Absolutely amazing. must buy !!
Spiritual sci-fi epic, damning indictment of U.S. foreign policy and now the most successful film of all time, yes: its 'Avatar'.
When I first saw a T-800 cybernetic organism crush a human skull beneath its shiny, metal foot, I knew there and then; that director James Cameron was somewhat of a cinematic visionary. Needless to say, I dived headlong into 'The Abyss', witnessed 'T2: Judgement Day' was denied the slow burn dread and horror of Ridley Scott's 'Alien', thanks in no small part to having watched Cameron's bullet strewn sequel first: For how could I ever appreciate a softly, softly stroll through 'The Nostromo' when I'd seen Ellen Ripley brandishing an ammo-counting M41-A assault rifle with jungle taped flame thrower and pump action grenade launcher?
'The Terminator', 'Aliens', 'The Abyss', and 'T2' were, and still are, some of my favourite movies of all time. My tastes have changed considerably from then to now but the aforementioned films still enjoy an exceptionally high play rate on a variety of mediums (I even occasionally watch 'The Terminator' VHS for it's original futurist font subtitles absent on the DVD release).
Long before Cameron proclaimed himself 'King Of The World' he was, at the very least, the action prince of Hollywood. But then he made 'True Lies'. And thus began, for me, a schismatic turn of events best summarized by that euphemistic cliché: creative differences.
'True Lies' temporarily turned Jimmy C into an ultracrepidarian, Israeli mouthpiece but 'Titanic' turned him into something marginally worse: A schmaltzy, self-aggrandising little Spielberg. The 'Titanic' buzz soon died down to a distant hum with Cameron's movie now taking some serious retrospective hits; roundly booed for its overblown pomposity, already dated CGI and bad acting.
Thus in his second year of self-imposed exile, Cameron began producing; and gave unto the world Jessica 'eye candy' Alba in short-lived sci-fi TV series 'Dark Angel' before fronting some cash for Steve Sodenbergh and George Clooney's cerebral, chin-stroking remake of 'Solaris' (2002).
And now, over a decade since he last directed, James Cameron returns with 'Avatar': 2154 A.D. native blue alien tribe the Na'vi are fighting for survival on their home planet Pandora. Colonized and pillaged by U.S. troops on behalf of corporate America, the occupiers aim to displace and pacify the Na'vi in order to loot Pandora's natural resources, namely it's precious mineral ore: "Unobtanium" (must've taken Jim all of five minutes to come up with that name). Maimed U.S. marine Jake Sully (man of the hour Sam Worthington) agrees to become Na'vi via an avatar programme led by sarcastic scientist Dr. Grace Augustine (a welcome return by Sigourney Weaver). Sully, reluctant substitute for his late twin brother; a scientist who shared Dr Augustine's progressive, integrationist sentiments, strikes a secret deal with deranged warmonger Colonel Miles (Stephen Lang) to infiltrate and spy on the Pandorans in exchange for an operation that'll restore his ability to walk.
But Sully's no stooge and the corporation's nefarious schemes soon go awry, as Jake begins to empathise with the indigenous Na'vi. Learning their spiritual and ancient warrior ways, Sully risks going native on the eve of war and must decide whether he wants to serve the American invaders or join the Na'vi resistance.
I have mixed feelings about the epic, 14 year endeavour that was 'Avatar', on one hand; its an exceptional, albeit narratively convoluted, achievement, on the other hand; the eye can't fool the mind too often; so despite some groundbreaking, photo-realistic CGI, there're a number of scenes where you'll wish for a greater sense of tangibility. For example; the reason I'll always prefer puppet Yoda from 'The Empire Strikes Back' and 'Return Of The Jedi' to CGI Yoda from 'Attack Of The Clones' and 'Revenge Of The Sith' is that whilst the former was limited in his movements and could never have fought duels like his prequel successor: He was real, lift him you could, put him in your knapsack and see the nuance of each expression as you tried to raise a dilapidated X-Wing from the swamps of Degobah using only The Force.
And tangibility is such an important aspect of the visual medium that you only realise exactly how vital an element it is when you're faced with a CGI behemoth like 'Avatar'. Now don't get me wrong; CGI in 'Avatar' is the best anyone's ever seen anywhere on Earth so far; and though there're long periods of time when you're at one with the rich, bio-luminous flora and fauna on display, I still longed for a scene as real as the opening shot in 'Apocalytpo' (2006) or a brief glimpse of lush and foreboding rainforests like those seen in 'The Mission' (1986). Some of Pandora's creatures and landscapes evoked memories of computer games like 'Riven' and 'Myst' whilst all that 'Tree of Souls' nonsense is highly dubious, Kabbalist proselytising; so the less said about that the better, I'm also going to pretend that I've never seen or heard of 'Marvel' comic's 'Timespirits' September 1985 issue...you know; the one with 'Neytiri' ON THE COVER.
Speaking of Neytiri, 'Avatar' proves that the lovely Zoë Saldana ('Star Trek') is an incorrigible over actor, even in CG, but her character; Princess Neytiri still makes for a fierce and enigmatic Na'vi. And what profound, metaphysical insights did James Cameron have to offer about how he envisaged this magnificent and complex warrior?
"Right from the beginning I said, 'She's got to have tits', even though that makes no sense because her race, the Na'vi, aren't placental mammals". Fascinating.
Unjustly maligned action director Renny Harlin ('Die Hard 2') gets a lot of flack for having helmed dismal pirate flop 'Cutthroat Island' (1995) and whilst that particular movie was undeniably awful, critics and audiences tend to forget his sterling efforts on underrated Shark attack picture 'Deep Blue Sea' (1999). For the manner in which Harlin utilized CGI, reality and animatronics was second to none and had Cameron, with his obvious strength in action, taken a similar route; 'Avatar' would've been even better. Imagine how good the N'avi would look if they were human in close up, animatronics in mid-shot but moved with CG speed and accuracy; shuffle that schematic deck every so often and it'd create a seamless and totally immersive environment that'd retain its connection to reality but offer the same level of otherworldly escapism.
And as the credits rolled, it'd be fair to say that my 'Tsahaylu' hadn't quite reached the point of full penetration, thus I doubt I'll be sticking my USB braid, or any other cord for that matter, into the 'Avatar' universe as deeply as some. So as much as I enjoyed 'Avatar' (in 2D and 3D), as awesome as the final battle and Ikran mountain top scenes were; the only phrase I'm curious to learn in Na'vi is: 'Get over it, it's just a film'. Anyone know? Answers on the back of a Great Leonopteryx.
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Please note this is a region B Blu-Ray and will require a region B or region free Blu-Ray player in order to play. A paraplegic ex-marine war veteran is unwillingly sent to establish a human settlement on the distant planet of Pandora, only to find himself battling humankind alongside the planet's indigenous Na'vi race in this ambitious digital 3-D sci-fi epic from Academy Award-winning TITANIC director James Cameron. Age Rating 12
James Cameron directs this triple Academy Award and double BAFTA-winning sci-fi action adventure. Sam Worthington stars as Jake Sully, a paraplegic war veteran who is selected to participate in the Avatar programme, in which genetically-engineered human beings are sent to explore a small moon called Pandora. There, the indigenous Navi tribe of three-metre-high, human-like beings have long lived a peaceful existence in harmony with their plant-covered world, despite their fearsome warrior skills. When Jake meets Navi princess Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), he falls in love with her and becomes integrated into her clan - little knowing that his mission on Pandora has a far more sinister aim than he realised. Before long, Jake is caught up in an epic battle that could decide the fate of an entire world.