and one of Hollywood’s iconic roles ever.
So obviously, considering what ‘Forrest Gump’ means to the audience and the reputation it has built for decades being the darling of the global audience, there was immense pressure on Aamir Khan and the crew to put on a show that gives at least half-decent remake of the original classic. Most regrettably, Laal Singh Chaddha stands nowhere close to an average crafted film, forget about being a remake.
It is a classic disaster thanks to Aamir Khan that the mighty collapses right from the beginning when he opens his mouth to speak to the passenger on the train. It is no surprise that the center of satisfaction from the film rests on Aamir Khan’s shoulders. What surprises me is the actor, Mr. Perfectionist, who is well-known for his original takes on some interesting characters he has played throughout his career, is attempting to imitate Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump instead of bringing his own method. And in this process, Aamir Khan is neither convincing the audience nor appealing. And this is one of the major reasons for the film’s box-office failure.
When you listen to his Punjabi accent, it clearly sounds that something is not right. Aamir is certainly not the right choice for a Punjabi character and that was visible in Rang de Basanti. And then the younger version of Laal that he acted, it was like watching Aamir in ‘3 Idiots‘ and ‘PK‘. Same facial expressions and performance. And it is disappointing that an actor known for perfectly adjusting himself to the character has given identical performances in not one but three different films. In the younger version, he looked more mentally unstable than he was as a child. Extreme overacting.
WRITING NEXT TO NONSENSE!
The entire continuity questions the credibility of the screenwriting which is second to nonsense. Spreading humor in a drama for average entertainment is acceptable if executed well. But here, I feel as if the director was confused about how to justify the remake and connect the dots. First, he ridiculed India’s historic timeline to settle Laal’s stupendous journey to legacy. Second, he overstretched the plot and suffocated the audience in an awful second half. And third, the entire film looks like a Google translation.
Laal’s childhood highlights India’s state of Emergency under former PM Indira Gandhi, India’s World Cup winning moment occurs minutes later, and then the Anti-Sikh riots in Amritsar. If you have watched the film with active brains, you will realize that these three incidents occurred in different years. The emergency event happened in the mid-70s, India won the World Cup in 1983 and the riots occurred the next year. So how is the young boy Laal Singh Chaddha not growing for approximately eight to nine years? Or if the director is depicting that all three events happened one after the other which is more silly. In both cases, there is a big hole in the writing.
I must mention the supporting character of Bala played by Naga Chaitanya in his Hindi debut. It must have to be the most annoying character of 2022 or maybe of recent years. Playing the original role of Bubba from Forrest Gump, it was sickening to watch him repeat his passion for undergarments and remake scene-to-scene from the original source.
When you remake an original source, the writing demands a re-introduction on a whole new level of presentation expecting that the writer will come up with a thoughtful story adapting from the original idea. But here, Laal Singh Chaddha shows no intention to play a different beat. Besides adjusting Laal’s life story with the Indian side of historical moments, almost every plot development, almost every scene is straight from ‘Forrest Gump’. And this is one of the reasons why the audience disliked the film. The writer made absolutely no effort in coming up with their own idea to revise the whole plot.
WHAT A MISS!
In order to settle Laal’s life story with some historic moments, the film shows how the local boy of Delhi become a megastar in Bollywood with Shah Rukh Khan playing his own role. It was funny that his iconic arms-stretched-out pose was joked to be inspired by Laal. But what I want to complain about is a big miss. Amongst the three major Khans, the two who have never shared the screen as the lead or starred in the same film are Shah Rukh and Aamir. Salman Khan has starred with both of them in the past. And Shah Rukh and Aamir shared the screen for a few seconds in a cameo in Ashutosh Gowariker‘s “Pehla Nasha“. Despite the fact that Aamir Khan is the producer of this film and roped in Shah Rukh to play a cameo, they still didn’t share the same screen. How idiotic! What a miss!
Yes, ironically there are a few pluses like Satyajit Pande‘s cinematography and Tanuj Tiku‘s background score. A couple of tracks were good too. The makers raised the issue of domestic abuse well. But the biggest plus of the film that impressed me was Mona Singh who played Laal Singh Chaddha’s mother. She was impressive throughout the film. Watch her, particularly in the scene of the riots.
So Laal Singh Chaddha has all the reasons to terribly fail at the box office and disappoint the audience. This has to be Aamir Khan’s worst performance in ages. He needs to become choosy again about the selection of his films because his recent run has been awful. Those who have never watched Forrest Gump can enjoy this translated version.
Was Laal Singh Chaddha that bad to be rejected in India? I don’t think so. We have watched worse Indian films than Laal Singh Chaddha. Then what happened?
I feel there was a particular hate campaign by the Hindu nationalists of the ruling party on a large scale that played its part. Back in 2015, Aamir Khan expressed his insecurity about living in India in one interview. That circulated before the film’s release.
The ruling party pushed its supporters to share more than 200,000 tweets demanding to boycott film with the hashtag ‘Boycott Laal Singh Chaddha’. That flamed severe hatred and due to this reason, Laal Singh Chaddha earned only ₹58.73 crore in India against a production budget of ₹180 crore.
The subject of Nagesh Kukunoor‘s films is always fascinating. His latest project is Dhanak, a tale of orphan siblings in the northern area of India where a SRK-fan sister Pari convinces her blind Salman Khan-fan brother Chotu to take him to Jaisalmer where SRK is active in shooting for an eye-donation event. Pari is convinced by a fortuneteller that Chotu will suffer if she doesn’t reach Jaisalmer to treat his blindness within three days.
From there begins a wonderful journey towards the different northern parts of India where they meet people from different walks of life who aid them reach their destiny. Kukunoor makes the destiny look a colourful dream with blends of cultural significance to spiritual addicts with combusting food for stomach afflicts.
