Avatar (2009)


After the DVD release of Avatar and the overbearing presence on T.V., I’ve realized how quick it ebbed and flowed: it is not a movie you can watch over and over again. The purple shimmer of the wild-forest now seems unimaginative; the raw emotion and power of Jake Sully’s commanding now seems cheesy. And the whole concept so redundant and copied. But man, the first viewing in the theater was one of the best visual experiences ever.

The story follows paraplegic soldier, Jake Sully, played by Sam Worthington, who enlists in the avatar program after his twin-brother dies; the avatar science, costing millions, cannot just let an avatar go to waste, biologically toned only to Sully’s brother, however, since they are twins it seems to work also for Jake. Then its a game of pick your interests for Jake, whether or not he wants to help the scientists or the Military and their destructive agenda, Colonel Miles Quaritch played by Stephen Lang, who wears a Naavi’-induced scar across his temple, and likes it.

The CGI technology of Avatar is no doubt innovative and groundbreaking; the impact can be seen by the box office, because a movie that brings in more than 700 million is not done from repeat viewings by fan-boys. People who rarely see movies came out to the theater for this blockbuster. The world is not green-screen painted, like Jackson’s Lord of the Rings,  it is three-dimensional and drawn-out; each specimen, flora, and fauna had to be specifically thought-out, Director James Cameron says. On first viewing, it is magical, yet on the third viewing one starts to see a pattern: Nondescript bright purple and green flowering everywhere in massive quantities. It’s an alien world, why not make it flashy. The most exhaustive part of the process had to be pre-production: they had to work with linguists to train the actors on the Naavi’s pronunciation, and had to have a pixar-size crew of animators and artists establishing the groundwork for the movies world; for this, It will doubtless be forgotten.

The story is woven out of many older stories, but it still gets the job done: a showcase for the blue-technology, actors performing as aliens, and of the magnificent landscapes, like the great winding tree, and the floating mountains. It’s mythology is bound to create a very large fanbase, and the eco-theme will no doubt spread into the easily inspired minds of young people. Visually potent and imaginative, James Cameron’s Avatar is a memorable feat in digitally created effects.

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