Sunday, 25 September 2011

Avatar (4½ Stars)

Today I watched "Avatar" for the first time. Two years late. Why did I wait so long? The answer is simple. The whole hype about the film put me off. If someone tells me a film is great and I should see it I might watch it, depending on what I know about the person's tastes. If a few people tell me a film is great I almost certainly will watch it, to see what the fuss is about. But if almost everyone is telling me a film is great I rebel against the public opinion. I don't want to watch what everyone is watching. I want to be different.

Having said that, I have to admit that "Avatar" is a good film. It's not a science fiction masterpiece like "Terminator" or "The Matrix", but it's certainly better than the Star Wars films that I've always considered overrated.

I don't want to say too much about the content of the film itself. I expect most of my readers have already seen it. The premise is simple. A wheelchair-bound ex-marine is sent as part of an expedition to a remote planet called Pandora. With the aid of computer controlled biogenetics his consciousness is transferred into an artificial body which resembles the natives of the planet. While his mission is to infiltrate the native population for the purpose of mining valuable ore, he grows more and more sympathetic with the natives and their plight.


  1. I loved this movie but when I think about it objectively and really view it from outside the point of view of just any other fan I think of how this is almost like American History with a twist. Why? Well if you look at the story of Pocahontas and James Smith you see a lot of similarities with a few twists to the plot and the whole theme. The new explorer (a soldier/warrior/simple minded man (not stupid)) meets the princess of the natives who helps integrate him into their native society while he really wants a way to find a diplomatic solution to get the thing that his people treasure most (with James it was gold and with this one it's ore). She finds out the truth behind his original plans, they fight, there's a war between the two (the invaders and the natives) and he ends up helping the natives. The only difference between the stories is the ending which I won't give away but needless to say that the similarities are pretty clear. I wonder if they meant for that to be the case or not but nonetheless I think it's an interesting spin on a story that's already been told and it makes it new and interesting.

    The cast was very well done and I love the effects and cgi that they used to make it look so realistic (as realistic as giant blue tattooed aliens can look) and the story was both engaging and exciting. It even made me forget that the "story outline" was cliched and something I had seen before. So a definite favorite of mine.

  2. The cliches were obvious to me from the first viewing. But cliches don't necessarily make a film bad. I enjoyed it. I watched the interview with James Cameron (on the DVD) and he said that he was inspired to make the film because of environmental issues. The allusions to tropical rain forests is obvious, but like you say we also see references to native Indians.


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