Dec 18, 2009
AVATAR - Movie Review - With No Plot Spoilers!
Well I just returned from the much celebrated and highly advertised Avatar movie. I had an enjoyable time watching this film (as I always do when I get a good seat in an uncrowded theater). The experience was heightened by the digital theater I saw it in and also by the 3D glasses.
Avatar was filmed with virtual cameras, so that the director could see the finished product, as it was being shot on the green screen. This is going to revolutionize the movie industry. I can't wait to see the worlds that will be unfolded with this kind of technology.
I know that at this point most of my readers have not seen Avatar, so I will not give away any plot spoilers. I thought that the special effects were great, especially when coupled with shots from New Zealand (where much of Lord of the Rings was filmed). It was very difficult to think of any of what I was seeing as CGI.
There is an indigenous tribe called the Na'vi that the main character, a paraplegic named Jake Sully, has infiltrated by using a real living avatar. There is no explanation of how the human can transfer back and forth from avatar to body. It is like logging in to the Matrix except that this is supposed to be real life and not a computer program. This should require the avatar to return to the lab to be logged out of its body but they do it from a distance somehow.
The movie itself felt like watching Dances with Wolves in Space. The humans are evil and want to kill the very "green" blue people. Even the tag-line at the end of the credits says that any similarity between the movie and real people or events is unintentional, although one can find a very purposeful connection to modern politics. We are told by the military in this movie that we must do a preemptive strike to fight terror with terror. This was an obvious reference to Iraqi since there were no acts of terror or any other mention of terrorism in the entire movie.
This is likely to become Al Gore's favorite Sci-Fi movie. The movie speaks of the "mother" of the planet (in the form of a goddess). It is said that there is nothing green on earth and that the humans had killed their mother (Earth). Apparently they were bent on killing the mother of the Na'vi too. James Cameron presents us with a world where all living things are one together (the force), one must be born a second time in order to be a full member of the tribe (Christianity), and the great mother provides neutrality but in a pinch can use power to aid her followers (Greek mythology/Buddhism/Environmentalism). They even commune with the souls of their ancestors.
Avatar is the best movie I have seen since 2012 and it may even be better. It has a great story of forbidden love woven in. All in all the movie is enjoyable and can spark some good discussions. Such as, why is a movie with a PG13 rating, violence, and a good deal more profanity than most current fantasy films being marketed in McDonalds' Happy Meals?