Voices: Akshay Kumar, Dimple Kapadia, Lara Dutta
Direction: Kompin Kemgumnird
Thunder Thais are here. Toddle over to a rub-a-dub-dubbed version, then, of Khan Kluay also titled The Blue Elephant. And now it’s called Jumbo, no relative of Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo though. So?
Not much actually, except for the baffling association of Akshay Kumar with just another passable (it’s the season to be polite) animation feature logging up to 80 minutes. Mr Kumar has been smiling with the eponymous Haathiji all over the hoardings and posters, he’s been in the promos and he has lent his voice to the pachyderm. Squirm.
Mr Kumar, today, at the pinnacle of form in rough-and-tumble-funny Singh is Kinng-style entertainers, still doesn’t exactly floor you with his voice. It’s serviceable, earnestly expressive, well intentioned (etc) but not exactly ear candy. Not surprisingly, Rajpal Yadav’s chirpy-cheep-cheep voice-over turns out to be the most ticklish aspect of this Bangkokotoon.
Forget comparisons with the Disney classics Bambi or Fantasia, or the more recent Finding Nemo and Madagascars. With round-the-clock exposure to the best animation in the world, you doubt even if pre-tweens will be enthralled by the caricatured animal life and the flat palette colours. Although the draftsmanship is as cute as a baby’s lisp, is that enough in an era when computer graphics can throw up a cloudburst of unimaginable visuals?
Now since this isn’t a report on the strides in global cartooning, just cut to Jumbo (Mr Kumar) who’s fatherless and sets off to look for Papa Warrior, only to become a four-legged warmonger himself. In the process, some poignant moments are shared with Mom (Dimple Kapadia, now that’s a voice) and romance is kindled with a strawberry pink Jumbo Jane (Lara Dutta and coy?..forget it).
More: You meet a swell Siamese prince, you grit your teeth at the body count and you nearly fall asleep like an infant-in-arms by the time you reach a right royal battle scene that seems to be a transcript of Mel Gibson’s Braveheart. For sure, the end is the best aspect about the Elephant from Bangkok. You run home speedily to catch Mickey Mouse, Tom and Jerry or whoever’s on the Cartoon Network. Honestly, that’s so much more wild and exciting than this mumbo Jumbo.