Okay, this is not going to a generally favorable review overall, but I’d still recommend you to go watch 2.0 for the sheer technical brilliance this film is loaded with. Shankar’s films have always been technically rich – the guy’s always got the best people on his crew – but all of them had a moment or two with the audience where the emotional connect was evident. Till now.
2.0 comes as a sequel to the 2010 film Enthiran. Enthiran had its share of flaws, but it sort of balanced the action and emotion quotients. The problem was more pronounced, all the emotions very genuine and overall, there was a “feel” to the film that was wrapped in gorgeous, awe-inspiring VFX and what not. 2.0 is LITERALLY the updated version of Enthiran, but clearly the update was only on the tech front. 8 years have passed, and VFX has clearly gotten better – so trust Shankar to push the envelope yet again. If I had to pick top 5 Indian movies which KILLED it in the technical front, Shankar’s movies will take the lion’s share.
2.0 brings up an interesting problem, but fails to understand it completely. So here’s what we know – we’re using mobile phones way too much, and the signals and the mobile towers and pretty much everything connected to excessive mobile phone usage is threatening the environment. 2.0 tries to talk about how it’s affecting the bird kingdom.
There’s a lot of jargon thrown in – positive energy, negative energy, neutralization, de-neutralization….you get the drift – but I am afraid all this jargon is a product of very rudimentary research done by the team. “Let’s throw in complicated jargon, people will think we’ve done our homework”.
The fact of the matter is this – subjects like this need extensive research before you make a film out of them. Especially if it’s about something that’s become a default in all our lives. Forget research, let’s talk about the emotional connect. You have the gargantuan task of making the audience root for the cause of minimizing mobile phone usage while the very same audience is staring at their phones because they’re bored AF of the film (when you’re not showing applaud-worthy VFX, that is). This very topic is such that you cannot take sides concretely – and I get that – which basically warrants the necessity of a villain you can root for. The stakes are too high in this story, but the arguments very weak.
Akshay Kumar looks the part as Pakshiraja (the amount of thought that went into naming this guy is basically the digit after the decimal in the film’s title), but fails to bring any heft to the character he’s playing (partly because of it being one-note, and maybe even because he doesn’t know the language, or is working for the fat-paycheck here). Talking about working for pay-checks alone, we have the ever-dependable Adil Hussain just bringing nothing to the table because this role just doesn’t demand that much from the talented actor. Amy Jackson is the most aptly cast person in this whole unit, second probably to only Rajini himself. Here’s something you’ll probably never hear me say again – Amy Jackson was good. Because she plays a humanoid capable of very little emotion. So acting becomes one less thing to worry about for her. Shankar is happy with her spending time with the makeup crew instead.
Regardless of how much I shit on the other aspects of this film, I need to give credit where it’s due. WHAT A VISUAL TREAT! But hold on, a movie cannot be JUST that. After a point it becomes too much and you start wondering when VFX will be out of the screen for JUST ONE MINUTE AT LEAST. The background music is good, but overdone as well. It feels like Shankar knows that his product lacks in depth and is seeking filler material in the form of VFX and BGM and cinematography. This could actually be true, because I am sure Shankar knows this stuff sells.
If they ever make a 3.0, which I’m sure they will (there are hints in the movie), I just don’t want it to be like this. I mean, this formula could go on like this, making hundreds of crores, without actually meaning much. We need the story back in Shankar’s films, even if it’s at the cost of pausing on the tech front for a while.
One quick rant before I end this review: AR Rahman – it’s bulliguvvaa, not bulliguvaa. FFS, stop butchering Telugu.
I’m going with 2.0 out of 5 for 2.0! Recommended but forgettable. Never thought I’d write a sentence like that ever.
PS: All the images used are YouTube screen-grabs from the film’s official trailer. The featured image is taken from BookMyShow.com