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Avatar Review: James Cameron's World of Wonder

• Yahoo

In the last shot of Avatar, someone's closed eyes snap open. That's the climax and the message of James Cameron's first fiction feature since 1997s Titanic: Look around! Embrace the movie - surely the most vivid and persuasive creation of a fantasy world ever seen in the history of moving pictures - as a total sensory, sensuous, sensual experience. The planet Pandora that Cameron and his army of artist-technicians have created - at a budget believed to be in excess of $300 million - is a wonder world of flora and fauna: a rainforest (where it never rains) of gigantic trees and phosphorescent plants, of six-legged flying horses, panther dogs and hammerhead dinosaurs. Living among these creatures is Pandora's humanish tribe, the Na'vi: a lean, 10-ft.-tall, blue-striped people with green eyes, or what mankind might have been if it had evolved in harmony with, not opposition to, the edenic environment that gave rise to its birth.

It's the year 2154, and Pandora, a moon of the Alpha Centauri star, is the reluctant host to an expedition of Americans seeking to mine an incredibly valuable rock called unobtainium - a joke term, coined in the 1950s referring to any kind of material that's unavailable or impractical to use, that Cameron employs to locate his movie among science-fiction adventures of the period. The expedition, headed by sleazy entrepreneur Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribisi), contains scientists, working for Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver), and a Blackwater-type security force led by the malevolently macho Col. Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang). The scientists have hatched "avatars," which look like Na'vi but blend their DNA with that of humans, who will steer them by remote control; "dreamwalkers," they're known as. Grace is entranced by the Na'vi's aristocratic gentility, but to Selfridge and Quaritch they are "blue monkeys", "savages," "an aboriginal horde." Or for want of a better word: Disposable. (See the top 10 movies of 2009.)


4 Comments in Response to

Comment by Don Cline
Entered on:

 Oh, there's Lucky Red again!  The boiler-room operative who can't figure out which side of any issue he is on.  First he complains about anyone trying to uphold the Constitution of the United States against the progressive thugs who are trying to destroy it, and who have inserted an illegal alien into the White House, and then he is complaining about how no one is paying any attention to what those progressive thugs are doing to our country and our people.  Some twerps are absolutely amazing!

Comment by Lola Flores
Entered on:

 That's it, y'all sheeple, run to the movie theaters and give away $20 that took you a day to make to the Entertainment Industry, god only knows, they need it much more than you do.  In the meantime, while you're in there, being brainwashed, our world is falling apart, people are starving, dying of diseases that are curable, they're being bombed, raped, robbed and pillaged by your government which is also fucking you but watching Avatar is what counts.    So, go ahead, watch Avatar!



Comment by Craig Stritar
Entered on:

"Avatar" was more of a statement against imperialism than it was against the evils of corporations. Even Americans who love the company they work for would have to be living in a bubble to be unaware of other corporations that have behaved badly at the expense of their investors/customers/taxpayers. While Bill O'Reilly would probably not enjoy this movie, I did not witness anybody watching this movie who was not cheering the natives in their fight against the aggression of the "alien" (human) aggressors.

It is no small directorial feat to get audiences to take the side of another "race," or even of anybody living outside of their own borders. How difficult would it be to present a story in such a way for the majority of Americans to take the side of an Iraqi hero who leads a successful campaign against the American military who had just bombed his family and country "back to the stone age?" James Cameron was able to get the majority of action movie audience members to side against their own race, and with the natives who were different enough from us that they lived in trees and would be poisoned by our own atmosphere. Sure, the hero of the story was human, but had joined a native tribe in their fight against their human aggressors. Think about it: the hero of "Avatar" was an "American Taliban." 

Granted, there was an evil corporation at the helm, but this part of the setting was seated well at the periphery of the story. These evils were allowed to occur, not because of the nature of corporations, but because the majority of those involved thought that they had the might to submit the native "savages" and were motivated by a handsome monetary reward for their efforts. Relatively weak plot? Maybe. Well presented, entertaining, story about the effects of imperialism on native cultures? Hell yes! Will most Americans see the connection between the hero of "Avatar" and America's "enemy combatants?" Probably not.

Comment by Anonymous
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Think I'll pass, and wait for the next edition of Ice Age.

It should appeal to the younger, mush-head, naively idealistic crowd, who still believe all big corps. are bad.  Plus, the animation so resembles current video games.   

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