art in all its forms

art in all its forms

12/20/09

There's a glow-in-the-dark forest in James Cameron's 'Avatar'


We might as well say it now: the only reason this film got made was probably because of the Hollywood clout of its director James Cameron.

As I started to fall asleep next to my sister at the Globe cinema in downtown Port of Spain (not the ideal spot to slumber, many will vouch) I started to think of why anyone would want to make this film, besides for the obvious money-making potential.

Avatar follows the coming of age of its protagonist Jake Sully (played by Sam Worthington). It's sometime in the future and  Jake's twin brother Tom has just died. Because Jake has the same genome as his dead brother, he can step into Tom's shoes in an ongoing project on a planet called Pandora. Sigh. Apparently, on Pandora, humans are infiltrating an native race called the Na'avi by--get this--plugging themselves (apparently via broadband) into alien-looking flesh suits called avatars.

What then follows is one of the most droll science-fiction films of all time, complete with all the stereotypes involved when an invading race confronts a wise, native race. It does not really help to note that the special effects are very good, because these days we expect special effects to be good; standards have long moved forward since Titanic. And while I am yet to see the film in 3-D (alas, Globe does not offer this facility) I'm not sure that really makes a difference to the film's inherent quality. Even if Cameron had lofty intentions with regard to increasing the use of the technology, his film still falls short.

Here is a near three-hour movie where the filmmakers attempt to wow us by creating plants that glow in the dark. We also have mountains that float (last seen in Gulliver's Travels) and weird jelly-fish butterflies. Things are brought into the frame for the purpose of spectacle, without the slightest attempt to make that spectacle original.

In between, there is some heavy-handed allegory about the environment and colonialism, which would have been interesting if the filmmakers really cared about these issues.

I am confident that I spoil nothing by saying nobody important dies and there is a happy ending. Characters in the film repeat the movie's tagline "I see you" ad nauseam, making me wish I hadn't in fact, gone to see Avatar. At least in Titanic the ship sinks in the end and Leonardo DiCaprio dies.

LISTEN to Leona Lewis singing the theme for the movie, 'I See You' here. READ a review from someone who loved the film here.

6 comments:

  1. A fair opinion, however I disagree. Usually being teh worst movie critic, Avatar has to be one of teh best that I've seen a long time. Your comparisons to Titanic are a bit unfair. A fairer comparison would be with another movie of similar plot or genre. These are two completely different genres of movies, appealing to emotions to different degrees. And I'm sure you can probably reference some other major blockbusters or classics films, but i'm sure they would be of a different genre. If you can compare with a more comparable movie, please do.

    This was obviously visually stunning, as you agreed, but similarly the cinematography and plot was excellent. The audience wasn't distracted by random tangent plots, nor unnecessary character development. Granted, the epic visualisation were a bit distracting at time, they did serve their purpose in drawing the audience into the movie.

    I will be recommending this to others.

    J.B

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have to agree with J.B. I'm not a filmophile, I get lost in books but not movies, but I was completely blown away by Avatar and that didn't have as much to do with the flawless animation as one would think.

    I loved the influences I picked up on, I adored the characters that message even. As corny as it sounds, I thoroughly enjoyed this film and have never felt so transported out of my own reality by a movie. Suspension of disbelief achieved.

    ReplyDelete
  3. avatar was the best movie i have seen

    ReplyDelete
  4. Andre,
    You need to enjoy the MOOD created by the film, not analytically look for "holes" in the plot. I'm not going to break down the movie bit by bit, but simply say that overall I fell in love with the alin world of Pandora and was also taken with the beautiful, green-skinned heroine.
    An EXCELLENT movie!
    Sean.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Andre I loved your review. The mood created by the movie is contingent on the plot and the audience member's perspective. Keep seeing the truth and not be swayed by big budget white guilt tropes.

    ReplyDelete
  6. If you had no connection what so ever to this movie then you are in fact dead inside. You are void of all emotion and should end your zombie existence now. And I'm not being sarcastic.

    ReplyDelete