I was impressed with the movie up until the climax scene. In fact while in middle of the gladiatorial scene in the rather strange second-half of the movie, I truly believed that the reviews were unfair to the movie (I still think they are to a certain extent). Selvaraghavan shows enormous amount of talent and creativity but has no discipline in sticking to one idea or story at a time. That climax scene, especially when sane men/woman with guns start dressing up in kavacha-kundalam, was the last straw that broke the backbone of my tolerance. Every listener expects a certain amount of discipline from the story teller. And there is very little discipline in this movie. Selvaraghavan reminded me of my father's bedtime stories to children. It starts with superman and spiderman, but soon they join forces with Hanuman and then Rajinikanth makes an appearance somewhere with some fair doses of Gavaskar and Indian Army thrown in. This movie is somewhat like that.
However, the movie has a very powerful tone and packs a strong narrative. It lingers on your mind for a while after you see it. Selvaraghavan is not known for his subtlety. He does not serve us nuanced stuff cut out precisely with a surgical knife. He takes an axe and beats us with a lot of rawness. So he is likely to evoke extreme reactions from audiences depending on whether you like this kind of rawness of not. I liked most of it. Some of the million ideas he undercooked in this movie were pretty good. The entire first half was very engaging. Now that I think about it Pudhupettai , another movie I loved from Selvaraghavan, was a also a case of good first half and an eccentric second half. I loved the eccentricities of Pudhupettai's second half than those of this movie. Having said that, I did enjoy this movie's second half because it woke me up from the coma caused by the medicority of recent thamizh movies. I only wished that he had shown more discipline to limit the second half to one or two ideas. In fact I think this movie would have been much better if he did not get the finances to make a mega budget movie.
Two other flaws that contributed to making an average movie out of this excellent concept with patches of awesomeness is (a) Casting and (b) needless CGI. To put it bluntly: women as an archaeologist and Army officer, that too in Thamizh cinema, look more irritating than funny. Thamizh cinema is the only place where you either have a boring Nasser as a psychiatrist/science-man/doctor or its straight to the other extreme where someone hot like Nayanthra etc plays a slutty psychiatrist. Reema Sen's introductory scene is unbelievable for its cheesiness and needless bandha. She does not fit that role at all. Neither does Andrea. Because they aren't regular women, they are 1.5 hot chics (Andrea isn't that hot..sorry) who can't speak the language. While I am okay with them stripping down, peeing in a vessel and sexing up Karthi etc, I am not taking their 'i only shoot with 2 pistols' military role and 'ola chuvadi' reading skills thing seriously. If Selvaraghavan had real integrity, he would have put a very good actor in both those roles and found a different way to get sexy chics some screen time. On performances, Karthi plays a role that connects the common movie goer to the characters in the movie. His character keeps the show very interesting and in the process he probably earns himself some star value.
The second flaw is graphics. I am not referring to the poor quality of the graphics shown in this movie. But to the fact that the director did not need them to get his desired impact. Whatever came floating out of the water was more funny than scary. Reminded me that good movie making is not about showing such creatures but making the audience feel them. Once you have fast-forward type scenes to make slow-moving chics appear as if they are quick moving action stars, you can be assured that the movie is doomed. Many times when these CGI thing appeared, I thought that Selvaraghavan could have clearly avoided this and still got the desired effect via some other way. This movie made me a little sad though. It had aspects that are underreprsented in Thamizh movies and those aspects are really entertaining to watch. To see them mixed with so much nonsense is extremely sad. I would recommd the movie though. It was never boring for a moment. I liked it.