Film Reviews

AVATAR

By • Dec 19th, 2009 •

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An astonishing, breathtaking masterpiece. Cameron did it! Worth every penny spent, it will easily surpass Titanic’s box office. I think Cameron created a few new colors.

AVATAR will inspire us to actively find new worlds – not just scan the skies for radio signals. AVATAR will be seen as the cultural turning point towards the real push to finding ETs. AVATAR will change people’s consciousness of what another world might be like. It’s that important.

The 3-D is awesome. If you have seen the trailer – you haven’t seen a glimpse of what is to come. Cameron has created new colors. Everything looks real.

Be enthralled. AVATAR will be seen over and over again.

The year is 2154 and we have made incredible advancements in space travel. A huge corporation has found a moon called Pandora, 4.3 light years from Earth, that has an environment dangerous to humans but has a mineral that is worth 20 million a gram. A colony of Pandorans (the Na’vi) lives above the biggest cache of the mineral. The Pandorans are blue, enormous people with a spiritual link to their living planet. It’s a hive of people with bows and arrows.

Using DNA from a Na’vi combined with DNA from a select individual, the science arm of the corporation has successfully been able to merge a human mind into a genetically-bred, human/Na’vi hybrid receptacle called an “avatar”.

The program, created and run by Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver) has been successful but it is very expensive. When one of the trainees in the program dies before the transference is complete, he is replaced by his twin brother, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a paraplegic soldier who, if he fulfills his secret mission to infiltrate the Na’vi and expose their weaknesses, will be given new legs.

By day, a Na’vi; by night, a human. Sully never sleeps. The Na’vi know all about these “avatars” who have come to their world. They call them “aliens”.

They are also aware that there are humans in machines patrolling their terrain and doing mining work in the area. They have absolutely no interest or curiosity in the superior technology or civilization of the humans. The humans have not offered them iPhones or cable TV in exchange. History shows that a superior civilization always crushes a weaker one.*

Sully, as a faux-Na’vi, is tentatively accepted by the clan and is assigned Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) to teach him their ways. She is also the tribe’s leader’s daughter. Her mother is the priestess of the tribe. She’s royalty! And Neytiri is already betrothed to the next tribal leader and will also become the tribe’s priestess.

Putting up with this lamb-brain “Hearts and Minds” re-settlement approach to the Na’vi is Col. Miles Quaritch (Stephan Lang – all juiced up and spurting testosterone), who gives Sully an ultimatum: Get the Na’vi to relocate in 6 months or we will do a “Shock and Awe” on their Holy of Holies mountain. He’s itching to blow up that mountain.

But six months flying on his very own bird, jumping off mountains, and living in a world of colors and enormous beauty, Sully wants to stay. Instead of joining the other warriors and doing the manly things like hunting and ritualistic warrior games, Sully falls in love with Neytiri and learns the way of the Na’vi.

Can Sully get the Na’vi to move? How can he stay with Neytiri if the machine people go home and the Avatar Program ends? He needs his hi-tech coffin that is breathing life into his comatose human body. Right now, he’s a hybrid Na’vi. And, even if he were to stay and be “married” to Neytiri, can he mate?

Well, that’s my question.

Seeing the sophistication of the military arm of the corporation, it is impossible for the Na’vi to mount a defense.

The brilliance of AVATAR is the beauty of the details. It is visually stunning. There is no difference in the visuals – it is seamless. The truth is that every cent is up on the screen (the crew probably had to brown bag it from home). The 3-D is constant and at times, subtle.

Cameron puts us on Pandora. AVATAR is magic.

* Regarding Christopher Columbus’s 1492 “voyage of discovery”, in 1493 Columbus returned with an invasion force of seventeen ships, and appointed himself as “viceroy and governor of America”, a position he held until 1500. He promptly instituted policies of slavery and systematic extermination against the native Taino population. Columbus’s programs reduced Taino numbers from eight million at the outset of his regime to about three million in 1496. Perhaps 100,000 were left by the time of the governor’s departure. His policies, however, remained, with the result that by 1514 the Spanish census of the island showed barely 22,000 Indians remaining alive. In 1542, only two hundred were recorded. In summary, Columbus’s voyages launched a bloodbath.

The Spanish conquest of the Aztecs in 1521 was led by Hernando Cortés. Virtually all of Aztec culture was destroyed in the conquest. When the Spanish invaded Mexico and Peru, they wielded weaponry far superior to anything the Aztecs and Incas could have imagined. The 600 Spaniards who landed in 1519 carried firearms and small cannons, and rode horses, all of which terrified the Aztec natives. Cortés managed to subdue five million Aztecs with his tiny army. He also brought them the gift of the pox.

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