Monday, December 21, 2009

AVATAR: A Rambling Review

Here is a review of the Movie AVATAR by a 65 year old male fantasy and science fiction fan.

My Rambles:

I give it 7 out of 10 stars. (frame of reference: "Close Encounters" 10 and "Serenity" 9)

Two of the stars are for audacity.

Story: Cowboys and Indians, shades of Sand Creek and Little Big Horn with a touch of a "Man called Horse". Some parts seemed interminable (total length 3 hours). At the same time some scenes move too fast so that you don't see what's going on.

Villains: Think Halliburton and Black Water in Space.

Heroes: Spiritual ecologically savvy electrically connected to mother earth soft hearted savages and a paraplegic ex-marine shunned by the VA and mistreated by corporate world saved by native princess because of lightening bugs.

3D: If you wear glasses take some duck tape to tape the 3D glasses to you own. They fit over your glasses but there is nothing to hold them in place against your lenses. If your vision is not corrected to 20/20 the you will lose some definition of the picture.

The 3D made the movie less than bright. It was indeed much like watching a movie through sunglasses because that is exactly what you are doing. The 3D did enhance the special effects, especially in the long and medium shots. For close ups it was problematic. Film makers are used to sharp focus on the foreground of close ups and out of focus in the background. That's not they way we actually SEE in 3D. Then there are the gratuitous bugs and stuff floating in 3D between you and the scene.

In the balance I would trade the 3D for a sharper and brighter movie. The trade off of 3D for its inconvenience was skewed towards the inconvenience.

As a scifi movie it was pretty good. As a New Age movie it was OK. As a fantasy it was better.

Recommendation: Go see it. Take duck tape. Arrive in a slightly altered state. Piss before you go in. Imax version, expect vertigo and/or disorientation.


Jean said...

Found the film visually aressting but overall it was quite a letdown esp since the narrative was cliche as hell.

drlobojo said...

I'm now hearing it referred to a Dancing With Wolves in Space. Naw, not really. Dances With Wolves had more character development and a better story line.

I would also note that Cameron left it wide open for a sequel.
He left the Natives and a dozen or so scientist in charge of an intact mine and and military/industrial base complete with equipment, weapons, gunships space ships, and resources.

It will take 5 years for the Company transport to get the people back to earth, and another five years to return to Pandora.
In ten years the Pandorans and the expatriate Earthlings can mine a lot of unatainium (cute name huh?) thus creating an economic bartering tool, and the Native can integrate the weaponry of Earth into their defensive systems. Also the systems that made the Pandoran Avatars could do the reverse and create human avatars controlled by Pandorans. They could then infiltrate the Corporation and so on and so on and so forth. In the hands of a master story teller this could be quite a series with sequels and prequels and spin offs and all sorts of marketing stuff.

So is Cameron up to it?

drlobojo said...

Unobtaium not Unatainium. I guess the first you can't get and the second you can't suceed. Either way both of them are similar to the joke in the long equation on a black board that says "here a miracle occurs", sort of like those equations Jan Hendrik Schön used to publish in 'Nature' etc..

Anyways Cameron's use of of the name is lame, Actually come to think of it, even the use of avatar and pandora are a bit sophmoric.