2.0 Review

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  • 4/5
Reloaded and Over the Top...

2.0 was promised as a semi sequel to 2010’s Endhiran (Robot). It’s good to see that it’s not just a spiritual sequel as it was marketed as but a direct and proper sequel. It just discards Robot’s very last scene set in 2030.

2.0’s plot line / premise is totally irrelevant to its real genius. The film is a technical marvel right from the very first scene with copious use of 3D to make the audience feel like the film is projecting somewhere between the screen and the viewer’s eyes.

The main character in this film is of course Chitti the Robot. He is treated like a superhero here. His entry is matter of fact and now he can pretty much do anything with the only real challenge to Chitti being the rapid way his battery seems to keep discharging. Infact Chitti has no emotional challenges in the film at all. He doesn’t have to give up anything major or improve himself in anyway. His 2.0 avatar (the films title character) is just him with the red chip from the last film. The films plot and message is lost in Chitti 2.0's robot antics.

Direction :

The film is made by S.Shankar, one of India’s most innovative filmmakers. This time around, he has kept the film very tight and has not used any of the typical south overacting, humor or songs. In fact this is the most NON masala film Shankar has ever made. This is all in the pursuit of making this film truly international in look and feel.

Having said that, the film is a bit one note and the intensity doesn’t jump up or down, its evenly quite intense throughout. This lack of highs and lows can be an issue with the audience who wants to see a complete entertainer. SS Rajamouli avoided this same issue in 2012’s Eega (Makkhi).

Acting :

With time Rajnikanth is getting more and more tepid in his acting. This film had a lot more for his scientist character to do, who is an intellectual and doesn’t have any of the typical Rajni traits. That’s not to say his acting is bad, its just gotten a lot more sober and serious. Even the 2.0 chitti who is almost a villain character refrains from truly going overboard. He is always at the edge of madness and never crosses it.

Akshay Kumar is really good in this film. He totally does justice to his casting in the film and in his backstory he plays an ornithologist (someone working on birds) modelled on india’s most well known person in this profession ‘Salim ali’ who is a Padma bhusan winner. His acting both as an ornithologist and as a villain is on point. He is menacing as the birdman character and sympathetic in his backstory. He keeps up with Rajni Sir’s acting and performance so that the clash is between equals.

Amy Jackson’s turn as a humanoid Robot is perfect casting. Amy’s acting is extremely wooden normally, so now that she is playing a robot, she seems adequately robotic. Her character has in place asimov’s 3 laws and therefore she is not a killer robot like Chitti. So she has a supporting role of protecting Rajni’s scientist character and at times even Chitti. So she isn’t there just for eye candy. But speaking of eye candy, Amy looks really good running around in a form fitted robot suit.

This brings us to the sets and art design.

Art Design :

The suits and costumes used in the film work great and do not look cheap at the least. Chitti’s normal look and his 2.0 look both work well and seem high tech and robotic enough. The art direction is top notch and nothing in the film looks less than any international film. Akshay’s different looks and his prosthetics are thoroughly convincing and work well purely on a technical level. Amy’s Neela as mentioned earlier looks cute in her robot avatar and is a welcome visual contrast in the mostly male dominated cast.

The labs, sets etc all look very good. A lot of the budget has gone into getting the look right for this film.

Lastly we come to the most talked about and innovative thing about this film.

The visual FX :

People on youtube and twitter have both appreciated and made fun of the VFX of this film. Some have said it looks worse than a ps2 video game. This is not true at all. I felt that in 3d the VFX of the film looked very good. There are numerous scenes which have 1000s of cell phones doing impossible things and its animated so well. I have not seen such an idea or execution of such proportions in a Indian or International film till date. The villain is made up of cell phones and that god damn difficult to achieve. Every part of him is an individual mobile phone. The phone is rigid and cannot bend, so I can imagine how difficult animating this must have been.

The VFX is really top notch as far as the budget is concerned.

Shankar has an habit of these huge set piece songs in all his films, such as Indian, Nayak, Aparichit, Sivaji and Robot. But this time he refrains from songs in the film at all. the only song in the film is at the very end. I guess this makes the film more tight, less masala and more international. the only song Tu Hi re plays over the end credits.

Now we come to the negatives of the film.

As mentioned before, the film is very one note and all emotional parts have been excised in pursuit of technical achievement. Which is fine, but it doesn’t give the right stakes to things. The villain’s point of view is explained but then made fun of in the end by Chitti 2.0. Therefore, despite this film being technically an achievement not just in Indian cinema, but world cinema, the emotional overtones are missing. Making this a less complete film than its 2010 predecessor. Personally, I still prefer the original over this sequel. Which is not to say that this film is not good.

Rating :

This movie could have been a nine for me, but it messes up some key moments. So for Rajni sir's and akshay's acting, the action and awesome vfx and innovative ideas, this movie is an easy 7.5/10 for me.

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