Oscar Roundup- Part I

The 87th Academy Awards ceremony took place on February 22nd. I’m not a big movie buff- not the Oscar type of movies at least- but turns out I’ve watched quite a few of the winners. Blame it on the lack of non-alcoholic entertainment in Bangalore. Anyway, here’s my opinion of a few of them.

You can find the full list of winners here: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/feb/23/oscars-2015-list-of-winners

Big Hero 6 – Best Animated Feature Film

This is a Disney movie, but fear not, no talking animals here! The protagonist, Hiro, is a teenaged robotics genius living in a Japanese, uh, American futuristic city. His older brother Tadashi takes him to the local university, where Hiro presents his ‘microbots’ to the head of the robotics programme. Unfortunately, both Tadashi and the professor perish in a fire at the university.

Hiro is devastated, but soon realizes that his swarm bots are being produced by a mysterious masked man. With the help of Tadashi’s lab group, and his robot Baymax (who is a medical assistance robot that resembles a pillow with limbs), he sets out to find the bad guy.

Apart from the cool robots, this movie wasn’t especially good. Not up to Disney standards in my opinion. Skip it unless you’re a hardcore fan of animated movies or cute cuddly robots.

Interstellar – Best Visual Effects

No surprises here- the SFX in this movie are amazing. In fact, the people behind the CGI in this movie actually published a technical paper dealing with the visual representation of black holes. (If you want to know more about it: http://www.businessinsider.in/Interstellar-Animators-Discovered-New-Physics-While-Creating-A-Black-Hole-For-The-Movie/articleshow/45040889.cms).

The movie is scientifically accurate (or so the Internet claims), but it isn’t just for the physics geeks. Christopher Nolan is now well known for his twisty, sometimes dark plots. And Interstellar does not disappoint. It starts out at a point in the future when the earth is slowly becoming uninhabitable due to crop failure and unpredictable climate changes. Cooper, a former NASA engineer, runs a farm, but is dissatisfied with a society that seems to have abandoned scientific research in favour of basic survival. His young daughter, Murphy, is convinced that a ghost is talking to her, and fills a notebook with binary coded messages. Cooper realizes that they are location coordinates, and follows them to discover a secret NASA operation to find a new habitable world. He joins a team of scientists on their expedition, appropriately called the Lazarus missions.

Fast forward a decade or two, and Cooper is still in outer space, and feeling increasingly hopeless about the possibility of finding a new planet in time. Murphy is now a physicist, working on developing a way to launch space shuttles to carry the earth’s population to safety, but she is missing some vital information that can only be obtained from readings taken inside a black hole. With the help of some scientific almost-magic, Cooper succeeds in getting her the numbers just in time, resulting in a mass exodus from the earth.

This movie reminded me of the old classic Armageddon, probably because of the risky space mission and focus on the father-daughter relationship. Watch this movie on the big screen if you still can, preferably in IMAX.


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