Bollywood takes on the Archie comics in Netflix’s clever and creative “The Archies.”
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“The Archies” Film Summary
“The Archies” is a colorful adaptation and energetic tribute to the 1950s Archie comics. From the gorgeous animated opening to the glamorous musical numbers, “The Archies” honors the classic characters while effortlessly infusing glam and political commentary about India. Written and directed by Zoya Akhtar, “The Archies” is an ambitious 2-and-a-half-hour musical with a lot to say and sing, but stays fun the whole time.
Set in 1960s India, Archie Andrews (Agastya Nanda) is an aspiring musician and rockstar in Riverdale, a community for Anglo-Indians who fought for their freedom. Archie surrounds himself with friends who embark on adventures and parties every day. There is his affluent ex, Veronica (Suhana Khan), his best friend and food lover, Jughead (Mihir Ahuja), the cool clown Reggie (Vedang Rana), and the sweet and caring Betty (Khushi Kapoor). Archie may love his friends in his small town, Riverdale, but he dreams of leaving for London and becoming a huge rock star.
Unknown to Archie and the gang, Veronica’s father is in the process of buying multiple small businesses around Riverdale as he plans to erase much of the town’s history to open a hotel. In the middle of confronting their own growing pains and complicated romances, Archie and friends take the initiative to try to stop Veronica’s father from getting rid of Greenpark’s existence.
“The Archies” is filled with all the classic characters from the comics and strives to do justice to all of them. But by staying true to the characters and trying to give them each a subplot, “The Archies” sometimes gets in its own way to the finish line. If you’re a fan of musicals, you won’t find a more crowd-pleasing time than this Netflix streamer. “The Archies” works and plays hard to win over its audience and create some hope in this world, and if this is Akhtar’s intention, then “The Archies” leaps across its goal with ease.
Other Noteworthy Information
- This is an Indian adaptation of the U.S.-based Archie comics.
“The Archies” Character Descriptions
Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member.
Archie is a charming young man who dreams of becoming a musician in London. Archie has plenty of friends and lovers, but finds himself in a horrible predicament when he flirts and develops a crush on both Veronica and Betty. Furthermore, Archie is torn between dreams in London and helping his friends and family in Riverdale.
Betty is a shy and considerate friend of Archie’s, who also happens to be in love with him. Unfortunately for Betty, her best friend, Veronica, also loves Archie. Tensions rise between Betty and Veronica as they contend over the same man and their family’s businesses clash.
Veronica is Archie’s ex-girlfriend, but they still hold a special place in each other’s hearts. Veronica comes from wealth, but she becomes increasingly conflicted as her father starts buying out multiple businesses and changing their small town.
As Archie’s best friend and insatiable foodie, Jughead tries his best to talk sense into Archie when it comes to women. Unfortunately for Jughead, he’s terrified of women.
Reggie is the town’s greaser, and while he may look like a bad boy, all he wants is to write jokes for a living. Reggie’s father is a journalist and presses him to write about more serious topics, but Reggie isn’t inspired to write about anything yet.
“Stop being mean to Archie!”
“Everyone’s entitled to a hobby, my darling.”
Our Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)
A Burst of Joy in Costuming, Set Design, and Choreography
Due to its bright costumes, gorgeous sets, energetic choreography, and swift camera movements, “The Archies” feels like a shot of dopamine. On a technical level, this Netflix musical shows a film crew at the top of their game as viewers are thrown into this fantastical world and spun around with joy. The camera maneuvers and brightness of “The Archies” never feel vain or self-indulgent; each attention to detail immerses us further into Riverdale and the 1-2 steps of its dancing feet.
A Creative Union of History and Fantasy
From the start of Archie’s narration, the movie firmly plants itself as a fusion of India’s colonial history and a love for the Archie comics. This combination may initially seem baffling, but “The Archies” easily adapts the dramatics of teen romance and uses history as context and purpose for a new generation of activists. By uniting history and fantasy, “The Archies” enriches both.
On The Fence
Stuffed Plot Could Make “The Archies” Feel Even Longer
Musicals have a tendency to have a thin plot to make room for the show-stopping dance numbers. “The Archies” stuffs itself with multiple storylines, love triangles, family drama, and political arguments that sometimes make “The Archies” feel disjointed and like it packed a full season of drama into a 2-hour story.
Newcomer Agastya Nanda plays Archie with bright-eyed earnesty, but Archie as a character is rarely the most interesting person in the room and is constantly frustrating with his glibness towards women. While Archie shows growth throughout “The Archies,” his journey makes him one of the more immature and privileged characters in his own movie.
Also Worth Mentioning
- Much of the cast are newcomers whose film careers are just beginning.
Who Is This For?
Fans of musicals, Bollywood, the Archie comics, or just wanting to see something happy might enjoy “The Archies.”
|Ayesha Devitre Dhillon, Reema Kagti, and Zoya Akhtar
|Based On Work By
|December 7, 2023
|How To Watch
|2 Hours, 24 Minutes
|Noted Characters and Cast
Content Rating Explanation
“The Archies” is rated TV-14 due to teen romance, some threats of violence, and adult themes.
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