There are severe odds over not meeting SRK but thanks to a wonderful screenplay which justifies the extraordinary stories of very ordinary people. The chemistry of the siblings, played by young kids Hetal Gada and Krrish Chhabria is very lively and natural. Both especially Chotu actor has given a splendid performance. Their arguments are very real and hilarious which creates a tone and makes you watch the destiny.
Kukunoor has depth in the presentation of realism in various ways. He dramatises the blood relations very well and he has done in his early films. It is quite deep and tragic that siblings do not get the proper caring from their guardians as much as they are well received by the outsiders. Also, I liked the segment of siblings meeting an American hippy from California.
I am very impressed with the background score and production of songs used in the film by Tapas Relia. Easily the best number is hippy Douglas Adam (Chet Dixon) singing a wonderful rendition of Damadam Mast Qalandar with Chotu (voiced by Devu Khan Manganiyar).
The irony of the fate of Dhanak is that such a sensible storytelling masterpiece hardly earned mere 2.5 crore INRs which shows a mark of disinterest among the Indian viewers and stellar interest towards the popular masala entertainers. Whereas the very same film has earned an international acclaim in many film festivals.
Creative, Perceptual and Supplemental to ‘Change’…
A well-derived project driving to a theory among the young generations for ages! a very ageless message with no casualty of emotional hullabaloo…
There was a TV film played on Doordarshan channel back in the late 80s, “In Which Annie Gives It Those One“. I honestly believe it undeniably is one of the (at least) twenty-five best feature films ever produced in India in any language. The film achieved cult status in those days but has been lost and forgotten. You will find and can watch the film on YouTube.
Before becoming an author, famous political activist Arundhati Roy used to work for TV and films. And she has the credit to write the screenplay of the film which is based on her personal experience as a student of architecture in the School of Planning and Architecture. The film was directed by her the-then husband, Pradip Krishen.
It is not a coming-of-age film but portrays a group life of architects and their projects in their final year of college in the 70s, hanging on a critical time under the concluded judgment of ‘Fail’ or ‘Pass’ from the judges of fate, when one young man dreams the impossible while his academic career suffers low. It shows a teacher-student relation and their complicated personal and architectural understanding.
Student bullies are no new surprise as well as funny moments between the roommates. I like the way most of the students have been distinguished in their manners and traits. Among the enrolled students is a foreigner from Uganda who makes noises when he dreams and his mates make fun that he dreams Idi Amin who killed his father. Then there is a granny girl with a pair of two ponytail who is very traditional and staid in nature and there is one who is keen on playing table-tennis. Then few are love birds which carry joint boiling hearts who have to think twice for smooching (Yes there are few kissing scenes).
Among all the students, it is the story of student Annie mostly focused on who daydreams a project to plant fruit trees on either side of railway tracks, where rural India defecates daily. Also, he sells eggs from the two hen he keeps in the room to earn sum. He is a repeated failure in the institute and in relation with Bijli, a cabaret dancer.
Roy herself plays the supporting role in the film as Radha who is a nonconformist student and lives with her boyfriend, Arjun. By her screenplay, she has described a rich amount of civil and institutional confrontations like a disagreement between her and the teacher on architectural thesis and the teacher rejecting many creative art models prepared by the students and closing their subconscious dreams. Also, her presentation in the final interview to the panel of judges is also very interesting one.
There is an urban and liberal wave in the whole film with a lot of western influence which was quite innovative in those days but the story based on a Delhi institute of 1974, it shows the students in those days used to accept free speech , open and liberal views. Quite a movement ran by the hippies in the 60s had changed much of the value of thinking and living which can be seen in the film, say a shed of light. More proof to common opinion in my theory is the students were listening and singing The Beatles.
The whole film is mostly restricted to the rooms of the hostel and the classroom keeping it to the subject but what the most impressive aspect of the film is its heavy detailing. The direction reminds me my recent observation on directional works of François Truffaut who was a keen observer of the details related to the subject he shot. The classroom environment was lively and rigid, very true to reality like one particular ‘disturbed’ student coming late to the class, the students being juvenile and making awful sounds during the lecture, teacher smoking in front of students (quite rare in the films based on institute life) etc.
Room-renting is another interesting part in student’s social life and the director makes a good impression in displaying a heavily occupied small room where the projects are done, where the books become a pressure cooker, where a friend is helped to co-study with them and bring their girlfriends. If a viewer has a close look in the film, he/she will find very interesting graffiti everywhere (I like the graffiti of the toilet scenes). Then we have a couple of scenes of fantasy picking on Radha by street perverts and cheapskates.
The film is very poetic with the understanding that these students are the bright sunshine in the process of development and would like to theorize the word ‘Change’ and make their world a better place to live but the headmaster of the institute and all government appointees act as a hindrance. Seth’s principal character Y.D. Billimoria is named Yamdoot by these students. Yamdoot is Yama, an angel of death in Hindu mythology and even his character isn’t severely evil at all but sitting in the top chair and victimizing Annie for making fun of him despite begging/requesting numerous apologies makes him the culprit.
Half a year is done and I forget to write a blog on my picks from different categories of Bollywood films. I did this last year for 2014 edition. I hope I am not that late as time pass swiftly nowadays.
Like every passing year, Bollywood’s growth increases worldwide but the quality and standard of the film decreases. Recognition nowadays among the actors is star-power and among the leading actresses is the one with useful skin-shows. Above all you insured to be more successful in this industry if you have a strong background and belong to rich people who are industrialists, politicians, businessmen, military or in same cinematic profession. The unlucky ones have to join parallel cinema with more brain and wisdom among the cast and filmmakers.
In recent years, there has been change in atmosphere as the artists of parallel and entertaining cinema are involved in same projects and work together. Some sensible writers and talented directors work with involvement of more production companies. Some of the films from last year have been highly impressive and these were those which were not eye-catching in box-office collections.
