Shankar’s 2.0 definitely entertains you with a social message but won’t stay with you for long
Get this on point. Its a mix bag. Some parts are so good that they give you the adrenaline rush. Some are so lame that you curse yourself for having bought the ticket. 2.0 stands at two extremes wherein there is no middle ground for decent entertainment. While this film is again a benchmark for the effort its taken (which should be applauded without an iota of doubt), the audience is still more concerned with the connect, that’s exactly where this one falters to a level.
One fine day the cellphones all across the city of Chennai start vanishing mysteriously. At a time when the authorities fail to provide any answer to the ridiculous phenomenon, Prof. Vaseegaran (Rajnikanth) re-activates the maverick humanoid robot Chitti (Rajnikanth) to fight the menace.
Shankar’s story is nuanced as well as contemporary delving into the current scenario, much in the debates around. While the first installment revolved around science and technological advancements that humankind is actually plunging into, this one stands clearly as a superhero movie. A villain against whom the authorities have no solution, bring in a Messiah to fight the evil and prevail peace. This very premise of presenting a robot as a superhero in itself is very challenging to comprehend. Giving you a direct insight into the probable future, Shankar plays with your minds. If your minds are programmed, the film emerges as a winner. Otherwise plain flat. Unfortunately, chances are that the latter will happen.
2.0 is actually the bigger version in terms of the elements incorporated. Chitti is smarter with newer software’s installed giving him more power- scientific and mental- more like the machine version of Spider man, flying here and there- literally. His funnier side is still intact and the makers make sure you are never put off by his activities, be it firing countless bullets or running behind the goons.
Leaving the robot aside, majorly relying on VFX and CGI for nearly all its sequences, 2.0 downplays on emotions and real humane touch, something that you miss a lot. Of course its true to the futuristic times the story takes shape in, you can’t quite relate to everything mechanical. This one takes you to Baahubali where despite the superlative use of VFX, the film scored high. Courtesy- humane touch.
Also, please note that the film seems repetitive especially post interval and you feel you have just begun watching it, making 150 mins of run time seem never ending.
Far from reality (of course), this one although packs in a very important message, makes very little impact on your minds. In fact, the last 30 mins of the film seem excruciating, majorly because whatever you see unfolding is humbug. What made Robot endearing was the sight of possible future and how can it be avoided. Here rather its all quite over exaggerated.
Even with some ‘wow’ moments executed smartly- cellphones running after people, capturing the roads-rooms-jungles, scientific knowledge of things, involvement of birds, and with three distinct forms of Chitti, it still doesn’t soar high. The writing sinks.
What to say about the Superstar Rajnikanth? You are left mesmerized, to say the least. He commands your attention, both as Professor Vaseegaran and even as Chitti. More than the actual performance, it’s the character that makes you smile.
Akshay Kumar in a never seen before avatar has his moments. He’s plain, he’s cruel, he’s rude. Although he’s much more capable but here, he suits ably.
Amy Jackson as humanoid Nila has a significant part in the plot but she doesn’t charm you as an actor. However its not very easy to forget her after leaving the theaters.
Adil Hussain and Sudhanshu Pandey have done average work.
A R Rahman majorly disappoints when it comes to songs. Just like the first outing, the songs even here make less or absolutely no impact. Also the way they are choreographed also makes you wonder if it was even worth it. Rahman however balances fully in the background score. Aiding the plot extremely well, its the background score that narrates quite a lot of the story. Even one note down in many sequences, the situation wouldn’t have made the impact. He’s been a master of background score, and he proves yet again he’s one of the best.
Nirav Shah’s camera takes you to the grand canvas the film boasts of. High end locations, blown up sets, visual effects accentuating the otherwise routine places give you the much needed cinematic flavor. A lot is being said by the brilliant use of camera, a key element in this genre.
Anthony’s editing could have been sharper especially in the sequences involving only machines, in the second half to be prominent. The overall flow however remains true to the premise. Hindi dialogues and lyrics by Abbas Tyrewala needed to be stronger without making them seem literal translation of Tamil. They are actually funny when they are not intended to be. Poor job by Tyrewala.
Muthuraj’s production design relying mostly on effects is visually enriching with colors and elements suiting the storytelling. Its a thoughtful work on this front where utmost care has been taken on minute detailing.
Its a huge and wide board. Visually spectacular. Technically sound. In terms of effort, salute worthy. But despite all this, 2.0 leaves you unsatisfied. Should it be watched? Undoubtedly. It is a piece of cinema which will remain a benchmark for times to come, for the kind of execution and technology it employs. Watch it even if the trailers didn’t appeal. Watch it even if you hear someone say negative things about it. Watch it to stand up to people who take immense pain for their passion, what they call films. Its a big reason why this one should be watched in theaters.