Lightstorm Entertainment Production (20th Century Fox)
- Art direction
- Film editing
- Original score
- Best picture
- Sound editing
- Sound mixing
- Visual effects
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
The Young Victoria
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The Hurt Locker
The White Ribbon
WINNER: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
James Cameron, Avatar
Lee Daniels, Precious
Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
We normally don’t do movie reviews but this movie was just asking for it. Made on a God-knows-how-many-million-dollars budget, conceptually conceived in an age when Sunny Deol was considered an awesome actor and having used technology that transforms 6 foot men into 10 foot tall smurfs, Avatar has been pretty much the talk of the town, as far as movies go.
The story, which isn’t much to write home about anyways, follows a paraplegic ex-marine Jake Sully, who is mentally linked to the avatar of his deceased twin brother. This avatar is a hybrid cross between a human and a Na’vi, the resident sentient race of Pandora. The program is an initiative to convince the Na’vi to relinquish their land so that humans can mine Pandora for Unobtanium.
What follows is a clichéd tale where Sully assimilates the Na’vi culture and gradually becomes one of them – an angle better visited in The Last Samurai. The romance angle between what’s-her-name and Sully is also half baked and there are almost no tender moments that would indicate any amour, unless you consider hissing like a cat and smiling devilishly as remotely affectionate. And I thank my stars I live in a world where I do not have to go through some crazy testosterone-driven ritual to prove my coming-of-age. Rife chauvinism, the alpha-male dominance and ‘White Man’s Greed’ are some of the other clichés that are peppered generously throughout the movie. Yawn.
I could not help but marvel at James Cameron’s legerdemain. Like a practiced magician, he has diverted attention to something spectacular and gotten away with a substandard backbone. Twice. As with Titanic, where the sinking of the ship was almost incidental, here too the story is, to use my favourite slang word, lame. And twice he’s laughed his way to the bank. The visuals are awesome. No other word for it. The colours are rich, the scenery delightful and the Hanging Mountains took my breath away. Sadly once you leave the theatre, no character really stays behind with you a la Yoda or Darth Vader from Star Wars or Aragorn from LOTR or Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean. And there’s talk about a sequel.
. For a movie that takes itself too seriously and was fortuitously released about the same time as the Copenhagen Climate conference 2009 , it fails to do justice to the ecological concerns that it attempts to raise.
Thankfully for Cameron, his ‘shock-and-awe’ tactic, to bombard the viewer with stunning graphics and pray he doesn’t pick out the limp storyline has worked. I give it a 2 on 5 and those points are solely for the visuals. Watch the movie but do not take it too seriously.
And the next person to say ‘A-va-taar’ gets it from me.
Hate mail can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Cheers