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Indian Science Fiction Epic Too Much of a Good Thing

Indian Science Fiction Epic Too Much of a Good Thing

The new Telugu-language sci-fi fantasy epic borrows from several similarly themed predecessors so that it can be screened at copyright lawyers’ conferences, and the subtlety is on display briefly. Boasting dazzling CGI visuals, spectacular action sequences and a highly entertaining, over-the-top performance from Indian superstar Prabhas, who demonstrates why movie stars were invented, Kalki 2898 AD It’s more style-over-substance and much longer than necessary. But it certainly gives viewers their money’s worth and its box office success proves that its creators weren’t overly optimistic by announcing “Kalki Cinematic Universe Continues” in the end credits.

It’s a bit difficult to give a plot summary, so bear with me. Director-screenwriter Nag Ashwin’s three-hour film begins—thankfully, with an intermission—with a prologue set in 3102 BCE, after the Kurukshetra War, that will be better understood by those familiar with the Hindu epic. MahabharataAfter making the mistake of attempting to kill an unborn divine child, warrior Ashwatthama (Amitabh Bachchan) is cursed by Krishna, the reincarnation of the god Vishnu. As punishment, he is condemned to wander the earth forever, finding salvation only by protecting Kalki, the mother of Vishnu’s future incarnation.

Kalki 2898 AD

Underline

It’s got a lot going on, but it’s so spectacular that the viewer won’t care.

Release date: June 27
Casting: Prabhas, Amitabh Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Kamal Haasan, Disha Patani
Director-screenwriter: Nag Ashwin

3 hours 1 minute

We jump ahead 6,000 years (see the title for the exact date), when the planet has been reduced to a post-apocalyptic, dystopian society (just once, I’d like to see a sci-fi movie where things actually get better in the future), and the elite naturally monopolize valuable resources, including water, which can be purchased with “credits.” These upper-crust types live in a giant inverted pyramid called “The Complex,” which thankfully doesn’t have the name “Trump” on it, while the commoners live in a shantytown below. Overseeing the complex is the Supreme Yaskin (Kamal Haasan), who is in dire need of a humidifier. He runs the evil Project K, which drains pregnant women of their fluids and uses them as a youth serum. Then, they’re incinerated.

One of these unfortunate women, SUM-80 (Deepika Padukone), manages to escape and a bounty is placed on her head. Enter Bhairava (Prabhas), a mischievous bounty hunter (is there another kind?) who wants to earn enough credits to ascend to the Complex. Just then, Ashwatthama (remember him?) reappears to protect the fugitive SUM-80, Kalki’s prophesied mother. It seems the 6,000 years have been good for Ashwatthama, as he is now eight feet tall. The same cannot be said for Bhairava, at least in terms of energy, as he insists on taking a nap the moment he appears.

There’s a lot more going on in terms of other characters and subplots, but you’re probably as tired reading this as I am writing it. Suffice it to say, you’ll easily find yourself entertained just by recognizing the film’s inspirations. Star wars foremost among these is Bhairava’s helpful companion in the form of a robot who acts like a miniature version of R2-D2; Supreme Yaskin’s men look no less like Stormtroopers, etc. However, if memory serves, Star wars There are no occasional musical scenes like in this film.

However Star wars just the beginning. You can also see references to many Marvel movies, Mad Max: Fury PathDisaster The Dark Knight Rises, Sand hill, Matrix, Knife Edge And Harry Potter series, among others. And Bhairava’s love interest Roxie (Disha Patani), who displays admirable fighting skills while wearing a midriff-baring outfit, can give Princess Leia a run for her money, especially when it comes to witty comments. “I thought you wanted me,” she tells Bhairava as she tackles him by grabbing his head. “But you only wanted my credits.”

In conclusion, despite all its wildly entertaining elements, Kalki 2898 AD It feels like too much of a good thing, the kind of sumptuous buffet meal that leaves you feeling stuffed and exhausted, but fans of this particular style of cinema probably won’t mind.