Critics' verdict: RA.One gets mixed reviews

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By Hindustan Times

SRK's superhero flick RA.One, which released on Diwali, has got mixed responses from film critics. RA.One has been praised for it's special effects but criticised for dance sequences and weak storyline which overshadow the over all superhero experience. Is it worth shelling a few bucks? Here's an opinion from across board.

Mayank Shekhar, Hindustan Times
Rating: **

Mayank Shekhar, our in-house editor's review doesn't give RA.One a thumbs up. "For most parts, this doesn't seem a super-hero movie at all. It's more of a weirdly boiled, Bollywood please all: vaguely soppy romance, Salman-type sasta comedy, narcissistic SRK set piece. Die-hard fans of all three genres are likely to be disappointed. Neither here nor there, everything appears so visibly constructed and all over the place that you can look through the wires, rather than blend in with the experience. The latter may be necessary if you're not playing this film's version, available on Playstation 2," says Shekhar.

"A year of relentless hustling, hype and expectations inevitably numb achievements, whatever they are, into the obvious. You wish to figure if this was worth this much fuss," Shekhar adds.

Rajeev Masand, CNN-IBN
Rating: ** 1/2

Rajeev Masand feels RA.One is ambitious but flawed: "Every time we're drawn into the simplistic but intriguing story of how Ra.One can only be vanquished by the game's superhero G.One (also played by Shah Rukh), director Anubhav Sinha feels the desperate need to inject a dance number or a comical sequence or a melodramatic interlude into the narrative. It's distracting from the superhero theme and more importantly, it makes the film clunky."

Shubhra Gupta, Indian Express
Rating: **

The Express critic doesn't think too highly of the film either: "Can a film which boasts some of the most boggling special effects ever seen in an Indian venture, and a couple of Bollywood’s most jiggly, shapely navels—one male, the other female, one pierced, one not but oh-so-hot—be a slurry sludge? 'Ra.One’ goes one better. It is a superstarry slurry sludge, with just the occasional consolatory sparkle. Shah Rukh Khan’s shout-out to superheroes is a Three Part Something : borrowing from past superhero outings, imbuing them with a worn mix of action-tragedy-comedy-romance, and flattening them into a storyline which seldom manages to escape the clutches of clichéd story-telling."

Raja Sen, Rediff
Rating: * 1/2

"Ra.One is a subpar superhero film with a mediocre soundtrack and occasionally terrific effects. For those of you looking to compare, it's well below Krrish [ Images ] on the superpecking order, and far, far below Robot. The film's narrative, as a result, is disjointed and sluggish, with a mere handful of good scenes. The rest is not just filler, but lengthy, exhausting, filmi filler -- the kind of kitsch a film like this should really have left behind," writes Raja Sen.

Abhishek Mande, Rediff
Rating: **

Mande writes: "RA.One, on the one hand, has special effects that no Hindi movie can boast of so far, but on the other, it is saddled with an almost 1990s-style treatment with songs popping out of nowhere and dialogues that make you cringe. Even as Shah Rukh Khan flies over buildings, jumps over cars and even stops an out-of-control train with his bare hands, his valiant efforts to wow his audiences somewhat fail thanks to a weak storyline, some rather juvenile acting and a poor screenplay."

Taran Adarsh, bollywoodhungama.com
Rating: **** 1/2
The movie critic is all praises for the superhero film and is being criticised for over-rating it: "RA.ONE raises the bar, takes not a step or two, but a giant leap and adheres to international standards, in terms of execution. But the soul, I wish to add, is very desi. That's precisely the reason why RA.ONE emerges trumps. RA.ONE is beauty [read good looking film] with brains [read content]."

Komal Nahta, koimoi.com
Rating: *** 1/2
The critic has praised stars' performances, visual effects and action sequences but feels some portions in the film were boring.. Nahta's verdict: "Ra.One has novelty and great visual effects to see it through at the box-office and ensure profits in spite of its very high cost. Definitely watch Ra.One for the superlative performances and the grand visual effects and the 3D effects."

