Thursday, December 24, 2009
Every year has the "big movie." The film that a visionary director has spent years of his life and countless millions of dollars to create. James Cameron, director of Avatar, is no stranger to this, having directed some of the biggest movies in American Film (see: Titanic, Aliens, Terminator 2).
In Avatar, an uber-company of Humans have traveled to Pandora, the moon of a distant planet to mine for a lucrative mineral, the not-so-creatively named inobtainatron (get it? in-obtain-atron). There they battle the moon's hostile elements and even more hostile indigenous inhabitants. A large source of the mineral is located underneath the principal habitat of the Na'vi and in an attempt at diplomacy, artificial Na'vi bodies have been grown through which humans can walk talk and mingle via some sort of cerebral link i.e. Avatars.
It hits the fan when Jake Sully (Terminator Salvation's Sam Worthington) one of the Avatar "drivers" becomes too attached the the Na'vi way of life and the company loses patience waiting for a peaceful relocation and decides instead to speak softly and carry a big stick.
The years of time and countless millions referred to above manifests itself in the EXTENSIVE computer generated content and motion capture technology. James Cameron has been oot and aboot in Hollywood touting the breakthrough in CGI technology and the "new way of film." To me frankly, it still looks like a cartoon.
That is not to say that the visuals are not impressive. Pandora's landscape is vibrant and it's creatures are imaginative. The Na'vi are the essence of grace and the war scenes are high octane fun.
It is a shame though that Cameron couldn't have spared a portion of his estimated 300 million dollar budget to write a twisty and engaging storyline. Avatar is a glorified, futuristic Pocahontas story. Every event in the movie follows a logical pace that is both predictable and comfortable. The foreshadowing is blunt, the right people die, the right people live, the right people fall in love, and everything unfolds in the right chronological order that you would expect.
That's not to say that this was a bad movie. I was entertained, and while I have my moral qualms about green-screen heavy films and its bastard child 3-D I was nonetheless impressed with what they were able to do VISUALLY, I just wish that the storytelling aspect could have had a little more depth. A few surprises and a good plot twist and this would have been a movie to withstand the test of time. As it is, it makes for a good friday night over the christmas break. B