EEGA blu-ray review

India Region-free blu-ray

1080p Widescreen 2.35:1

Telugu DTS-HD 5.1, DD 5.1

Subtitles: English

IMDB

MOVIE: 9

VIDEO QUALITY: 7

AUDIO QUALITY: 9.5

ENGLISH SUBTITLES: 6.5

EXTRAS: 7

Once you get past the first thirty minutes of the Indian stalker-romance presented in Eega (which translates to “Fly” in Telugu), you will then be rewarded to an hour and half of the most creative revenge scenes put on screen that features a fly versus a man. By the time you reach the credits, you’ll forget that Eega had a cliched beginning and you’ll realize you just watched one of the most entertaining and original Indian films of 2012.

Eega’s first thirty minutes focuses on an annoying good guy who stalks a hot girl who is pretending to not like his creepy advances, but actually his buzzing blabbermouth makes her fall in love with him, even inspiring her to make micro-art necklaces shaped like vaginas. Also stalking this gorgeous girl is a psychotic criminal boss who is wooing her with his creepiness. Even if this evil Fonzie can’t seduce her with his smooth talking, Plan B is to rape her and most likely kill her, possibly not even in that order.  If the whole movie was about two creepy dudes courting this one woman, that would be your typical clichéd Indian romance film. Thankfully, director S.S. Rajamouli turns Eega into an absolutely entertaining movie with creativity that is rarely seen in Indian films. Out of jealousy, the creepy criminal kills the creepy good guy who is then reincarnated into a cute little CGI fly. While the CGI isn’t up to speed and reminds me of the Hollywood computer effects of 2004, the usage is charming and makes exciting cinema. The “birth” of the fly is one of the most beautiful, dreamlike scenes I have ever seen in an Indian film. As the fly pops out of his egg and remembers that he was once a man, we are treated to one of those Marvel superhero moments when the superhero first discovers his powers and practices using them. Instead of Spider-man, we get to watch Fly-man learn how to be a fly – practice using one’s wings, don’t get stepped on, stay away from hungry birds, and try not to fall into the criminal boss’ drink no matter how thirsty you are. I’ve seen a lot of insect documentaries over the years, but this 10-minute scene was certainly effective and I’ll think twice now about killing a poor ol’ stressed-out fly.

Once we see that the main characters are a fly and a villain, the movie instantly shifts into “Original Indian Film” mode. Remember those very satisfying revenge scenes in Jerry Zucker’s Ghost when the Patrick Swayze ghost starts scaring the shit out of Tony Goldwyn and Willie Lopez? Those were great moments in Ghost but those scenes were too short. In Eega, we get the majority of the film with those very satisfying revenge moments. While that may seem like overkill, it’s not, because this director has skills and keeps the story exciting and funny until the end. How can a fly take revenge on the criminal who killed him in his previous life? I’m not going to say – that’s the whole fun of this film.

The tone of Eega is an action comedy with some drama, which probably was a smart move for repeat viewings, but I would have been curious to see this type of film presented as an action drama. Had the first thirty minutes featured a likable leading man who had chemistry with the girl (as Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore had with each other in Ghost), the movie would have been more emotionally powerful. I couldn’t wait for the good guy to get knocked off because he was unrelatable, annoying and creepy, probably which explains why he was reincarnated as a fly. Once he is reincarnated as a fly, he becomes more human and likable. Sure, we root for the fly to cause havoc on the bad guy, but his thirst for revenge would have had a greater emotional impact if the audience actually felt sympathy for the human good guy who was murdered.

The uniqueness found in this Telugu film is not just in the beautifully-filmed action scenes starring a fly but also in the superb performance from actor Sudeep who plays the main villain (who’s also named Sudeep). Besides the rare factor of a villain getting a lot of screen time, Sudeep did some amazing work as he evolves from a cocky, sauve man into a raving lunatic. Sudeep reminded me a lot of Bruce Campbell’s comic and physical acrobatics in Army of Darkness. He had to act with nothing in front of him. The CGI fly was added in post-production. Theatrical and humorous it may be, his performance was not easy – especially since he had to convince the audience that a CGI fly was turning his life into a nightmare.

The Telugu Region-free Blu-ray from Aditya Video is a fair yet satisfying Blu-ray. The 1080p 2.35:1 image quality has quite a few issues – the contrast is quite off at times, which makes some dark scenes lose complete detail. DNR seems high as well but not to the point where faces look plastic. Day scenes and CGI fly scenes are bright and exhibit detail, but to be fair, the Aditya staff certainly needs some professionals to show them how to properly master Blu-ray video. At least this doesn’t look like an upconverted DVD – it just looks like an amateurishly-mastered Blu-ray. I’ve seen worse and I’ve seen quality that was distracting. Fortunately, the video quality did not distract me from enjoying this film. The DTS-HD 5.1 Telugu track however is awesome. Aditya got that right. Eega is action-packed with some cool sound effects since much of the movie is from the perspective of a fly. What bugged me more than the fair video quality is the watermarked company logo that pops up on and off through out the film on the bottom right side of the screen. Even worse are the sloppy English subtitles. A shmuck was hired to create them – it’s not my fault that reading the English subtitles was like listening to a narration of an Indian man negatively portrayed as a taxi driver or 7-Eleven cashier in Hollywood movies. Indian Blu-rays rarely have extras so I was quite surprised to see over two hours of extras on the DVD that comes with this Blu-ray. While not at the same level of extras found on videos from other countries, I was impressed. We get two hours of the making of the film, non-subtitled, but no subtitles are necessary. The audience gets to see how this film was made from many perspectives. Isn’t that a good extra? Also on the DVD is one of the film’s music videos and film trailers. Not bad and all Anamorphic Widescreen!

Director S.S. Rajamouli seems to excel in making movies about reincarnation. With Indian blockbuster Eega added to his resume, his other crowd-pleasing hits – Magadheera and Yamadonga – also dealt with reincarnation – a very cool niche for cinema. I hope he keeps up the good work and inspires more mainstream Indian filmmakers to put original ideas into their films. Eega is a definite must-see!

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