Chhota Bheem Kung Fu Dhamaka movie review: No originality for this Kung Fu Pandav
Chhota Bheem Kung Fu Dhamaka movie review: The glossy new movie has barely an original bone in its well-animated body. It needed spirit, some vim, some animated flair.Updated: May 10, 2019 18:37 IST
Chhota Bheem: Kung Fu Dhamaka
Director: Rajiv Chilaka
The first thing that wowed me about Chhota Bheem: Kung Fu Dhamaka was its cinematography. This is an impressive looking production, with a vivid palette, fine animated details, and a swooshing, kinetic use of perspective, with the camera swirling around the characters and all the action on display. The fights — of which there are many — are shot both interestingly and amusingly, and this is certainly a step forward when it comes to the quality of Indian animated releases. It looks reasonably Dreamworks-y.
Watch the trailer for Chota Bheem Kung Fu Dhamaka:
The problem lies in the fact that it also reads entirely Dreamworks-y, with barely an original bone in its well-animated body. From the idea of an enchanted princess (who happens to be a girl with a dragon tattoo, mind you) to an all-China tournament of valour, this film follows a faithful come-together-and-fight template that has absolutely nothing new to offer. I’d have forgiven this — even Dreamworks films are rarely groundbreaking, to be honest — but there needed to be some spirit, some vim, some animated flair.
Instead we have Bheem, a valiant young hero who mouths so many platitudes it makes him hard to cheer. “Maan liya toh haar, thaan liya toh jeet,” he says mid-fight, as if reading from the back of an autorickshaw. The illustrated character is cute, but the film directed by Rajiv Chilaka doesn’t allow him any flaw or quirk, making for a character so noble he can’t possibly be charismatic.
There’s nothing wrong with a straightforward, all-too-earnest animated hero; look to the remarkable Paddington films where the overwhelmingly polite bear wins over everyone. The problem here is that the film’s makers think that cuteness is enough. There is nothing inventive, nothing clever, nothing memorable. The good guys are all good, the bad guy is very bad, and the fights — the endless fights — begin to get tiresome after the first 20 minutes. There’s no tone or range or real difference. Characters laugh because other characters laugh.
All it really needed was to be funny. Making faces isn’t enough. Animated films work because of how good the lines are, and Chhota Bheem appears content to settle for a few fat jokes. It’s a pity, because kids watching deserve a film as bright and spunky as the animation looks. Here we sadly witness product placement even in an animation film, and it ends with Bheem and his friends singing and dancing around a 3D Daler Mehndi. I wish I was kidding — or better still, that the filmmakers were.
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First Published: May 10, 2019 18:31 IST