Movie Review: AvatarPublished by Clay Cane on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 at 10:30 am.
Summary: Humans try to destroy the peaceful alien planet of Pandora, which appreciates all things mystical and environmental. A new solider infiltrates the inhabitants, known as the Na’vi creatures. He is disabled in his human body but in his Avatar form he is a regular X-Men character. After learning the humble of the Na’Vi creatures, he realizes he must save Pandora from the greed-obsessed humans, not destroy it.
Review: James Cameron’s first movie since Titanic has a trite storyline with an original look — hey, you can’t get it all. Avatar is Pocahontas with a 2009 James Cameron remix. Nonetheless, the remix is so breathtaking that the undeniable typicality is forgotten once you are set in the animation that is so authentic; you would think you are watching built sets. Finally, someone has figured out how to properly use 3-D and computer-generated imagery… now if they could only add a solid script.
In the way that you don’t expect great vocals from Janet Jackson or Madonna, you can’t expect a great script from Avatar — like pop stars, this is about a production, style and an unforgettable film experience. For many critics, since the plot is low on James Cameron’s list of importance, no matter how beautiful the film is, it will still be a dud. Is all beauty and no brains a good movie? Hey, it works for Harry Potter.
As a student of history, I am a sucker for movies about the evils of colonization and human greed, no matter how recycled. Yes, Avatar is vapidly political, but it has enough sentimental punch to keep the audience invested in the Na’vi creatures, the fight for their land and an ending that is predictable about halfway through.
Cameron’s shameless use of Native American history, Apartheid and the Iraq War (one Sergeant with a Texan-like twang shouts, “Fight terror with terror!”) will always push people’s buttons. Greed, money and the need to teach people how to be “civilized” has deracinated relevant and important culture, which is Avatar’s overall commentary, regardless of how elementarily it is told.
Cameron wanted the animated characters to be as emotional as humans. In reality, the aliens have more compassion than the humans. The animated cast includes the voices of Zoe Saldana, who is turning into a sci-fi queen, and Laz Alonso.
Supposedly, Avatar is the most expensive film of all time and it shows. But with many films that have hundreds of millions of dollars slapped to it, the heart of the film loses itself in the excess. Funny thing, Avatar is about human greed and unnecessary needs, but considering the film is one of the most expensive of all time, it nearly makes Cameron’s “message” laughable. Alfre Woodard once said, “If you spend more than $40 million on a movie, it ain’t going to be about nothing.”
All of that said, Avatar is one of the best films of the year. Cameron managed to make the exorbitance work and took admirable risks in movie making. It gives a little hope that the laziness associated with CGI might come to an end because Cameron raised the bar. The good heavily outweighs the hokey.
Avatar is in theaters nationwide Friday, December 18th.