Saturday, December 19, 2009
Avatar: a Beautiful high-grossing corn ball film
If you are a colossal nerd such as my self, then as soon you heard that James Cameron was launching the most expensive movie ever made you began to salivate. Quickly you were in the first line to witness this spectacle. James Cameron has had an amazing track record. He reinvented science fiction more times then we can count, and created the highest grossing film of all time that also launch the brilliant careers of Leonardo Dicaprio, and Kate Winslet.
So is Avatar, the movie hailing the return of Cameron to big budget movies, worth every cent of the hefty 14 dollar price tag that you have to pay in order to sit with huge ugly 3-D glasses and look like a complete fool? A resonding "yes".
If you can get past how kind of corny it is.
Avatar tells a very old story. A story that western literature has been making since they discovered America. The idea of the noble indigenous, who is interconnected with the world around him, and the west who relays on technology coming to destroy everything the indigenous holds dear. Any one who has seen Fern Gully has seen the major plot points to this film.
Not one for subtlety, Cameron beams you in the head with his themes and allusions. The invaders are clearly Western expansionists and capitalist. The Navi (the blue aliens in this film) run the gambit between Native Americans, and Africans (I don't think one white actor was used for the motion capture for the Navi tribes). There are meta-physical undertones: we are all connected, nature is a separate entity that is able to reason and feel pain, etc. Even inter-species/racial love that is becoming more and more prevalent in this post-Obama world.
So we seen this fable. Yet unlike most big budget films, Cameron has been able to recreate this story that keeps us both grip and engaged. Avatar is a gorgeous film. The CGI created for that film is damn near scary sometimes how realistic it actual looks. You are stunned from the moment the protagonist lands on the world, and remains that way until the ending credits (which are shot in a breath taking arial shots of Pandora). Cameron has been able not only to redefine what it means to work with CGI, but what it means to create a film, and has set the bar for every film to follow.
It is also a shame that the CGI characters have a deeper emotional arch then some of the "acting" that has been seen recently in American media. Its hard not to feel a pinch at some of the expressions, the subtlety of pain and loss, and the exhilaration they feel. Yes there are moments when you are clearly watching a computer generated image, and there are moments when you are taken aback by how human these creatures actually look.
Avatar is a gorgeous film that has reinvented the spectacle of how movies are made. Though it is not as deep as it will make you believe it is, it is thoroughly enjoyable and will capture the imagination of theater goers everywhere. Just don't be disappointed when there isn't a gigantic pollution monster who sings a funk tune.
Posted by Optimus Negro