Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Love Story 2050 (live action movie), via Hulu

Synopsis:

Karan is an adrenaline junkie who doesn't care if his stunts kill him, because no one, certainly not his work-obsessed father, would care if he died. All that changes when he meets Sana.  Karan is instantly smitten and works hard to get Sana to let him into her life. Things are looking good - it doesn't take long for Sana to loosen up a little and be ok with having such a daredevil in her life, and Sana's mother loves Karan. Unfortunately, Sana dies in a tragic accident, and Karan is left heartbroken.

Karan's Uncle Ya, a brilliant and eccentric scientist, has a possible solution, however: the time machine he has been working on for 15 years finally works. He, Karan, and a couple stowaways (Sana's younger siblings) use the time machine to travel to Mumbai in the year 2050. There, they learn that Sana has been reincarnated as Zeisha, a world-famous mega-superstar.

Karan has only 30 days to get Zeisha, who seems to be the exact opposite of Sana in terms of personality, to remember her past life and love for him. If he can't get Zeisha to go with him back to his present (2008), he has to leave without her, because he would suddenly age 42 years if he stayed past the 30 days. Unfortunately, Karan, Uncle Ya, and the children must also evade Hoshi, an evil overlord type everyone fears because of his ability to teleport with his mind. Hoshi wants to get his hands on Uncle Ya's time machine.

Can Karan keep from getting killed by Hoshi, get back to the time machine on time, and convince Zeisha/Sana to go back to 2008 with him?  Of course he can. And he can do it with singing, dancing, and lots of outfits.

Commentary:

This is the first Bollywood movie I've ever watched all the way through - I've tried a couple others and only managed to get half an hour into those.  I can't really say why I did better with this one.  Maybe it helped that this one had more glitz and romance than the others (one was a thriller, and the other was a horror movie based on - or ripped off of - a Hollywood movie).

Whatever the reason, I'm impressed I managed to make it all the way through this nearly 3-hour long movie.  I added it to my Hulu queue because the time travel aspect of the movie sounded interesting to me, and yet at least the first hour of the movie made no mention of time travel.  Instead, it was a fairly conventional story about a guy falling in love with a woman who's very different from him and yet just what he's been looking for. While this part of the movie wasn't bad, it could (and should) have been edited down. The shocker came when Sana was killed right in front of Karan's eyes, run over as she crossed the street. Of course, the moment was a little ruined for me, because my first reaction was to scream, "No, Karan! Quit tragically picking her up and cradling her against your chest! Don't move her and call an ambulance." Possible spinal injuries, jeez.

When the story finally introduces actual time travel, it's a little disappointing. Although the special effects in this part of the movie aren't too bad (some things are more cheesy than others, while other things look really, really good), there's very little in this vision of the near future that's new.  In fact, this movie appears to have ripped off (or, to put it more nicely, been inspired by) quite a few other movies: I, Robot, The Fifth Element, A.I., and Star Wars, to name a few. Unfortunately, the blatant rip-offs weren't just limited to the visuals - the music featured at least one obvious rip-off that I was able to identify, something I would think would be a big no-no in a movie in which characters break into song and dance out of the blue. If you watch this movie, listen for a portion of what I believe is the theme song for the James Bond movie You Only Live Twice. If you miss it the first time, don't worry, it gets repeated several times throughout the movie.

The overall impression that I got of this movie was that it was bright, pretty, and generally light and fluffy in content. Although it had plenty of action scenes, it failed to be a truly fast-paced movie due to a too-gentle editor who was apparently afraid to condense anything. It certainly wasn't the most terrible thing I've ever seen, but it definitely wasn't great, and the amount of material (imagery, futuristic technology, music, etc.) it "borrowed" from other movies makes it difficult to even say that the movie was creative or innovative in any way. It's a "meh" kind of movie.

One final comment, kind of a side note: The movie had subtitles for everything, even the occasional English bits (it took me a bit of getting used to, but the characters mixed quite a bit of English in with their Hindi). This made it easy to identify portions where the translation was less than stellar, or obviously censored.  Yes, the screen may have said "Aw, shucks," but that's not what I heard the character say.

Watch-alikes:
  • The Fifth Element (live action movie) - Love Story 2050's vision of the future looks a lot like what you find in this movie. Plus, the evil villains in both movies also seem pretty similar. The movie's not stellar, but Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich are fun enough to watch.
  • Back to the Future (live action movie) - A classic time travel movie, and one of Love Story 2050's obvious "inspirations." Uncle Ya reminded me a lot of Doc Brown.
  • Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi (anime TV series) - This is another basically light-hearted story in which the characters travel (in this case, to alternate worlds/realities), trying to escape and/or put right something terrible that has happened in their own world.
  • What's Your Raashee? (live action movie) - Ok, like I said Love Story 2050 is the first Bollywood movie I've ever seen from start to finish, so I don't exactly have a lot of Bollywood experience. Unable to find a good recommendation tool, I'm left looking up stuff involving any of the same actors. If you'd like another light-hearted romance, this one sounds like it might work. Yogesh Patel (played by Harman Baweja, who played Karan in Love Story 2050) must get married in 10 days. He figures that the best way to find himself someone suitable is to meet one girl (all played by Priyanka Chopra, who played Sana/Zeisha) from each Raashee (sun sign).

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