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Upperstall Review



Arjun: The Warrior Prince


Hindi, Animation, Mythological, 2012, Color

Arjun : The Warrior Prince is an action filled mythological saga. The storyline begins with Arjun as a nine-year-old boy and follows him till he grows into the warrior that the world knows him as. It explores his life with his brothers in Hastinapur, his training and education and his ultimate discovery of the warrior within himself.

While watching Arjun: The Warrier Prince, I was sitting next to a kid who kept on asking his mom when Bakasur would make an entry. While it's encouraging to know that he was at least aware of someone called Bakasur, albeit from a different myth, Arjun: The Warrier Prince isn't made for him or his friends.

This is a darker rendition of the oft-heard legend of the Mahabharata, told from Arjun's POV. There is a frame story which makes the narrative non-linear, and slightly interesting for a while at least. There are no funny characters or animals that speak, and there's blood. No, this wasn't meant for toddlers, and it shows.

The film is ambitiously mounted, with sweeping vistas of grand palaces and plains of Hastinapur and Indraprasht. The frames are detailed and richly colored. Pixar is a benchmark for animation films, and while we are still a long way off, Arjun is a respectable step in the direction when it comes to the visuals. The quality of animation is, however, still basic. This is especially noticeable in the one-to-one battle sequences, where you can't help noticing the lack of fluidity in the animation.

But this isn't criticism, as much as observation. The real problem with the film is not the animation, it's the writing. The film is let down badly by the dialogue. It is uninspiring, and lacks punch and wit, something you associate so much with animation films. The screenplay has nothing fresh to offer, and when you have material like the Mahabharata, there is tremendous scope to show something that hasn't been previously. Interpretations on every character and event of this epic are free and flowing, but we get almost none of those layers here. The Drona-Arjun relationship is the only interesting strand in this respect.

At a less obvious, but more relevant level, is the handling of Arjun's character, and the script itself. The story is about the transformation of Arjun, from a skillful archer to a warrior. This is a layer in the film that gives it some depth. But the makers have taken a deliberate decision to not get to the main battle. The film ends with Arjun defending Drupad's kingdom, where the Pandavas have been hiding for the last year of their banishment. This decision is baffling. It's Krishna's discourse to Arjun before the beginning of the great battle that finally convinces Arjun to abide by his duty, his karma. To fight. That's the point where the transformation really happens, and seems to be the obvious ending to the film. There is nothing that justifies this decision, and it leaves you with an abrupt ending and missing resolution to his character. You never get a sense that he has become a hero at the end of it.

The scene where Arjun shoots the fish's eye by seeing it's reflection is one of the best in the film. But the overall film, in spite of a good effort, just misses the mark.

Upperstall review by: Mr Care




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