Thursday, 30 December 2010

Superrhero, Superrflop

Dreamworks is outdoing itself. Everytime. As if How To Train Your Dragon wasn't good enough, enough to make me want the movie to win the Academy award this year, now comes Megamind (released in India last week after an agonizing wait). I've heard Tangled is just as good, or some say it's even better than Megamind (I've read reports of Megamind underperforming, and Tangled toppling Harry Potter at the US Box Office). Now I'm not so sure which movie will win it. All the movies in the fray this year as just as good as the other. These movies just keep getting better. And my excitement keeps increasing every time I hear about a new animated movie release.

And now for my brutally honest rant.

I watched two movies back-to-back yesterday, one of which was Megamind and the other an Indian animated-cum-live-action movie Toonpur Ka Superrhero. I decided to watch Toonpur Ka Superrhero to know how far we've come. It's been a while since I last watched an Indian animation movie. While on one end of the Indian animation spectrum we have Alpha and Omega (which did fairly well abroad), on the last picometer of the edge of the other end of the spectrum we have Toonpur Ka Superrhero. I'm no longer going to accept the excuse of Indian animation industry being in its nascent stage after Alpha and Omega and Tinkerbell which have pretty decent animation. Just because these animation movies are targeted at kids, doesn't mean one can throw any crap at them and they'll enjoy it. Kids are not stupid. Toonpur was a pain to watch. The story -- Kid calls his actor dad a fake hero. Dad is hurt. Some cartoons kidnap dad into their "Toonpur" to fight a bad guy. Dad is successful. Dad becomes "Superrhero" in his kid's eyes -- brainless; and the characters bordering on the obscene.

This movie makes me wonder if the people who worked on this movie have ever seen a Pixar or a Dreamworks movie. The characters in these movies are so beautiful, even without a story, I can bet that these movies will still be able to stand only on the strength of their character appeal. Ok, maybe not. But look at Megamind's "beautiful" Roxanne, and Toonpur's "Miss Toonpur" Loveena and you'll know what I mean.
Indian character designers need to understand that female characters can be made to look good/sexy without giving them a huge bust.
What I find ironic in our animation is that while our country is basically colourless (look around, count how often you find colours other than red, yellow and dark blue, besides black and white), the environment in our animated movies are full of mismatching, blindingly bright colours. This is not specific to this movie, but in almost all the animated shorts created by students, that I've seen. I can't think why.

As long as we've got these basic fundamentals of animated movies wrong, Indian animation can never compete with the international releases. They say the Indian moviegoer isn't ready for animated movies yet, but I'm sure if we give them movies that are at least as entertaining as the movies he/she is watching right now, he/she will be ready. And once we get this right, we can then talk about animation boom in the country.

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