It is very difficult to point out what's good in the film as there is so much ameturishness and mediocrity in it. Anyways, here it goes. The film has been nicely shot and cinematography by Natty is top notch. The VFX work to create lilliputian characters and the giant tortoise is commendable. Vijay's dancing skills are a relief in otherwise lackluster songs. Vijay has great comic timing and is ably supported by Thambi Ramaiah and Sathyan. Few action scenes in the film have been brilliantly shot like the fight between Vijay and the giant, on top the maze of pointed needles at the courtyard. And the scene where Vijay walks through the hell fire and comes out unscathed is praiseworthy. But alas these scenes are few and far in between.
BUT THEN THE BAD THINGS !! Now where should I start? The clichÃ©d plot of the film borrows all the fantasy elements from previously made hit films and knits an incoherent screenplay without putting much thought to the proceedings. The lack of novelty could have been ignored if the treatment of the story was fresh and entertaining. But the film plays out to be unintentionally hilarious all thanks to the makers who consider fans as 8 year old kids high on candy. There is no doubt that Puli is U rated as it is apt for 6-8 year old kids and it assaults our intelligence with kiddish stuff. I mean mild comedy with lilliputians and a giant tortoise barfing might make kids giggle but it feels like WTF to us adults who have grown up watching classic fantasy films like Chronicles of Narnia. Even if you try to look over the wafer thin plot, you are attacked by garish make up and tacky costumes. VFX is not the highlight of the film as it seldom appears to be of high standards. Sridevi, who makes her comeback in Tamil films, has absolutely nothing to do other than look arrogant and evil. While her costumes might give you creeps, she hardly has 15 minutes of screen time and has less than 10 dialogues in the film. It baffles me why a veteran actress like Sridevi resort to play such a demeaning and worthless role. Kiccha Sudeep, the Kannada superstar, who impressed us in Rajamouli's Eega is stuck in a typical villainous role. His role is so poorly written that it makes him look like mere caricature. Sudeep and Vijay's climax fights might induce a few unintentional laughs. Shruti Haasan plays sleeping beauty in more than half of the film and despite of her beautiful looks, her harsh voice makes you wanna close your ears. Hansika is there in the film for namesake as she just adds glamour in couple of songs. Coming to the songs, Devi Sri Prasad's music is not that great and it becomes very hard not to walk out of the theatre during the long drawn song sequences. The film is too long and has very little meat to hold it through for two and a half long hours. The jokes in the film are at times so childish that it makes you laugh at the film instead of laughing along with the film. Overall, it is a pathetic attempt at fantasy filmmaking by Chimbu Devan.
You must have heard the caption 'Save the tiger'. Well this tiger aka Puli is sure to be hunted down by critics and I advice you to save yourselves and stay away from Vijay's Puli if you want to maintain your sanity. I am going with 3 stars for Puli just for the sake of Vijay's earnest efforts and one or two stand out scenes.