What disgust me was pathetic inclusions in nominations for different categories in their recognized FILMFARE awards. Tragedy is that the functions are not worth and are more focused on high-level tcp ratings. If you notice, many many big names of the industry are absent and are disappearing in years. People have lost interest in FILMFARE because the functions are bias and predictable. Awards nowadays are won not by right and deserving candidates. Forget about winning, when the nominations are announced the viewers go insane because of plenty of blunders.
From below the categories, I will try to speak some lines where I see FILMFARE at huge fault. Like last year’s blog, I will divide the categories in three sections i.e., Music, Technical and Major. My selections are purely my honest selections to what I believe was deserving. Some of the categories do not need details because it is unnecessary. With the name of winners from each category, I will mention other names who deserve to be the other bests. So here I go;
Imagine a boy from extremely poor background, whose ancestors have history of working in profession of burning corpse and a girl from upper caste begin loving each other. And one day, after exchange of a lovely relationship for weeks, he happen to see her dead body in his working site brought to burn the corpse! We don’t see such tragic moments in young love stories like this. It was an intimate scene and full of intensity. There come this scene and the obvious case is more grieving. Vicky Kaushal‘s presentation of agony is unexplainable here. I could not find a HQ video of the scene. I have no doubt this is the best scene shot in any film of the year.
Konkona don’t need any introduction. Open her filmography and you will find dozens of impressive roles she has played in her acting career. Talvar is another addition in her CV. She along with Neeraj Kabi displayed one of the best supporting performances in recent years and guess what, she wasn’t even nominated in Filmfare for this category.
The year 2015 was remarkably a year for best male performances in supporting roles. Title was a trinity of performances between three brothers. Anil Kapoor developed his skills playing role of angry father in Dil Dhadakne Do. Neeraj Kabi brought all his theater experience in Detective Byomkesh Bakshy and Talvar. Vicky Kaushal turned out to be one of the most promising newcomers in Masaan. Karan Johar was the surprise package in Bombay Velvet and Ashraful Haque did superb job as Manjhi’s father in his final film.
But above all it is the actor in his heydays who is building a very strong career making his name in almost every film. Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Badlapur is someone you would like to hit and slap as much as hard you want. He gives a lot of energy to his villainous role and don’t even feel bad for the guy who lost his family. His character has shades and changes color like chameleon. He and Varun, the two leading actors of the film are two sides of the coin begging for mercy.
It wasn’t a year of extraordinary performance by the leading actresses. Then Richa Chadda happened. She is Devi Pathak in Masaan who was caught with him by the police in the hotel for obvious reason. Then her struggles begin to make a life of herself by switching jobs but cannot afford a payment of hefty bribe the policemen ask her and her father for the video they made in hotel. It was tough to decide the winner but then I decided that Deepika for Piku was the closest and second-best to her.
How rude and disgusting that such performance wasn’t appreciated enough to be nominated in Filmfare for the same category. More to a mockery, Kajol and Sonam Kapoor were gifted places in the category for Dilwale and Dolly Ki Doli whose performances were no where in comparison to this.
Other Notable Performances: Besides Deepika Padukone for Piku, Anushka Sharma did a terrific job in Bombay Velvet as Rosie the Jazz singer. She performed impressive facial expressions in numbers like Fifi and Dhadaam Dhadaam. Then there is Bhumi Pednekar (Dum Laga Ke Haisha) who gained 30kg for the role of an overweight wife and made a stunning debut, was also ignored by Filmfare in the category. And why should I not count lil’ Harshaali Malhotra! 8-year-old child actress made promising debut as Munni in Bajrangi Bhaijaan and was the only shining moment in the whole ridiculously garbage film. At this tiny age, she showed a character and discipline of emotions on a dolly face.
It will be a sin to overlook such astonishing performance. It will be a mockery to consider it only one of the best performances. His star is shining brightly in recent years but this performance need an author to release a book full of praise. I hardly have seen actors reaching closest to the perfection like J.K.Simmons in Whiplash or DiCaprio in The Revenant worldwide but in India, it is hard to bring that so much in the artistry to present a character what Nawaz did in portraying Dashrath Manjhi.
Nawazuddin’s title role of Manjhi is full of life. You want a father or a husband, you want a man of his principles or determination, you want an example of sacrifice and hardship and last but not the least you want to see a man who broke the mountain to honor his wife he loved the most in entire life – there you have all superbly defined.
When it comes to emotions, this actor has no boundaries to express. A facial performance is very vital in acting and keen learners of theater always win the performances. He easily is the best actor for last year.
In three words – Shandaar! Zabardast! Zindabad!
Some readers may get confused of not picking Manoj Bajpayee for Aligarh. Let me clear, the reason I omitted is because the film is released in India this year in February. The closest to this competitor was hugely/heavily ignored Shashank Arora for Titli.
Omission of Nawaz for Manjhi from the last Filmfare Awards easily is one of the most shocking blunders in their history. How disgusting and utter disappointing is to see the genuine winner not included in the nominations but Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan for Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Dilwale respectively! This shows the standard of Filmfare nowadays and ridiculous selections by the judges of these panels.
Yes he is and I am not surprised. A silent and dark tale of two characters hanging on different corners eagerly waiting to leave a mark on each other. It is about making an extraordinary film from an ordinary script. We have watched films when the leading actor loses the one he loves and plans to take revenge. Same goes here but with same story, it easily distinguishes from other films of the past thanks to Sriram’s directional artistry.
What propels you is the building of intensity on Raghu (Varun Dhawan) when he loses his wife and child in very first scene. The rage factor of Raghu is where he work out, the way he beat or hit few characters by hammer is violent and loud to your ears. With time much to offer, Sriram builds the leading character very well. He is excellent on bringing the best of the leading performer as he did with Urmila in ‘Ek Haseena Thi‘ and Neil Nitin Mukesh in ‘Johnny Gaddaar‘.
