Arjun the Warrior Prince Reviews
I saw The Mahabharata (1989 live action film by Peter Brook), which I thoroughly enjoyed. This bad animation is nonsense in comparison.
Arjun is a young noble in training to be a warrior.
Opportunities arise to show that the training took.
About half way into the film, the consistent message is "he is not ready."
Then through his inaction, his family's enemies burn down their compound.
Through a contest, followed by a lot of hard work, their fortunes are restored.
Then he is a king dispensing justice. I do not believe that.
Then he plays a crooked game of chance and loses everything, including his princess. Brilliant. He bets again, with banishment for 12 years being his wager. Great. The city that he and his family built is lost. Amazing incompetence. His bride tries to galvanize him. He travels to the region of the gods to gain something or another. An old decrepit man beats the living daylights out of him. That was pleasant. We later find that old man to be Shiva in disguise.
By the time he was attacked by the army of demons from all sides, I was rooting for the demons to kill this useless waste of skin. Unfortunately, he lives and is rewarded with a fine bow by the Gods themselves.
He and his few friends plot to rid themselves of the scum who cheated them out of so much. Their plans are overheard, even though the wily Krishna was supposedly helping them.
The film jump-shifts to the enemies of Arjun feinting to draw most of his allies away, then attacking the heart of the stronghold where he lives. Just finding them will bring down 12 more years of banishment. Again, just incredibly clever. There are 3 men to defend.
Arjun, dressed as a woman, comes out with the local prince, Yuvraj, perhaps 12 years of age. They find Arjun's real weapons, and the one-against-an-army fight begins. Even in this, Arjun demonstrates his incompetence. He should have been slain three times or so.
The invitation to a sequel is made at the end. May it not be so.
Art/Animation: 2/10 The visuals do catch the eye, but not always in a good way. Too much of the action looks like the characters are on one layer, and the backgrounds on another. More than anything else, it looks like the 'flattening' of the layers for presentation was poorly thought out in terms of 3d light sources. The characters look disassociated for that reason. The backgrounds look great as backgrounds, while the character images look (barely) competent; the flattened final product, on the other hand, looks fake. The characters are often simplistic, rigid, and moving in odd ways as well as being ill-lit. This was a huge let down, an ongoing irritation that just never goes away. Clearly a great deal of effort was expended on the backgrounds. It is too bad that similar effort was not spent on making sure the final rendering did not throw that all away.
Sound: 8/10 OK. Loved the singing in the closing credits.
Screenplay: 2/10 The narration seems jumpy, and short on exposition. The Arjun character, the centre of the story, is just not believable as a hero, not believable as a king, not believable as an inspirational warrior capable of turning the tide of war. The camaraderie between Arjun and Krishna I was expecting seemed almost absent. The scene where Arjun shoots the golden fish is anti-climactic because there is less than zero motivation for it. He is portrayed repeatedly as a foul-up, a child, someone incapable of protecting his own. Then he does this mighty deed requiring great skill and huge strength? Are we viewers all supposed to be idiots who accept anything? The centre of the action remains re-enforcing the strongly etched image of Arjun's worthlessness up to about 70 minutes into the film. The last 24 minutes did not change that image.