Avatar was a movie then when first released, didn’t win me over. I thought it was the hype movie of the year and frankly… it was. I think never saw a hyped movie since Return of the King. Saying that, I kind of skipped over watching it on the theaters, but recently, the opportunity presented itself and I ended up watching the movie.
The movie is good. It’s not Smurfahontas as I first thought it would be, and honestly, they don’t try to force the metaphor down your throat as much as they thought they would (don’t get me wrong, they do force it, but not so many often). It’s a somewhat predictable story of a handicap that goes into a machine and becomes a blue alien (Na’vi) and at first is there to convince the aliens to move to other place, so that the human race can get the Unobtanium (which is the most absurdly obvious name ever. That took me out of the movie), then falls in love and becomes part of the tribe. This story has been told a few times, but here is where they excelled:
First off, the Chekhov’s guns are everywhere. If you do not know what a Chekhov’s Gun is, it’s when something is brought up kind of out of nowhere, are forgotten for a period of time, only to be brought out as a solution near the conclusion. The biggest one is the Toruk one, the bird. There is this giant bird, and someone had to say “only the mightiest guy like ever rode one, and it was a big deal”, and you knew then that the protagonist was going to ride one of those suckers. But incredibly, although Chekhov’s guns usually bother me, this one didn’t do that so much. I was evidently aware of the fact he was going to ride one, but just the expectation of “how he was going to do that?” helped a lot.
Second, Stephen Lang as Colonel Miles Quaritch. That guy is awesome. I’m usually not so into the Guile type of character, the military man that won’t stop for anything, but I think his over the top performance helped the movie a lot. On the first day of work, he was cocky because he survived some war and got hit. Since then, he knows these guys are merciless. And he’s paid to win a war, not to try finding the best solution. He was not trained to bring peace, he was trained to kill as many people as he could, and you can see that. He’s not used to going into a battle to lose, and will do anything for that cause.
Third, Pandora. The setting is fantastic. Most things, although unpractical, like that insect that flies while swirling around in circles, are pretty and luminous. You really start to get into the whole idea of the world. When the night falls and the protagonist’s torch is thrown into water, and you see that everything is fluorescent, you really get awestruck. The sort of rhino is cool, the sort of panther is cool, the sort of eagle is cool, and that strange tree sperm (that’s the only thing I could see from that) was somewhat interesting.
But here is where they failed:
First, although I agree that the animals in Pandora are cool, they are just bizarre modifications of animals that exist here on earth. I would love to see something completely different. Like, maybe their mount would be like… a frog. Why not? Or something like a frog, but with wings. Go bizarre with it, you know? You have, at your disposition, a planet, but they decide to go and do some pretty basic creatures.
Second… the Na’vi. I spent the whole time of the movie seeing the Na’vi and thinking: “That is so lame…”. There is the complaint I did before: they are so normal, a head, two arms, two legs… why not do a Centaur-type being? Or maybe a flying species. They had at their disposition a chance to create a race, to play god, and do big blue humans. And it’s so completely fake. I’m not sure if it could’ve been done better, but come on… I think what killed it was the excess of detail. I couldn’t believe for one second that this could be an alien race… it’s so heavily dependent on CGI that, although the world was awesome, the Na’vi sucked. The whole mythos behind them was cool, but they themselves? Come one, they were terrible.
Third, and my biggest problem in the movie… was Giovanni Ribisi as Parker Selfridge, the administrator of the place. I tried hard to achieve a sort of suspension of disbelief during the movie, and for most part it worked. But when this guy showed up, all my effort went out the window… as an administrator of this place, this guy should try to balance the two sides of his station: the biologist side, that wanted a pacific solution, and the military side, that wanted to nuke everything. But he doesn’t. He thinks with the law of stupid. And some may say: “He’s only behind the profit, you know”… he’s not. The first thing in the movie that is said is the time distance between our planet and theirs: 5 years. It’s a 5 years trip. With that being said, laying waste is not a viable option! Why? First of all, they don’t have a mining crew in between them, so if they were able to take the unobtanium, they would still have to wait 5 years so that they could take the Unobtanium. But imagining that they already have them there, in the five years that it takes for every transportation from Pandora to Earth would be 5 years long. In 5 years, by the number of Na’vi that are shown in the movie, they could kill every human there. Bullets end, bombs are finite, they don’t have easy resource. And this guy acts like the world’s biggest asshole, not even comprehending what killing a tree in this planet means. I thought that, to be on his position, they would hire someone that wasn’t an intern from an administration college degree, they would hire someone psychologically stable to do these decisions. But the guy act like a baby the entire movie. And even when they could push ANYTHING to be his reason, he acts by the power of stupidity.
So, do I recommend it? Yeah, I kind of recommend it, but two things: don’t believe the hype and this movie has no depth at all. Although some would differ, I still believe that this movie is a no-thinker. And for you who believe that this movie is deep, answer me this: what does unobtanium do? Why is it so expensive in the market? It’s rare, no doubt, but so are Eskimos. Just that fact made the movie lose some credit to me.
This is JotaKa, signing off.