Other Notable Performances: The closest competitor to Sriram is Shoojit Sircar for Piku. Meghna Gulzar for Talvar was surprise package. I found Anurag Kashyup‘s direction for Bombay Velvet very very impressive as the film was hugely rejected by the viewers. Neeraj Ghaywan was also fantastic keeping a balance between two different stories in Masaan.
Piku (Deepika) plans a trip to Kolkata with her dad (Amitabh) but none of Rana’s (Irrfan) cab drivers are available. So Rana decides to serve them and the real fun begins. This is a freshly-baked comedy-drama film with mehfil-loot performances by main actors. Father-daughter chemistry is terrific and the characters development is right on spot.
Piku is a beautiful slice of life or your favorite cup of coffee, a mind freshener giving your energy an extra-boost because the flow of the film builds on you. A combination of brilliant story, screenplay and dialogues make this very-original film exciting for the viewers and can be repeatedly watched.
Other Notable Films: Masaan, Talvar, Titli, Manjhi, Bombay Velvet, Hunterrr, Drishyam and Badlapur.
This part will touch some more important issues and aspects related to the film Batman v Superman (BatSup). Before I begin, I must remind the readers here that this blog is continuity to the previous blog. So the first timers of the ultimate case here should first read the previous part here.
1) COLLAPSE OF WAYNE BUILDING
Although it was General Zod‘s wrath on Metropolis as Mr. False God tried to avoid as many casualties as he can but it was too late and severe was the collateral damage. One of the damages perforated the owner and made his mind to save the entire human race from the culprit even if there was a 1% chance. The visual presentation of the collapse was intense and powerful. And the collapse was where the rivalry came to birth. Scenes after the collapse will remind the comic readers the story-lines, Batman: Cataclysm and Batman: Aftershock.
2) GRANNY’S PEACH TEA
No matter how bad was Shah Rukh as Lex Luthor, he did a cruel favor to Senator Finch and viewers by teaching a very expensive lesson. The court hearings abruptly paused by the scared Senator when she witnessed the jar. To the standards of a deceiving villain, this was unpredictably more than a cruel punishment. Luthor played an astonishing strategy behind the scenes and successfully manipulated much of the outsiders of court to gash more hatred towards a False God.
3) BRUCE WAYNE’S WORKOUT
The Batman of 40s cannot offer you much of the 127 styles of martial arts he learnt in young age in his prime fighting career but he performed impressive workouts which was highly necessary to present.
4) THE GLADIATOR MATCH
This was the match written in the clouds. As Lex played the role of Michael Buffer by announcing and adding more spice by billing the fight as God versus Man, Day versus Night, Son of Krypton versus Bat of Gotham, this created more intensity. Result? I found a much heavenly comfort to see the fight between the iconic heroes and that turned out to be jubilant. The fight surpassed my expectations. This is exactly what we all needed. Plus the glimpse of fight is somewhere similar to the writings of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. One cannot ask for a better fight between God and man than this.
5) ARRIVAL OF WONDER WOMAN
As much as Lex proved an overacting jester to me, his creation shattered the level of curiosity to know him. Doomsday was Lex’s answer to destroy the MOS. The battle was deadly but it was more like a hard struggle of lowering down the sound knob of stereo system when it is the loudest when you are very far and your parents are about to enter home.
Anyhow the battle met its peak at the sudden arrival of Wonder Woman who as Diana Prince was walking hither and thither before. I would say the flow of that battle action sequence was so deep to me that I couldn’t realize that the one who saved poor Batman’s ass from Doom-Doom wouldn’t be the recharge Superman on the space but her. Wonder Woman theme was very impressive but the intro of WW was far better than the other two heroes in the film.
WHY BATSUP DIDN’T COME UP TO THE EXPECTATION?
Not many have noticed and tried to analyze as what exactly made the response of general public so negative. What deceived them? Why did the film with so many promises become unacceptable? In my view, the first reason was the funny guy in the red suit. Deadpool was released a month prior to BatSup. Being r-rated, Deadpool wasn’t a huge threat to the film’s business as Captain America: Civil War which was released after it. But Deadpool the superhero and Deadpool the film met an unexpected universal appraisal.
Contrary to philosophy and filmmaking of DCs, Deadpool was a highly entertaining popcorn grabbing comedy film which won heart of all age of viewers turning the tables wrong on the producers of BatSup who were prepared to show a very dark humorless presentation of the film a month later. Being the highest grossing r-rated film, such success built uninsured change in emotions among the viewers in tatters as the overjoyed viewers of Deadpool fell in their graves in the theaters to find the film awful. Naturally it was like watching any Terrence Malick film after any of Frat Pack films.
2) UNDERSTANDING A UNIVERSE DIFFERENT THAN MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE
Being a DC Comics lover, I have a lot of respect for Marvel comics as both the giant comics publishing companies created the most loving superheroes in the golden age for generations. But what hurts me is such a powerful cinematic universe of Marvel are more inclined towards box office collections than the character development of their superheroes. Filmmakers in MCU produce popcorn grabbing circus films where the focus is on winning hearts of the viewers by entertaining them. The producers are more focused on eating peanuts in circus rather than reading to us Marvel’s best comics stories. They make their superheroes jesters in the court. We see superheroes performing slapstick, acting silly and speaking one-liners. Films like Iron Man 3, Ant-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy and Age of Ultron were all funny films. Recently released Captain America: Civil War made a mockery of all involved major superheroes fighting in airport and joking/apologizing while punching each other.
As Marvel Studios were the first among the comics publishing companies to create a cinematic universe with the help of Walt Disney Studios, it became acceptable for viewers to recognize the films based on Marvel superheroes as the true comics cinematic industry. There was no competition in years as WB were focused on Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight Trilogy. When The Dark Knight Rises was released, MCU were concluding their first phase. This year with the release of BatSup, MCU have entered in their 3rd phase.
