Monday, March 23, 2009

National Treasure

National Treasure (2004)

Director: Jon Turteltaub

Writers: Jim Kouf and Oren Aviv

Release Date: 21 January 2005 (India)

Genre: Action | Adventure | Thriller


The greatest adventure history has ever revealed.

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Sean Bean, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel, and others…

The title of the movie “National Treasure” suggests that movie is about treasure hunting. ‘National Treasure’ is one very good entertaining movie. It may not be all time best movie or classic movie but it serves basic purpose of why normal viewers go for movies that is entertainment. And it is highly entertaining, funny, adventures, thrilling, action and also family movie.

The movie tells the story of Benjamin Franklin Gates played by Nicolas Cage, who is from the family who believes that there is ancient treasure hidden somewhere by Freemasons in order to save it from British in Civil war. And the family tried to hunt it for ages. Now as current heir of the family the responsibility lies on Ben Gates, who starts hunting the treasure with likeminded friends Riley played by Justin Bartha and Ian played by Sean Bean and is also a sponsor of whole hunting operation. On trail of treasure they reach a ship called “Charlotte” which is frozen in the north of Arctic Circle. From the ship they get next clue that the map for the treasure is at the back of original Declaration of Independence of USA. At this point Ben Gates and Ian who turn into villain now have disagreement over stealing the Declaration of Independence. And Ian tries to Kill Ben and Riley. But they survive.

Now in order to save the Declaration of Independence from Ian, Ben visit FBI but they did not took him seriously. So Ben decides to meet head of National Archivist. Who happens to be Dr. Abigail played by Diane Kruger and going to be love interest of Ben. But at first she also did not take him seriously. So as last option Ben decides to steal the Declaration himself and restore it after reading the map. Then story moves on with how he steal the declaration, how he understand the map, how he decode next clues and finally reach to the Treasure.

Movie has very good pace it to, at no point you feel bored of it. You might ask at some instances, how can this be possible? But give in to creative liberty of director and writer. Nicolas Cage as usual gave excellent performance. Characters played by him are always believable. It is only his acting skill that makes you believe that guy like Ben Gates who can crack such impossible codes can also manage impossible action scenes. Justin Bartha is in the movie to provide comedy and he did his job very well. Diane Kruger is pleasing to eyes but there is much more scope in acting. All the actors Sean Bean, John Voight and others did their job.

The movie has history, humor, mystery, love, action, adventure, and suspense. So their hardly anything to complain about. Although movie talks about American national history and I am not aware of American history it does not stop me from enjoying the movie. I in fact feel on the same lines there is so much scope for making movie on Indian History and culture because Indian history is full of royal families, treasures and mysteries in it. I am sure it will be a brilliant movie unless someone tries to add magic stuff in it.

“National Treasure’s” second part is already out and I am eager to watch it. And I heard that the 3rd part of the movie will be out by 2011.

If I have to rate this movie I will give 8 out of 10.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Movie Review: Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire (2009) - English

Directors: Danny Boyle
Co-director – India: Loveleen Tandan
Writers: Simon Beaufoy (screenplay) and Vikas Swarup (novel)
Genre: Crime | Drama | Romance

Cast: Dev Patel, Anil Kapoor, Irfan Khan, Freida Pinto, Saurabh Shukla, Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, Ayush Mahesh Khedekar, Mahesh Manjarekar and others

Music Director: A. R. Rehman
Awards: Won 8 Oscars. Another 62 wins & 29 nominations

“Slumdog Millionaire” bagged 8 awards at Oscar night, 4 awards for Indians. So it was very proud moment for all Indians. There is big debate on if the movie was Indian or not. So I don’t know if we can say an Indian movie won an Oscar or not. But I still feel elated because a small budget movie which talks about kids in slum one so many awards not only at Oscar but all over the world. We always enjoy it more when underdogs go on to win something and that’s what “Slumdog Millionaire is all about.

Slumdog Millionaire is a story about a Mumbai teen Jamal played by Dev Patel, who born and brought up in Mumbai slums, works as Chiwalla, becomes a contestant in “Kaun Banega Karorpati” which is Indian version of “Who wants to be a Millionaire?” And he eventually wins the game show and become a Millionaire. So how he did that? How an uneducated Chiwalla wins such a big show? Does he cheat? Host of the show played by Anil Kapoor certainly thought so. He sends him to Police. Police Inspector played by Irfan Khan interrogates him. And while interrogation his story gets unwind, how he gets all the answers from the events from his life.

As movie goes into flashback of Jamal’s life, we enter into slums of Mumbai where Jamal grown up with his older brother Salim and love of his life Latika. Now we get to see the darker side of Mumbai, where riots happened in Mumbai. Where police men do nothing while Muslims were slaughtered, where orphan kids are trained to beg by goons, where eyes of these kids take out mercilessly so that they can earn more money, where these kids end up either being beggar, goons themselves or if they are girl kids they end up being prostitutes. This is the reason there was controversy over this movie in India. This is the reason why people like Amitabh Bachchan were critical about it. It isn’t like they wanted to cover up the darker side of India but they do have a problem when non Indians just wants to highlight only darker side of India and want to rate India as third world.

Thankfully movie is not only highlighting the poverty of Mumbai. It shows the optimism of these people living slums, how each and every human trying to improve his life by any available ways. Like Jamal, his brother Salim and Latika all started their journey at same point from but took different paths of life. Latika goes through brothel and end up being a mistress of a goon’s lord. Salim took path of theft, extortion and killing. Thankfully movie does not suggest that all of these kids end up being beggars, criminals or prostitutes. There are some like protagonist Jamal who could grew out of this dark world and in the end destiny give him a hand to win millions. As they say everyone chose their own Destiny.

The movie is adapted from the novel of Vikas Swarup “Q&A”. After the amount of hype movie got the book and author will certainly going to benefit from that. They also change the title of the novel on the Movie title.

This movie wouldn’t have been as good as it is now without the music of the film. A. R. Rahman did excellent job as usual. He deserved all the awards and accolades he is getting now and will be getting in future.

Director Danny did amazingly good job. Casting of movie was spot on, I think co-director Lovaleen Tandan played huge role in casting. The kids were simply outstanding. We must also value the efforts of producers for what they are doing for all these kids. Taking them to Oscar and then to Disneyland is commendable. Some of these kids are really from slum, if this move won’t had happened to them, then Disneyland or going abroad at their age was not possible for them. Dev Patel and Freida Pinto did their job very well. My favorite scene in the movie and which makes big impact is when the kid Jamal jumps in the load of shit just to get autograph from Amitabh Bachchan.

If I have to rate the movie I will give 9 out of 10.