Aliens cause mental illness and other lessons from MSG: Lion Heart
MSG: The Warrior - Lion Heart released today and you're going to see a lot of reviews panning the film. This isn't one. I watched it first day, first show, and I have just one regret - that I forgot to wear my MSG 2: The Messenger hat I was given by the man himself during an interview last year.
As for the movie itself? It was well worth the watch and something I'd recommend to anyone. Well, except pregnant women and epileptics, but we'll get to that soon enough.
Okay, yes, it is terrible by regular standards
Now, when I went to see the craptastic Suicide Squad, I was upset. When I watched the terrible Batman v Superman, I absolutely hated it. Is MSG as bad as either of these movies? No. It's a billion times worse. In fact, it's like the first two MSG movies had a baby that was deprived of oxygen in utero.
But, unlike Suicide Squad or Batman v Superman, I didn't buy my ticket in the hope of an award-winning movie. I'd seen the trailer, as most of you had, so I was expecting an assault on the senses. An assault on common sense. And MSG, with the ample help of CGI, absolutely delivered.
So, no, it's not the sort of movie you'd see on a first (or second, or third) date. It's not the sort of movie you'd see with your family on that weekly jaunt to the cinema. But if you have a healthy appetite for the zany, aren't looking for moral messages and want to see a side-splitting comedic cringe fest, Lion Heart is, hands down, the movie you never knew you needed.
As the titles themselves made clear, MSG was 'A messenger' in his first two movies. A messenger of what? Apparently of god, even though what he really delivered were terrible song and dance routines and a whole lot of pain to a series of cartoonish villains.
But after two movies, whatever message he was bearing seems to have finally been delivered. Now, shedding the garb of messenger, he's a warrior. And not just any warrior, but 'the Lion Heart'.
Also read - Parodying a parody: how does one mock MSG?
In his new (old) avtaar, MSG is introduced as a super spy. One who dresses like a Hawaaian Shikhari Shambhu but with the sort of gadgets and gimmickry James Bond might have if Ian Fleming had been heavily inspired by Joy Alukkas' commercials, Rajinikanth and had lived through the psychedelic revolution instead of dying in 1964.
Sounds deadly? He is. Right at the start of the movie MSG uses his ridiculous weapons to destroy a small battalion of villains. He leaves the scene to meet his backup, waiting and watching their fearless leader from the shelter of a small hedge.
Of aliens and period epics
In the first MSG movie the villain were foreign agents. In the second, a backward tribal cult. Now, it's aliens hellbent on taking over planet Earth. But if the premise seems unoriginal, rest assured that the rest of the movie is anything but. The aliens, for example, seem to be at a an apocalyptic rave and wear jumpsuits emblazoned with LED lights.
While some would take off to fight the psychedelic space invaders, MSG recognises them...from three hundred years ago. This recollection, which any casual viewer would assume would span 5 minutes before getting back to the action, actually turns out to be the entire movie.
In it, we soon realise why the movie is called 'Lion Heart' - because he was a warrior called Sher Dil in an ancient Rajasthani kingdom. Here, with the assistance of his warrior sisters (who levitate and cut apples, don't ask) and a small army , he defeats an ostensibly Muslim villain and his herd of (actually) mad CGI elephants.
In the process he rescues good wholesome Rajasthani women from captivity, thereby currying favour with his kingdom's rulers.
There are dances in the rain, Rakhi celebrations with overtones of incest, a CGI cat stealing food from a hungry family, CGI, foot massages, more CGI, tender family moments. All of which, while cringeworthy, will also leave you in hysterics.
When the aliens finally show up they only add to the comedy factor. In the movie, they cause the most offensive portrayal of mental illness since Rahul Gandhi campaigning for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
3 Cs - CGI, Colour, Costume
The CGI in the first MSG movie was gaudy but not entirely terrible. Since then though, the quality has dipped, but MSG has quadrupled down on his use of it. No scene is complete without it and MSG even prefers it when the actual objects are possible. There's one scene where he actually shovels CGI mud.
He parts a CGI ocean, travels through CGI snow drifts replete with CGI polar bears, fights CGI monsters and rides CGI vehicles. In some scenes, his pants are so tight they might just be CGI-generated as well.
The colours in the movie are so bright and gaudy they seem to be an attempt to let the blind see the film. Even the alien spacecraft come in neon blues, greens, pinks and yellow. As do the aliens themselves.
Every costume seems straight out of a convention for gay wizards. The designs and colours would give peacocks a complex.
And it's all bloody fantastic. The movie is so abjectly terrible that it is completely hilarious and absolutely watchable. What makes it all funnier is the knowledge that nearly everyone around you in the theatre is a dedicated real life follower of MSG. I watched it in a packed theatre of MSG bhakts and their childlike amazement and bursts of applause had me cracking up the entire movie.
Rest assured you've never seen anything like it before and, while you may not want to see anything like it again, you need to see an MSG movie at least once in your life or you haven't lived.