Saturday, January 30, 2010

Avatar - Really?

After 4 weeks of trying to get tickets and babysitting logistics straightened, we finally made it to see "Avatar" in 3D IMAX. I liked the IMAX screen, but the 3D experience was personally rough. The flimsy plastic in the glasses were not straight and distorted images, giving me a headache. Periodically, I had to take off the glasses to relax my eyes.

Is it worth seeing? Yes. Is it worth the hype? Not really.

The utopian planet that's been recreated is just luscious and gorgeous. During this time, I actually thanked the filmmakers for creating such a beautiful and creative landscape. I loved the stones that were naturally carved into perfect arches, the "hallelujah mountains." For the "humanoids", the design of having a tail that was like a "universal plug" into the earth was a cool concept. The connection of living beings to the spiritual world and the planet is beautiful. The experience of flying at high speeds is exhilarating.

Spoilers Alert!!

Can we make the characters not be such caricatures? The military colonel was pumped up with testerstone and conglomeration of every cliche of power hungry bully. It was interesting that they didn't depict a specific country leading the take over, but a corporation. We don't know exactly what was the benefit of the stone. It would've been more justifiable to say that stone would help repopulate earth or something like that. But, they left it at shareholder greed.

The indigo indigenous people were a mix of all the tribals known to general audiences - African and Native American. The filmmakers really stayed with the stories and practices of Native Americans. Maybe it's a purposeful action so the audiences can connect. But, you have tribals in all parts of the world that have nature based practices. I don't know why Na'vi had to hunt in the first place - they have a plentiful resources.

The action scene at the end reminded me of the battle scene from "Chronicles of Narnia." We already know about the "Dances with Wolves", "Pocahontas" and 'The Last Samurai" connections. There's also a nod to the "Transformers."

Also, we were flipping through the new "Planet of the Apes" on TV the other night. There's a part where Mark Wahlberg tries to inspire the human prisoners to revolt. He says human history is full of humans fighting back and succeeding. It would've been nice if the people from Avatar had tapped into human history and seen what happens when the land and its people are sacrificed.

When the Home Tree is destroyed, it conjured the Twin Towers falling. My friends pointed out it reminded them of Sadaam Hussain's statue being torn down. In case you missed those "subtle" references, the Colonel has to say they have to take "pre-emptive action" and "fight terror with terror". I loved how "Shock and Awe" is still going to be a phrase used century from now. So, if they did not want to identify a country as leading the effort, they just slapped a label on it.

But overall, this is a movie about race and white men taking over. Note - Sigourney Weaver is a white woman who wanted to pursue scientific and diplomatic options. Here's an interesting POV on the issue of "white guilt movies."

By the way, Mr. Cameron, in the future will there be a computer space station with no Asian techies on board? Are they still going to call India for tech support from Pandora? Talk about your fantasies!

I'm stealing this quote from an online forum:
Man, was it amazingly beautiful, but it's gotta be the first one-dimensional 3D movie I've ever seen.

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