Kaveree Bamzai, India Today
Rating: *** 1/2

Bazmai has mainly praised the film: "Welcome to a movie as a gigantic open house. Shah Rukh is the host and he will make sure your VFX canapés are delivered at regular interval; your emotion goblet is kept topped up; and there are enough homilies about being careful-what-you-wish-for that you can take home as back presents. This is film-making not so much as noble passion but as grand indulgence, not so much as a marathon magic show but as an event to be managed. No effort is spared."

Nikhat Kazmi, The Times Of India
Raring: *** 1/2

Ra-One works on several accounts. First because it has some interesting clashes betwen G-One, the good robot(Shah Rukh Khan) and Ra-One, the bad robot, who can take the form of anyone he wants. Secondly, the bond that G-One develops with the family he is supposed to protect, Kareena and her young son Prateik, is warm and winsome. The film falls back in the emotional quotient. Also, considering so much money has been poured into the film, the special effects and the hi-tech gadgetry lacks the glitzy feel of Hollywood sci-fi.

INTERNATIONAL REVIEWS

Rachel Saltz, New York Times

NYT reviewer is far from disappointed with RA.One: "Full of digital effects, wire work and things that go flying (cars, men, supermen) the movie is technically as sophisticated as anything Bollywood has produced. A standout is G.One’s rescue of Ms. Kapoor on a runaway train that crashes rather spectacularly out of Victoria Terminus in Mumbai," says Rachel Saltz.

"You can see the money on screen, if not in the screenwriting. The exposition is longwinded and confusing, as are the rules of the game, in the virtual and the real worlds. The bumbling Shekhar is too clownish; Ra.One is a dud demon (Raavan is invoked to little effect) who disappears for chunks of time; and you probably won’t hold your breath as good fights evil," says Saltz.

"But if the storytelling disappoints (shocking!), the film mostly doesn’t. It relies on action and effects and Bollywood’s trump card, star power, to carry the day. This is Mr. Khan’s movie, and once he sheds Shekhar’s droopy locks, he shines as the deadpan, action-hero robot with digital snot and smooth moves on the dance floor, adds the critic.

The Hollywood Reporter

Excerpts from the review: "The film, directed by Anubhav Sinha, is gloriously silly, with stunts, CG animation and music numbers bursting out all over yet its beating heart lies in a commonplace story of a family and most especially a father and son who don’t understand one another. Oscar Hammerstein II once said something to the effect that you have to believe in whiskers on kittens and warm woolen mittens to get away with writing about such corny banalities in a lyric and so Shah -- SRK as he is known to billions of fans -- really does believe in family values and the power of cinema."

"You don’t have to be an enthusiast of Bollywood to embrace RA.ONE, but it sure would help. The “item” numbers and cultural references come fast and furious with little concession to Western audiences unfamiliar with South Asian cinema. But -- sign of our times -- the videogame milieu and computer technology that back up the fantasy will score big with youngsters across the globe. And the stunts and FX work -- the final credit crawl lasts over 10 minutes -- move Indian cinema to a new level of technological expertise."

"During the credit roll, the film makes a point of showing a behind-the-scenes EPK of the stunts and effects, driving home dual points. One is that SRK did, as advertised, his own stunts. And two, that India can compete in the big leagues of stunts and fx. SRK, whose company Red Chilies Entertainment made the film with Eros International, has poured a lot of money into creating his own Mumbai special-effects house and RA.ONE is nothing if not a calling card to the film world."

The Wall Street Journal

Roundup has this as the intro para: "In case you’ve been living high in the Himalayas without access to YouTube, a cellphone, the Internet, or even word of mouth, let us bring you the exciting news that a new Shah Rukh Khan movie, Ra.One, debuted in cinemas on Diwali. This was newsworthy for a number of reasons: A top Bollywood actor seeking a global megahit with effects that would impress Hollywood; probably the most promoted movie ever in India; and a sense that, regardless of whether the critics like the film or not, it is headed for box-office gold."

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