Many of the DC superheroes are not that universally recognized as Batman and Superman. Even the third hero of trinity who is Wonder Woman never got a single film before this in 75 years, so is the case with other heroes. So for the viewers, it will take time to understand the existence and culture of this universe and its heroes, and their powers and villains. It is pretty hard to expect their heroes to be as funny and perform slapstick as heroes existing in Marvel universe.
3) IMPROPER CONSTRUCTION OF DCEU
After announcing the birth of their cinematic universe rival to MCU, the biggest challenge for the big bosses of DC/WB was to create a distinguished, recognized but an acceptable universe. WB lacks no finance to fund the DC films but it was all about the best brain creating a perfect theory before forwarding a proposal. For me the outcome was very strange and questionable.
In Oct.2014, when WB announced 10 DC films to be produced and released between 2016 and 2020, it was a massive disappointment to see every JL superhero gifted a solo film but not Batman! (Superman had his MOS before all this)
Besides that, film for Green Lantern, being such a beloved superhero among the comic readers was adjusted last which gave a hint that he will be introduced to us pretty late. Shazam indeed is a potential name but wasn’t DC’s original property in first place. Shazam character was created under Fawcett Comics and ran the issues until the company shut down. In 1972, DC publisher licensed Shazam from Fawcett and revived.
Two JL films were slated in different future timelines, the first part being the fourth in line to release even before solo films on Aquaman, Flash and Cyborg with no proper introductions which brought more confusions to understand their strategy towards assembling a team of heroes so early and so undefined with underdeveloped characters.
The reason why the story of BatSup to the viewers in theater fell so incoherent was the very reason described in previous paragraph that for assembling a team in so near future, they made the film look overstuffed.
4) BRINGING TWO ICONIC HEROES FACE-OFF TOO EARLY
Indeed historic announcement of bringing BatSup together at San Diego comic-con three years ago was crazy which made the attendees and viewers lose their mind in excitement. But some brains surely began thinking as what made them brought none other than Batman in to Superman’s world? Was that their only key to challenge or announce a new universe rival to them?
Bringing Batman meant connecting two different worlds in same film with more than one story. With recent conclusion of Nolan’s trilogy, reintroducing Batman in mere four years was too early. Producers needed some more breathing to watch a new Batman. Nolan’s and Zack’s Batman were very different, could have been better if he had been given his own standalone film first and later introduced him to MOS.
5) RELEASED PG-13 THEATRICAL CUT
This was the major reason why the film received negative reviews by critics and general public. A 150-minute film released in March worldwide offered us a confused broken story-line making every viewer Sherlock to magnify and puzzle the broken pieces himself/herself. The editor who chose to cut no less than 30 minutes lacerated very very critical and defining moments of the film due to the fact, the critics and general public turned clueless and gave up.
Had the producers decided to release the 182-minute original cut in first place, the critics would have penned positive reviews and would also have made the percentage bar rise above in Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes. The general viewers would accept and the box office collections would definitely hit a billion-dollar mark. Like I said before, I waited months and watched the original cut at first place, and I admit that this version meticulously made more sense than the released one, defined the core characters more broad and created a more cohesive transition.
ADDITIONAL FOOTAGES IN ULTIMATE EDITION
Like I wrote above that many of the important scenes were badly cut from the released version. Let me notify you the deleted scenes proving the laziness of WB for forwarding the film without pointing or realizing what a terrible mistake that was;
1) Jimmy Olsen wasn’t introduced in the beginning.
2) Superman wasn’t shown helping the rescuers pulling out dead bodies after the blast in court which after that he flew in disdain and left the scene with the witnesses sharing negative responses.
3) The very next scene, Lex Luthor rushed to LexCorp only to spot a damaged glass-box with no kryptonite. It never showed the viewers that Lex Luthor had seen the footage from one of the CCTV cameras that Batman entered the LexCorp office and grabbed the element. Had they shown this scene in released version, would make sense for viewers how in the world the Caped Crusader got the Kryptonite.
4) Both scenes featuring Jenna Malone was cut from the released version which made the viewers pay a very heavy price of dislikeness. Malone played the scientist at S.T.A.R. Labs, Jenet Klyburn, who has a couple of scenes in the film of sheer prominence. UE version clears that she is the one to whom Louis Lane hand over the bullet for scanning which was shot and found in Africa.
In the other scene after the blast in court, it is again she who confirms that the same bullet and Wallace Keefe‘s wheelchair were made from the same metal and the inside of wheelchair was lined with lead. And we know Superman’s weakness that he can detect any solid object but not lead. Without this confirmation in released version, viewers would have raised the question how come Superman didn’t detect a bomb in the court.
5) The most important cut from the released version easily was the moment before the arrest of Lex Luthor which shows the upcoming JL villain Steppenwolf. His cameo before the arrest of Lex Luthor in UE was a very critical bombshell on the viewers after watching the whole film. WB will regret cutting this scene from the released version. An angry departure of his hologram existence after communicating with Lex Luthor raised questions. Was Lex aware of Steppenwolf’s existence even before he planned to take on Superman? Was Lex already in talks with him? Was creation of Doomsday idea of Lex or his?and many more. But in any case, his short appearance in ultimate edition made some sense of properly introducing the commander of parademons. The announcement of his being main villain was unnecessary if they had included this vital scene in released version.
HOW DC EXTENDED UNIVERSE SHOULD HAVE BEEN CREATED AND PRESENTED?
Ok I know the existing universe will run as planned whatever the case is but I have every right to forward my idea of a better and acceptable universe than this. Because in first place, I disagree with the decided structure of this running cinematic universe due to the reasons I explained above in Improper Construction of DCEU.
I need no urgency or haste to play cat and mouse game in order to come close to Marvel and their universe. If WB would hand me this responsibility, I would prefer presenting origin stories of iconic heroes over a gladiator match and assembling of JL at the speed of light. My creation of universe will have phases (say Phase I, II, III and so on). For a better foundation, my pillars in Phase-I should be strong enough to hold the next phases.
