I saw James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ last week and I liked it.
The Cinematic Experience
I liked it because it was entertaining, immersive, and beautifully shot. I loved the 3-D effects and did, eventually, get used to wearing the 3-D glasses for that long a time (once I figured out how best to place them on my nose in relation to the glasses that I already wear).
I also liked the way in which future technology and space travel were depicted. Though, funnily enough, future bulldozers make the same beeping noises that present-day ones do :)
The story was pretty good, too. Though, as you would expect, it had issues.
Speaking of those issues, there are a number of lenses you can use to analyze both the basic plot and actual storyline of the film. And lots of people have, indeed, reviewed and analyzed the film extensively (see links to my favourite reviews/discussions at the end). The lenses they have used include race, colonialism, gender, the role of the military/militia in broader society, military strategy, the role of scientists/sociologists in broader society, capitalism/anti-corporatism, and disability.
What’s particularly interesting about these reviews is that everyone comes at the story from a different point of view. For example, I’ve found that many American reviewers and bloggers see parallels between the film’s story and what happened to the indigenous peoples of North America during European colonization. Non-Americans, meanwhile, talk about that as well as other colonialist movements from around the world.
I think that’s a testament to the screenwriters (and Dr Paul Frommer, who created the Na’vi language) because the situation presented in the film can reference any number of real situations from human history from around the world.
That said, the basic plot itself isn’t very original. And if you read ‘The Evolution of ‘Avatar’’ on the Reappropriate blog you’ll see how this film’s plot is somewhat similar to the plots of ‘Dances with Wolves’ and ‘The Last Samurai’.
Still, it’s an important story to tell and I think it was told quite well. For more, read the reviews I’ve linked-to below.
Overall, I’d give the movie a 9 out of 10 – both for its awesome cinematography & visual effects and for its timing & relevance-of-story to our present-day socio-political world. Oh, and also for Sigourney Weaver and the kick-ass character she plays in the film :)
Reviews Worth Reading
- 'What Does Avatar Tell Us About Masculinity and Disability?' by Chauncey DeVega [Open Salon]
- 'On Avatar, the Movie (Spoiler Alert)' by Lisa Wade [Contexts.org]
- 'When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like “Avatar”?' by Annalee Newitz [io9]
- Avatar (2009 film) [Wikipedia]