I’ve got to admit, I’m feeling mildly impressed.
Seriously impressed …
Because Allison, I, Movie Night Adrian, and Kevin Z, have all happily been watching the James Cameron opus that is Avatar, tonight.
I’m not too sure that Dr Kevin was entirely stunned, but seemed to have enjoyed the company, if nothing else …
If that’s not too harsh, Kevin … ?
But, at any rate, I can see what Kevin D mean’s, when he said he loved it.
It’s certainly a visual treat.
Plot wise, though?
I can see how some people could — reportedly — extract the proverbial urine.
It sees Jake Sully, a paraplegic war veteran, join a joint corporate/scientific/military mission to an Earth-like moon of an unnamed gas-giant, where he has to operate an avatar — which is what gives the film its title — in order to both gather intelligence on the native Na’vi people.
You can see the plot from here, can’t you?
Suffice to say that things don’t go as his corporate and military employers would like …
Now, I’ve got to admit, I liked Avatar …
There is tons in there, if you’re going to dig around for it.
And I’m being fairly literal, there.
I mean from the (fairly obvious) food for thought about how we in the West have dealt, over the centuries, with various indigenous populations: all the way from the Native Americans, to the various Pacific Islanders.
To the fact that this is, from where I’m sitting, a train spotter’s delight of a film: the various effects house who worked on this included — but isn’t necessarily limited to — Weta and ILM, for starters.
Oh, and a lot of people seem convinced that Pocohontas was a big influencing factor.
I couldn’t swear to that: I could equally point to Fern Gully, at this stage.
With a few touches — in one of the later set-piece speeches, and the idea of stopping abuse of a planetary ecology, for religious reasons — of Dune. (Which tickled me, actually, one of the backers involved was called Dune Productions, I couldn’t help but notice … )
And the various flight sequences, on the various native creatures I didn’t catch the name of, but couldn’t help think of as dragons … ? Well, I think that maybe James Cameron owes Anne McCaffery a bob or two … !
And I couldn’t help but noticed that the design of some of the gunships look similar to something else I’d seen …
Actually, that’s possibly why Avatar seemed somehow to be pushing my trainspotter buttons.
It strikes me that Cameron, here, is quite possibly, trying to re-tell the story in one of his earlier successes.
I’m thinking, here, of Aliens.
Both involve alien species that could — could, I should stress — be seen as bad for humanity.
Both involve intense military action, sponsored by a big company, on a far off colony world.
That eventually gets thoroughly trounced.
But, whereas the earlier film sees the military as brave soldiers doing a dangerous job, Avatar sees the military as a catastrophe for the natives.
Something I feel Avatar attempts to redress, in the defeat the military eventually sees at the hands — or pony tails — of the Na’vi.
Does that make Avatar a bad film … ?
Not necessarily, I think.
OK, granted it has a “Lets Not Knacker The Natives or Mother Earth” message that some may find a touch irritating.
And there’s one or two design niggles that grabbed me: including one for the planetary exobiologist reading this*.
But it’s none the worse for that.
Let’s face it, science fiction has often tried this, Avatar’s maybe a touch more obvious than most.
But, for all it’s length, it’s a film that does try to tell an entertaining story.
And does that, very well.
* It goes like this. The Na’vi had two arms, two legs, a head and a tail, Every other creature we see on Pandora has EITHER four wings and two legs and a head and tail, OR four arms and two legs and a head and tail OR six legs and a head and tail. See what I mean, there … ? Granted, that’s me being niggly. But if you’re going to spend that much money on making a movie …