My Phase-I will have 8 films, seven of these will be origins-based solo films for each original member of the JL. Those members are Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman and Martian Manhunter. The reason of strictly picking these seven heroes for Phase-I is because when the first ever Justice League was assembled as JL or Justice League of America (JLA), the above-mentioned superheroes were assembled to appear in The Brave and the Bold (issue#28) back in 1960 conceived by writer Gardner Fox. With seven origins-based solo films, my eight and final Phase-I film will be a proper JL film where all the seven above-mentioned heroes will unite to fight against one of the main allies of Darkseid.
With 81% record drop in box office collections in second week, WB was hit by a meteorite with the most harsh responses and many of the viewers complained the film to be humorless. For the sake of excellent collections from future DC films, the producers are compromised to add humor in a dark universe and fulfill their demands, so that their eyes would meet a glimpse of a colorful circus show like the shows which are produced by Marvel studios. This is like a gunfire on an old pedestrian walking in a narrow street.
Some sources say that many scenes of upcoming Suicide Squad are re-shot for adding humor. Zack Snyder also has cleared that upcoming JL film will have a lighter tone than BatSup film. My expectations can raise the bar only if the upcoming films offer me potential stories and strong connectivity with storyline of other films keeping a balance between humor and dark. A serious story like BatSup cannot offer you humor but may entertain you once you understand the characters and their worlds.
For me, my major concern in future DC films is seducing me with dynamic presentation of stories where the directors properly focus on hero’s character development and nurture him/her with the flow. No matter the film is dark or funny, the director should use the influences and creativity of great comic writers and apply in their story, the winner must be the true portrayal of superhero and the audience should provide a positive response.
Roping and involving Geoff Johns and Ben Affleck for upcoming JL and Batman standalone films is a brilliant decision from WB. A creative team of comic-book consultants should be established under Johns who would have authority to raise their voice over the scripts and screenplays.
BatSup case is a mature affair with super-excellent work on screenplay and action sequences. The characters, Alfred and Lex Luthor, offer you to listen the best and powerful dialogues whereas performance-wise Ben Affleck as Batman is the true winner and his portrayal will remind you numerous Bruce Waynes from comic books. Laurence Fishburne as Perry White and Amy Adams as Lois Lane play tremendous supporting roles.
Henry Cavill as Superman is a dignified figure but not signified. He has been impressive but after finishing two superhero movies, I am still waiting for some signature mark on the character. He is yet to remind me Superman from the comic books as Christopher Reeve defined him in his time.
No wonder how many great actors have played the role of Alfred Pennyworth but none of them remind me the character I read in the comics. Not only the films, neither Alfred of Gotham TV show nor the one in the game Arkham Knight reminded me. Hans Zimmer (in his final superhero film) and Junkie XL produced very impressive scores. Zack’s favorite cinematographer Larry Fong has done terrific cinematography like previous Zack films.
I would like to humbly request all of you who have read such a lengthy review or to which I call an Ultimate Case, to kindly avoid/ignore the released version and consider it as a bad dream but give a favor to yourself and watch the Ultimate Edition. May the future DC films does Justice, Amen.
My excitement towards the film began three years ago after release of Man Of Steel (MOS) when to a very huge surprise for comics readers, it was announced in San Diego Comic Con 2013 that two of the most iconic superheroes, Batman and Superman, will feature in same frame for the first time in cinematic format. The hint and hope of bringing Batman in Superman’s world was humming when Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer forwarded the idea to the Warner Bros. (WB) studio to bring back a Superman film. Both gentlemen were involved in The Dark Knight Trilogy as franchise’s director and writer respectively.
I will turn my head towards the proposed and finalized slate for DC Universe later. First thing first. The film was easily one of the most awaiting films of this year. Keeping in mind the decades-long rivalry among comics readers of two of the most recognized publishing companies, DC comics and Marvel comics, it was a huge test for WB to surpass all the expectations and make the new fictional comics universe look promising. Sadly the film couldn’t live up to the expectations and after a record collection on box office worldwide in first week, it suffered more than 80% drop in 2nd week resulting into failing to reach the rank of distinguished films of the elite three commas club.
Luckily I planned not to watch until the high-definition quality show up. Before the release, most of the critics unexpectedly passed extremely negative reviews. Then viewers heavily criticized the film for being too dark, humorless, lengthy, boring and many more. My honest believe was either the trailers of BatSup I watched were the most beautiful deception or the film’s message didn’t convey properly. When the news break out that the director’s cut will be releasing soon with additional footage of half an hour, then I made my mind to watch the ultimate edition straightly instead of the released version.
After watching directly an ultimate edition which was a three-hour film, I was at ease to say that it was much a defined film with many loose plot holes cleared. BatSup was pretty a mature affair on a well established script connecting with future DC films. The viewers must understand that as per the future plans of DC films shared universe, three aspects were taken into consideration while the film was shot;
1) Continuity from events of MOS
2) Batman taking on Superman after Metropolis attack
3) Foundation of Justice League (JL) by connecting the story with future DC Films
In all three cases, the running time of film was supposed to stretch at length so that it may offer you insiders for the coming busy years of the shared universe. At the same time, I feel sorry for viewers that they had to watch a released version of what looked like an incomplete film. My brothers pointed me the scenes which were cut from the released version which made me realize what a terrible mistake the producers made.
WHAT WENT WRONG???
1) UNIMPRESSIVE START
The film began with quite a traditional curtain openers presenting the name of film with cast and the rest which now often do not happen in big films. Plus beginning the film with Bruce Wayne’s origins was a bogus idea. Director Zack Snyder should have saved this moment exactly after that gladiator match when Superman speaks the name “Martha”. The film should have begun as depicted in the second scene that Bruce arrives Metropolis and struggles to rescue.
