• Friday, April 12, 2024

Reviews

‘The Archies’ review: Film adaptation becomes a pointless piece of nostalgia

This Bollywood adaptation, which is available on Netflix, generated attention largely for launching newcomers with famous family connections

THE ARCHIES

By: Asjad Nazir

THE comic book-turned-animated series, The Archies, enjoyed popularity from the late 1960s to the early 1970s. This Bollywood adaptation, which is available on the streaming site Netflix, generated attention largely for launching newcomers with famous family connections.

The 1964-set story revolves around a group of friends living in a small town. They all have their own dynamics, including Archie being torn between Veronica and Betty. All of them come together to save a park that is vital to the community, from closure.

The decision to create an India-set remake of The Archies was curious, considering that the brand had faded from the collective memory and was unfamiliar to the younger generation it is aimed at. The result is a light-hearted teen musical that offers a picturesque setting, great costumes, likeable characters, and some catchy musical numbers, but lacks a coherent storyline.

Writer and director Zoya Akhtar’s attempt to westernise the narrative strips away the Indian essence, missing chances to delve into the era’s cultural depth and flesh out characters beyond superficiality. By focusing too much on the three star kids, who have arguably the least interesting characters, she takes attention away from the others, who all seem to have much more compelling things going on. One aspires to be a journalist, another is a genius hiding a secret, and one is looking at her career path. These supporting artists are also much better actors than the three leads, which makes it even more frustrating and uneven.

Agastya Nanda, Khushi Kapoor and Suhana Khan look good, but need to work on their acting. Vedang Raina outshines the star kids, but doesn’t have enough screen time. This musical would have benefitted from better writing and direction.

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