Avatar Review

Jake and his Navi/human body double

I saw Avatar and wasn’t disappointed. It was definitely worth watching. During the first hour, I kept thinking that this is exactly what would happen when we discover a planet filled with other sentient beings that didn’t have our level of technology. We’d try to exploit them as soon as they had something that we want.

I think that it’s related to the way our capitalist society works. I can see the US going to war on other planets for resources and to stop alien terrorists from bombing us. Our economy is heading towards the creation and development of mega-corporations. These entities don’t have any morals and are governed by a lust for profit. They are inhuman and shouldn’t represent us, especially when we start venturing out of the solar system.

Jake and his Navi mate

The movie is pretty good, but the plot isn’t the best  or the most surprising. I wasn’t that surprised by what happened and how it got resolved. It was predictable, story-wise.

The visuals were stunning. I loved how the Navi’s faces had so many different expressions. The wildlife and animals on Pandora were also great. It made me think that the Navi were heading to create some form of biological technology at some point, but they wouldn’t because they don’t need it. It seemed like a spiritual, yet stagnant society.

Incredible bio-luminescent forest of the Navi

In many ways, the Navi are more advanced than their human counterparts. The story is set in 2154, or so I believe. The Navi link up to their animals via a sort of empathic bond, which is called the Bond, naturally. They ride strange six-legged mounts and flying creatures. Life on the jungle planet initially seems very hard and dangerous, but that’s what humans believe. The Navi commune with nature.

Humans are on Pandora for one and only reason: unobtainium. For a while, I thought that the word was simply an idiotic name that was actually some kind of new, undiscovered element on Pandora. It turns out that unobtainium is actually a portmanteau, unobtainable + ium and an engineering term. Still, I thought that it was ridiculous that it was used in this movie. It’s similar to many science-fiction movies, some unique resource that everyone is after, but they should have come up with a better name and backstory than this.

Oh, these space smurfs have unobtainium. WE WANT IT!

I find this more ridiculous than the idiotic use of the Papyrus font for the subtitles. What were they thinking? That’s because James Cameron didn’t hire anyone to write for him. He’s not good at this stuff. He should have found more experienced writers. If he would have, this movie would have been stellar.

The trailers and screen images make the Navi look cartoonish, but they are anything but that. They remind me of the Iroquois or Mohawks, which similar hair styles. Feathers and other things are woven into their hair.

There are some issues with the depth of field and the way the camera focuses, as well as when it switches from 2D to 3D, but all in all, it was pretty entertaining and pleasing to the eye.

Honestly, when I first heard about this movie and what it was about, I thought that James Cameron was on crack. $500 million dollars for this thing? In reality, all of the scenes are thoroughly believable, from the impressive cockpits to the forest of the Navi, as well as the incredible biosphere of Pandora.

The Hallelujah mountains made me think of the Mountains of Zu. There are a lot of similarities there. These mountains also floated in the air, but they are deeply entrenched in Chinese legends and wu-xia movies.

If the 3D version is still playing, I’ll definitely try to see it again. It was worth it.

Author: range

I'm mathematician/IT strategist/blogger from Canada living in Taipei.

5 thoughts on “Avatar Review”

  1. I loved South Park’s spoof/take-off on Avatar that was done about a month ago. Lol, it was sick! Whoah, sick is so 1997. Why am I getting all retro? Jean, are you a smurf-hater, or just an Avatar hater? Anyway, you guys should see, if you haven’t already, the South Park spoof.

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