Sunday, March 27, 2016

Avatar (2009) #review

When his brother is killed in a robbery, paraplegic Marine Jake Sully decides to take his place in a mission on the distant world of Pandora. 

It took me a very long time to get round to watching Avatar. Mainly it was the case of the film having way too much hype at the time of its release. Also, at the time, I’d had a lot of other things on my mind and going to the movies had been the least of my concerns.

By the time the film came out on DVD, it was a case of not being able to convince my SO that we should watch it. So yes, ever since 2009, right up until early 2016, I successfully avoided watching the film about the blue slightly feline alien people who hug trees.
I’m also aware, on the periphery, that there was a lot of bitching and moaning from various communities about stereotypes – especially the idea of the “noble savage” vs. “evil, greedy capitalist scumdogs with big guns”.

Did James Cameron have an agenda when he created this film? I suspect he did, even if he didn’t quite admit it to himself. Or even if he did, does it really matter? There’s a more than heavy-handed environmental message here to bash viewers upside the head. And yeah, some of the dialogue is a bit “Well, as you know, Doctor Bob, the unobtainium…”

Unobtanium. I mean, really? [Falls over. Dies laughing]

But then again, attempting nuanced dialogue in big-budget films when you’re aiming for a broad audience isn’t always possible. I guess. And knowing what I do about behind the scenes of big-budget films … things can be hairy. Sometimes simple is best.

But …

But …

What I can’t deny is that Avatar is a pretty film. A very, very pretty film. I’m almost sorry I didn’t get to see it on the big screen because the CGI, even years on from its release is still jaw-droppingly amazeballs. And the James Horner OST, though a bit schmaltzy, is pure loveliness. I am still listening to it on Apple Music.

Essentially, as I’ve read before, Avatar is Dances with Wolves on a moon with blue cat people instead of the First People. Privileged white boy somehow immerses himself into alien culture and succeeds in becoming their Chosen One. It’s pure, Marty Stu wish fulfilment in all its inglorious ridiculousness.

SJWs and the rest of the Regressive Left probably have a million reasons why this film franchise is harmful to XYZ and that James Cameron is a Very Bad Person.

If you’re looking for depth of character, grey areas, and a nuanced plot, then this is not your film. If, however, you just want to hold onto the ikran and let go to fall through the verdant rainforest, and discover a fantastically rendered world filled with dangerous beasts and insane vegetation, this is a lush, gorgeous film. And kudos to all the creatives behind the scenes in production and art department. You guys are amazing, and your work is beautiful. Also, any film featuring Sigourney Weaver rocks.

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