Also I have sympathies for Bruce whose parents come to the screen to get killed whenever they show up. His parents have more than that to offer in few Batman story-lines in comic books. Any of his parents’ moments with Bruce can be utilized in film and replace the scene with their murders because it has been repeated so many times that viewers are bored now.
2) CASTING SHAH RUKH KHAN AS LEX LUTHOR
Among all the performances, the character which majorly disappointed me was Lex Luthor Jr., the role performed by Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan. Could have been better if Jesse Eisenberg really have played the role as was planned. There was just too much overacting and Joker-esque phenomena which visually do not come up to villainthrophy. I tried my level best to take the character serious as his given dialogues were so powerful and because he IS the main villain and the creator of Doomsday. But I guess Zack misunderstood the character and made it look crazy and annoying.
3) BATMAN – THE PUNISHER
Ben Affleck’ version of Batman, the suit, the batmobile, the batplane, the weapons.. every single thing was very very well up to the mark besides one thing which I found not of his combating nature anymore, KILLING!!! That is some bitter truth that Batman used to kill his enemies in the earliest comics and you won’t believe but in brutal ways. I remember he once flew batplane with a monster whose neck was hanging by the rope and threw it in flight when it died. Well later on Batman decided to follow no-killing rule on which he is persistent for long long time. There have been moments in comics when Batman could have lost his patience and killed someone. In Batman: Under The Hood story arc, when Jason Todd demanded to Batman to kill the Joker after the tragic event in Batman: A Death in the Family, this was the most emotional moment he could have changed his mind but he chose not to kill the Joker.
If intensity has raised such a bar to test Batman’s patience and made him stick with no-killing rule, I see no reason of killing 32 bad people in the film whatever the situation is. Killing is simply not his cup of tea.
4) “MARTHA” & INSTANT BESTIES
I don’t have any idea whether Zack left the director’s chair and asked some amateur guy to conclude that epic fight or did he eeny meeny any of his alternative ideas of concluding the fight because this was the most ridiculous and embarrassing conclusion. This was not written on the clouds nor should Zack fool every viewer to make a fight turning into some B-grade parody.
Sup calling his adopted mother’s name to avoid killing from Bat Wayne was total nonsense. In few seconds, Bruce converted his enmity to friendship and even promised him that he won’t let his mother die, and later when Bat saved his mother, he gave a one-liner “I am a friend of your son’s” ffs!!!! This doesn’t make any logic!! This vacuous nonsense killed the viewer’s tempo and seriousness turned into laughing-stock. Director would have concluded this fight by more than hundred ways but not this.
5) UNNECESSARY EXPOSURE IN MARKETING
Reaching to the hype the producers created by the announcement of the film, many theories and rumors developed on the internet about the possible plotlines. Some theories later turned true as it happens with many films. But quite an excitement hit a low with over exposures. As Lex’s creation was much in discussions, they dropped the bomb in their second trailer by exposing the Doomsday as his very creation. I had no issue in his revelation but the trailer had exposed too much the origin of its character.
The second blow was in the beginning of this year when Empire Magazine gave a huge spoiler of Omega symbol. That opened further doors for completing the puzzle, with same picture introduced in final trailer. Showing Parademons in trailers was also very unnecessary. The plotline became too predictable after that.
6) KILLING JIMMY OLSEN
For God sake why? Why in the world did you kill such a prominent character who is Superman’s best friend in comics? Character of Jimmy Olsen should have been utilized for a lot of supporting role between Daily Planet and Superman. His portrayal of a CIA operative was taken from Mark Millar‘s Superman: Red Son, the other comic book story-line than The Dark Knight Returns the story of the film is inspired from. Killing of Olsen in this universe is a huge loss.
1) COMICS REFERENCES & IMPORTANT CLUES
The most impressive aspect of the film was its tribute to few comic books. Many of the scenes, many many scenes were referred from comic book issues and this is exactly what should be done in all comics-based films.
The Dark Knight Returns:
> Murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents was exact from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. Even the killer’s gun caught under Martha’s string of pearls was accurate. Another peak of accuracy was the timeline of tragedy in the film set in 1981 which naturally made two important things look realistic. One was that Young Bruce in the flashback was seven (Alfred confirmed us at the White Portuguese ship scene) making him born between 1974-75 which makes him in forties today, exactly as Bruce Wayne is presented. Second is the marquee of Excalibur in the flashback, keeping in mind the famous British film with the same title was released in the same year. Well done Zack!
> Two cops checking some abandoned building near Gotham Seaport encountered the Caped Crusader and exchanged similar conversation as in the book.
> Superman affected by the nuclear blast and recharging was also taken from the same book.
> Batman bursting the wall to grab a bad guy and exchange of words were almost similar from the same book. The main difference was in comics he was saved a girl and in film, he saved hmm can I call her name Bruce?
> The scene with lightning in the background after Batman saves his ass from Doomsday was homage to one of the most important comic covers.
> In the last scene after Lois dropped handful of dirt on Superman’s coffin, it later floated or shall I say levitated will remind you the conclusion of the book with a different superhero.
> Don’t know if I am accurate here but I believe Lex’s insane repeat of “Ding, Ding, Ding” was the sound of Mother Box‘s “Ping, Ping, Ping” depicted in various comic issues.
> Ralph Lister played the role of Dr. Emmett Vale who brought the hunk of Kryptonite found in the Indian Ocean to the lab of LexCorp. Dr. Emmett Vale is the creator of Metallo, the Kryptonite-hearted cyborg and also one of Superman’s dangerous villains.
> Robin’s damaged suit in Batcave was a well-known tragic event of brutal killing of second Robin i.e., Jason Todd. Joker killed him in A Death In The Family.
> When Doomsday fell back to Metropolis after nuke, he was dropped to uninhabited site called Stryker’s Island. This is a prison in Metropolis holding Superman’s most dangerous foes in comics. This place holds same importance to MOS as Arkham Asylum to the Caped Crusader.
