Adipurush movie review & film summary (2023)


Recent complaints from frustrated employees of Marvel’s visual effects studios make it easier to understand why an SFX-driven event title like “Adipurush” could cost so much and still look so bad. It’s harder to understand how the makers of this movie could be satisfied with key establishing scenes, like when Janaki swoons as she and Raghava are romantically encircled by a flock of poorly-rendered pink flamingos.

Some musical numbers, especially the ones featuring Janaki and Lankesh, also suffer from dramatic inertia given that so much of the characters’ movements only highlight computer graphics that make the theatrical cut of “Justice League” look polished. There’s the ersatz and seemingly literally-translated poetry of the song lyrics and expository dialogue. And then there are the totally bogus visual effects that make everything, especially the uninflected facial expressions of a normally generous ensemble cast, look like video game cut scenes. “Adipurush” has layers of problems, in other words, though it’s hard to imagine that most viewers will be able to squint past the movie’s unreflective surface problems.

There’s some hope in the end, but only if you’re inclined to see “Adipurush” as one of a few trend-chasers, whose many generic elements call back to everything, including HBO’s “Game of Thrones” series, Peter Jackson’s original “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and yes, Rajamouli’s “Baahubali” two-parter. Scenes featuring the pure-hearted simian god Bajrang/Hanuman (Devdatta Nage) also shamelessly crib from the recent Andy Serkis-led, motion-capture-focused “Planet of the Apes” movies. The derivative nature of these oft-cribbed elements doesn’t matter as much as this movie’s dramatically flat-footed presentation, which only sometimes picks up during the big showdown between Raghava, Lankesh, and their respective armies. 

“Adipurush” only really feels like a movie that was directed and not just covered during its slowly escalating finale, which pits Raghava, his brother Sesh/Laxmana (Sunny Singh), and Bajrang against Lankesh and his superhumanly fast second-in-command, Indrajit (Vatsal Sheth). Some of us looked forward to “Adipurush” because it was directed by Om Raut, whose “Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior” also pulled itself together during splashy, climactic battle scenes. “Adipurush” still looks rough and moves gracelessly even during slow-motion battles, but at least the narrow focus of these concluding scenes gives the movie some dramatic tension.

It’s hard to otherwise imagine a moviegoer who, just looking at what’s presented in “Adipurush,” will be satisfied by this underwhelming spectacle. Everybody on-screen swims about a vast computer-generated wasteland lost in maxi-sized roles that dwarf their singular qualities. Everything is big here, but nothing looks grand. 

Now playing in theaters. 

You can view the original article HERE.

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