Friday, January 22, 2010

Tall Blue Ewoks

My girlfriend and I finally got around to catching Avatar. We saw it in 3D at the local IMAX. Tickets have been selling out, so I bought tickets online a few days earlier. We got there early, but we should have gotten there even earlier. We ended up on the third row which is too close for IMAX. At least it was better than when we saw the latest Star Trek movie from the first row of the IMAX theater.

As pontificated around the Internet, the movie is visually spectacular. The flora, fauna and terrain of the alien moon Pandora are quite imaginative, although the floating mountains strains my suspension of disbelieve. Despite the uproar from both sides of the political spectrum, the plot is unfortunately a predictable yawner. The political right is a bit upset that the movie glorifies the killing of mostly white American-ish soldiers. The corporate mercenaries could easily be exchanged for American Marines or even easier for modern-day corporate mercenaries while the native Na'vi could easily be exchanged for Native Americans, Vietnamese, Iraqis or Afghans. (Yes, I had to check Wikipedia for the proper term (i.e. demonym) for the residents of Afghanistan. I wanted the term to be "Afghani" which turns out to be the currency and language.) On the political left, the complaint is that Avatar is just another movie about a white guy saving the natives in the vein of Dances with Wolves.

In fact, Avatar really does seem to just be a remake of that Kevin Costner epic but with large blue humanoids playing the part of the natives. There is also a good dose of Apocalypse Now (Pandora seems a bit like Vietnam) and Return of the Jedi (primate natives fighting technically advanced invaders, just swapping the tall, blue Na'vi with small, furry Ewoks) and a healthy dash of Braveheart (again natives, both blue, fighting more advanced invaders). Of course, James Cameron seems to have something for Sigourney Weaver and mechanical, exoskeleton suits, just not together in this movie.


  1. I still think they look like cats with their noses.

  2. I haven't decided about seeing this. I'm inclined not to because I feel like as a film maker Cameron isn't about anything other than
    "Bigger and better to make lots of money." It's not about a story or an art. And I HATED Titanic. So many people said "Oh it's visually stunning but the plot sucks." I'm not sure that is enough to make us want to see it. Instead we stayed home and watched Zombie's Halloween II. (Husband's birthday choice.)

  3. If they're cat people, doesn't that just add to the list that Avatar has ripped off? "Thunder, Thunder, ThunderCats... Ho!"

  4. From a guy's perspective, Titanic completely depended on how you approached it. If you were resigned to a Leonardo DiCaprio chick flick, it turned out to be a pleasant surprise with some action. If you were expecting an epic disaster flick then you'd be sorely disappointed to discover it's just a girlie movie.