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Review: Hero's tale 'Arjun' is charming

The animated mythological tale follows the maturing of an heir from trainee to hero.

May 25, 2012|By Robert Abele
  • A scene from "Arjun: The Warrior Prince."
A scene from "Arjun: The Warrior Prince."

The Indian animated film "Arjun: The Warrior Prince" — a mythological yarn from the Mahabharat about the maturing of an heir from naïve trainee to noble hero — could prove to be something of a treat for fans of the genre.

Though unmistakably computer-massaged, it has the design and polish of Disney's early '90s hand-drawn output, and none of the numbing frenzy of so much digital kid fodder. (Disney, in fact, is a co-producer on the movie with Indian studio UTV.)

Not necessarily for children, with its occasionally bloody depictions of sword-fighting violence, "Arjun" — which was directed by Arnab Chaudhuri — has the appealing air of something passed down through the centuries for good reason, awash in attractively epic, colorful renderings of vast kingdoms, intricate palace interiors and impossibly sculpted warriors against beautiful countryside.

The plot, told as a bedtime story to a restless boy, involves a fight for the throne, a mustached cartoon villain, an archery competition and a pretty nifty third act twist.

The animation is at times stiff and presentational, like a rushed rotoscoping job, but there's a charming majesty to the enterprise.

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"Arjun: The Warrior Prince." No MPAA rating; in Hindi with English subtitles. Running time: 1 hour, 36 minutes. At Regal Westpark 8, Irvine.

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