> This film will be remembered for ages for two most important reasons. The biggest obvious reason was bringing two iconic heroes together for the first time in a cinematic venture. The second was offering us viewers a cinematic look at DC Comics’ most unthinkable and unforgettable comic-books event, Doomsday and Superman killing each other. The event took place in story-line The Death of Superman when both titans ultimately punched each other, collapsed and died. Almost similar event occurred in the film when both the titans killed each other and collapsed at the same moment.
> In Superman’s funeral, his coffin is black with silver ‘S’ reminding the return of Superman when he wore black suit with silver ‘S’ on it.
> Superb Easter egg or shall I say a very unexpected bombshell!!! While the funeral of Superman was carried out, 5 military planes flew in the air to honor the deceased God. But one of the planes after few seconds flew straight up. That may be Dan Amboyer who in IMDb is listed as uncredited ‘Drone Pilot’. This scene gave a major hint that it could be none other than Amboyer with the role of pilot i.e., Hal Jordan a.k.a. Green Lantern, who paid the tribute and left the site.
2) LOIS LANE’s CHARACTER PROMINENCE
That one supporting character which impressed me a lot was Amy Adam‘s Lois Lane. Zack gave her a shot more critical than her role in MOS. She was the one who washed the bad image or say ‘False God’ image of Superman, she was the one who found LexCorp corrupted. She got a lot of space to settle a case of corruption behind the curtains between Batman and Superman.
3) 9/11 AND US POLITICS
This was the original script presenting a plot somehow bringing the iconic heroes together but more than that there was a more human part involving politics and conspiracy theories. The collapse of Wayne Financial gave me a feeling of 9-11 event when twin towers collapsed. Theology and science compromised on Metropolis attack as the defense and security measures became a question mark.
Also when the film headed towards Africa where Lois Lane deal with the commander of Tuareg fighters, it offered to watch more involvement of US govt. African scenes brought a glimpse of insider of American invasion of Mali few years ago if I am not wrong!
The Godly figure i.e., Superman became a confused figure to whether classify him a good God or a bad God. Senate hearings and further attacks pushed towards more of viewers assumptions. I like the angle where the Metropolis attacks became a much concern of somehow bringing the saviors at one platform in future.
4) FUTURE DC FILMS’ CONNECTIONS
Keeping in mind the BatSup film is foundation for future DC films, I would like to appreciate the director in connecting the story somehow with interesting shots. Zack had confirmed before the release that future films on other superheroes won’t be origin films, so he presented some glimpse of interesting events happening in other parts of universe mostly from JL film.
Batman has dreamed bad in comics and he dreamed twice in film. In first dream, he visited graves of his parents and noticed blood seeping out from Martha’s. The grave broke and out came a colony of bats. Then appeared a human looking bat. That could possibly be Dr. Kirk Langstorm a.k.a. Man-Bat which gave us a hint that the villain may possibly feature in future (could be in Batman standalone film). Those who have played Arkham Knight would know the villain.
In another dream, Barry Allen appeared from a questionable timeline to warn Bruce about a possible threat from Superman and confirmed how correct he was. He specifically spoke about Lois and said “She is the key”. This scene is very possibly creating a bridge with the JL film to be released in Nov.2017.
Another important scene connecting JL film was Batman visiting post-apokoliptic world. Batman witnessed Omega symbol on the ground which confirmed the existence of Darkseid and obvious involvement in future DC films. The flying creatures in that action sequence were Parademons which in comics are troops of planet Apokolips ruled by Darkseid. So fingers crossed on the precise location of this scene. We will come to know about this location in future whether Batman stepped in Apokolips or some land occupied by Darkseid and his troops. Now that Steppenwolf is confirmed the main villain of JL film, so there is possibility to see Darkseid very soon because he is Darkseid’s uncle.
Stone father & son had an interesting cameo. Father Silas Stone used Mother Box to repair critical injuries and replaced lost body parts with mechanical limbs to his son Victor Stone a.k.a. Cyborg. Mother Box in comics is a portable supercomputer which posses powers and abilities. Now that the sources confirm that the major story dropping in JL film is Steppenwolf searching three Mother Boxes, which are located in Atlantis (Aquaman), Themyscira (Wonder Woman) and Earth. So the earth part is Cyborg’s for our understanding.
WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ADDED???
1) THE JOKER KILLING JASON TODD
Where ultimate edition cleared a lot of misunderstandings and plot holes from the released version, they missed a very important scene to add which was the fate of Batman’s counterpart Jason Todd a.k.a. Robin. In Batman: A Death In The Family, The Joker killed Jason Todd which is one of the DC Comics’ most important events. The Joker played by Jared Leto will feature in Suicide Squad but would have been more than a favor to add the tragic event exactly when Bruce looked at the damaged suit. A couple of minutes on the tragic flashback was easily replaceable to uninspired story-telling daddy Kent scene which was easily the most useless scene of the film. Now the tragic event is expected to hit the screen in Suicide Squad beginning a new cinematic phase of Batman-Joker historic rivalry.
2) GOTHAM CHARACTERS
As much as the viewers and journalists have called the film ‘overstuffed’ as well as the actor who played Alfred, Jeremy Irons, I would still pass a mark of appreciation towards the director in keeping some balance among the characters and story-lines connected with future DC films sharing the same universe.
In the meantime, I still believe that Gotham city didn’t get that exposure which was required in such a lengthy screen time. Alfred was the only recognized Gotham character supporting Bruce in the whole film as his parents were as usual killed again in couple of minutes. Lucius Fox is a potential character which the scriptwriters badly missed. With such remarkable work on Bat machines, Fox deserved to appear for couple of scenes. Also any member of the Gordon family should have been introduced.
(((Here I conclude the first part of my ultimate case towards the Dawn of Justice. The next and final part will be published very soon.)))