Monday, November 18, 2013

'Philips and the Monkeypen' is an adults entertainment movie made at the cost of children

I went to watch this supposedly 'children's movie', because of the rave reviews it got from all fronts. In the end, i am disappointed that i might be the only one who writes a negative review about this one.

'Philips and the Monkeypen' fails at so many levels for me.

Its supposed to be the must-movie to show your children. Really? Why would you want your child to see that stabbing with a sharp pencil is a very ok thing, that happens daily in every school.

Its supposed to show some meaningful parenting. Yes, i am not surprised that it didn't really have any good parenting tips considering the very low parenting morals in Kerala these days. The film celebrates a dad who congratulates the cunningness of his son, who gets out of a suspension for stabbing another kid with a pencil by posing as a handicap. Well, the directors wanted to show an immature dad, but it looked like a retarded dad. So sad, that Jayasuryas father character hides all this from his wife. Good husband too you see.

Mukesh's principal character jumps around like a fool, and his character goes making one blunder to another. Did the director's really hate Mukesh so much? The principal is incapable of stopping violence in the school; He is incapable of teaching good values; and in a scene where the discussion is about filled school buses, he blames parents first for sending their children to school in this manner, and not the authorities of the school for shortage of buses. I was laughing my head off at the irony and stupidity of those dialogs.

Well, if this was just what i felt, maybe i could be wrong. But the 5 others who came with me was so angry at the end of this film, that they were shouting at me for dragging them into this movie. An angry mother confronted me and asked, 'Is this the movie you want our children to see?'

Now about the movie.

Slow motions have killed malayalam industry. Slow motion everywhere, for any nonsense. It drags the movie to bore you to death, unless used wisely. But our editors are so in love with this that they think they are making the scene beautiful. But as a whole film, it just drags and drags. Bachelor Party, and even the hit movie 'Neram' just does this.

The movie could very well have been a short film, and done with the whole thing in 40-50 mins. The directors( previously short film makers) have done a pretty shoddy work in adding a lot of unnecessary fillers. The movie started looking like a short film work, right 5 minutes into it. Only difference was they had lots more money, a better camera and some jibs, and good actors, which all sinks in the amateurish style of the directors. Some things which are okay to do while making a short film, do not necessarily work as a feature film.

Now acting in all fronts were quite good. But the unrealistic approach of the film, didn't add anything of value to the kids performance. Jayasurya as the crazy and incapable dad has given a decent performance, but the script misses the point that the audience would not see Jayasurya as incapable but as a loving dad, which is very dangerous parenting tip. Remya was not effective as the mother, for me. There were many other capable actors who could have done the role. Vijay babu as the cruel class teacher, was too over the board. I understand the teacher who is a scare, but this character seemed like was acting hard to keep a scary image. If you remember Amole Gupte in 'Stanley ka Dabba', you will understand what characterization is.

The kids could have done a good job with a decent script. Its so hard to understand the psyche of children and the directors have failed miserably to catch their innocence. Instead they portray them a gundas, and schemers. I am sure they must be watching too much of malayalam TV serials, which brings me to the background music of the film. I understand giving epic music, but this is a children's film. The music was loud, and the sound mix was horrible. I have never liked the dubbing in any of the recent malayalam films. The mix could have been far better, not just in this movie, but thats common in any malayalam movie today. The background music was so over the top 'hero' kinda music, that takes away the innocence of being a children's movie. At one point, I was even expecting Jack Sparrow to jump out from somewhere. That's the music available when kids are riding a bicycle.

Now, is the movie only about bad things. No. The director(s) wanted message in the movie. Lets see how successful he is in incorporating the messages. He says 'wish your teachers', and shows a whole class saying 'good morning'. Now that scene was so bad, that it looked like the karate kids bowing and instead of  the message what comes out really, is a joke. People were laughing, and not reacting to the message. In another scene the lead boy wishes his principal by calling him bad words....and then says sorry. I don;t think the children will learn to say sorry, but i am hundred percent sure more principals will now be called 'mathanga thalaya'. Then at some point, the film becomes too preachy, and too annoying by repeating one same dialouge again and again. Do good, Say the truth and stuff. A good movie should have been able to incorporate those messages in the plot of the story, and not make a character say those things.

In a time, when great children's movies have come out like Tare Zameen Par, or Chillar Party, or the recent 'Manjadikuru' for that matter, which makes us relate to kids, and see through their eyes. But, in this movie, we are forcing a bunch of kids to act like us for our entertainment. Very sad. And to see reviews saying this film is going to get the best children's film national award. Hope not.

I want to still support the newcomer directors, because even after all this I do consider they have potential for better projects. They are better than many others currently in the industry.

Well, this is my thought. I really do want to know how much kids enjoyed this movie. So i would love comments from kids of 10-15 years, because i for sure would not have enjoyed this movie even when i was a kid.

 I would say 'Monkeypen' was a concept with great potential had the script been able to keep the innocence of kids and made them act like fifth standard boys, and not like 'Pokiri' vijay.


sreekant said...

A realistic review..! Totally agree to your views.. !

she... said...

This is called a good sir...i wish u to post ur reviews on thira nd geetanjali too...

Ramesh S V said...

Thank you!

Will surely do a review on Thira and other malayalam films that are coming out. Lokking forward to 'Nadan'

Ramesh S V said...

Well, Thira covered.