27 December 2009

Avatar Review

Avatar is truly magnificent achievement, the way I expected it to be. And I am not talking about the depth and the meaning of the story, the complexity of the plot or the tangibility of the characters. The movie is far from being flawless, there are so many things wrong with it I can't even attempt to list them all. But the experience is completely sweeping and mind blowing, James Cameron manages to control and manipulate the emotional investment of the viewer, directing him into the places he wants to. And the main thing director James Cameron wants, by creating such enjoyable fantasy fairytale, is to entertain.
Sure he chose the easy way out, retelling so painfully familiar story about the clash of the opposite civilizations. One that seems to live in peace and harmony with its surroundings, contributing to the nature more than taking from it, even on the expense of intellectual development, and the other is cold and technological machine society, with deteriorating spiritual and moral values, tending toward violence and destruction without even realizing the meaning of what they are doing.
But the way he chose to recycle such story, even if using huge amount of highly abused cliches, is simply breathtaking. The visuals and the vortex of colors in 3D were lacking just Smell-O-Vision to feel completely real.
Every second you run your eyes on the screen with silent joy from the richness and the virtuous complexity of the frame composition. Every minute you see something new and astounding, every minute you feel like invisible ghost floating inside this world, and you don't want to leave. Truly, the level of escapism and dream-state was taken in this movie to the whole new heights.
And it's not like Cameron is not trying to appeal to your intellect as well. In very modest way he creates some plot complexities as well, like the obvious conflict between Jake and Colonel Quaritch is spiced by their similarity. While Jake uses his Avatar as a tool, same way Colonel uses the mecha-robot, they are both people inside their Avatars according to their liking. But while Jake does it to feel real, to escape the depressing reality of his own body, Quaritch uses his own Avatar to get more power, to enhance his body even more. Not to mention that Jake's Avatar is a living being, and the other is cold metal war machine. There are other attempts to such ambiguity, I have to admit that the script is not completely dumb, it would not be so interesting and enjoyable to watch this film otherwise.
But the main problem of this film is not even the predictable story, not the emphasis on emotional sentimentality and not the extremely cheesy kitsch, it's all being delivered with cozy grace and hence quickly forgivable, the problem lies in something else. When you loved the movie you just watched, you often find yourself staring at the screen during the credits, digesting the experience you just went through. I always like that feeling of the film's ending through the credits, it's a sign of the impact. With Avatar it just didn't happen. You finish this film and off you go, credits or not. Many think that this film will be forgotten in a few years, and they're probably exaggerating, but for this film it will not be easy to stand the test of time.



  1. I watched it today and the experience was definitely enjoyable. But it left few subjects to trace back to and discuss. Nevertheless watching this blockbuster is worthwhile.

  2. Indeed. The film has multiple weaknesses, including the demonization of human race, that felt crude and lacked more background to be more believable. The same with Jake's ability to recruit more of the natives from other clans. It seemed almost too naive and a bit cringing to watch.

  3. I don't totally agree with you when you say that "you finish the film and off you go". I agree in the sense that I didn't want to stay in the theatre room during the end credits, but I don't agree because the reason why I didn't want to stay was that I wanted to go running and look at the world.

    I know it can seem really stupid and naive to say, but when I got out I really had the sensation that I wasn't the same, and I watched it four times since, and every time it was the exact same effect !
    For me, the only problem that Avatar may have to be a movie that will stay in the future, is the fact that it absolutely needs to be watched on the biggest screen possible, but I am very curious to see how it will get old...

  4. Nicely put, I see what you mean.

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