Baahubali — The Conclusion

Given my review of the first part and the mixed reviews I heard from others, I did not have too high expectations from this movie. The imagination of SS Rajamouli ought to be commended for sure. The ideas he comes up with in his movies are often very creative. It is just unfortunate that the VFX guys could not meet his vision, yet again. This time it was almost like the graphics department was not even trying.

The good

If there is an ideal king, that character has to be Amarendra Baahubali. The principles espoused by someone like him ought to inspire any kingdom to strive to be better versions of themselves. It is hard to imagine any actor portray this role other than Prabhas. He brings a certain flamboyancy and finesse that fit the character well.

Devasena is how a queen or princess, or any lady for that matter, ought to be — fiercely independent and brave. Anushka does a stellar job, matching and often doing better than Prabhas.

Amarendra & Devasena depict how any couple should be fearless and face the world as long as they do the right thing. They stand by each other no matter how great the odds and that is a good thing to show on screen.

Rana reprising his role as Bhallaladeva was stunning in how much he improved further since the first installment. Though portraying the primary antagonist, his acting was amazing, especially toward the end of the movie — his final scenes in particular. He has come a long way since his completely forgettable roles in Naa Ishtam & Nenu Naa Raakshasi.

The fight choreography was already amazing in the The Beginning but here in the sequel it is even better. I mistakenly credited this to the fight choreographer from the first movie earlier but thanks to Vishy, I now know that this was because of multiple internationally renowned specialists. The “flow” of moves in the fights was a treat to watch. There are some incredulous moves in the wars but let us chalk that up to creative thinking and enjoy them.

My recommendation

The things in the movie to not look forward to follow but then there are spoilers. Figured I’d pen this section first so those who are yet to see the movie don’t need to read beyond this part for now.

A decent movie with VFX that are nowhere near satisfactory. Definitely worth at least one watch at the movies, but not for more than regular price.

Warning: There can be some spoilers below.

The not so good

This has to be one of the biggest letdowns in terms of visual effects as so much more was expected. In the first part you could tell they worked hard to make the graphics look real even though they fell short of international standards. This time it was like they just did not care. Almost every instance of VFX you could easily tell the low quality of work. 
In the first few scenes of Bijjaladeva in the movie you can clearly see Nasser holding his fake arm through his shawl. And it is not just once. It is two or three times. That unfortunately will have to be on Rajamouli and the editing department.
Amarendra traversing the countryside to mingle with his people was VFX or not remotely scenic. It was quite dissatisfying to see Rajamouli did not care enough to shoot these in truly scenic locations that directors often travel to for pointless songs in other movies.
During the swearing in ceremony of Bhallaladeva, in one scene there is a soldier directly behind Amarendra. He is the only one in sight. Yet they did not see it fit to use a real person. Graphics were used which were far from good. It was like an angry animated soldier in #AgeOfEmpires.
I can go on and on but simply put, disappointing in this department to say the least.
I came across this interview with Kamalakannan, the VFX supervisor of this movie. Someone should clarify to him that the audience appreciation was mostly for the scene unfolding on screen at that moment, with the public of Mahishmathi going crazy over their adored leader. While the grandeur of that scene was great, the VFX were again not exactly top notch. I wonder what the reason was to part ways with the first movie’s VFX supervisor. Maybe his levels of acceptance for VFX were higher than Kamal’s. Kamal also mentions that VFX work was sent to Tashkent and Serbia and that they are nowhere on the VFX world map. Maybe that was also a factor for this movie to fall short of expectations in this area.

There was unnecessary comedic relief from Kattappa. For a serious warrior like that to be reduced to a comedy character for so long did not go with what he was portrayed to be. It does not sit well with his character from right when he was a young adult in #riseOfSivagami. Someone like Brahmanandam would have done much better in such a role, possibly as a tag along with Amarendra & Kattappa.

Dialogue delivery by Ramyakrishna had pronunciation mistakes. They could have easily been rectified with proper dubbing. Yet somehow Rajamouli did not deem it required before releasing the movie.

It was “Balakrishna”esque to see Amarendra face off against an entire army almost single-handedly without so much as a scratch but again, the fight choreography made it enjoyable. Maybe Rajamouli was using Legolas from #LordOfTheRings as inspiration for that part.

Devasena was among the best of warriors when younger. It would have been apt if the older Devasena also was given some fight sequences instead of showing her as a helpless angry old woman who stood by doing nothing in the face of war. Remember that Sivagami at the same age and with far less battle skills fought off guards to protect Mahendra Baahubali.

There are many more defects I can point out but you get the idea from all that is explained above. Look past these to enjoy the movie.

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