Tuesday, January 19, 2010


AVATAR has some highly impressive special effects

No doubt everyone in the world has seen Avatar already; it is behind only Titanic in terms of box-office takings at time of writing, although this might have something to do with the fact that tickets to this puppy cost four times as much as a regular film.

So here’s the flick in a nutshell: Paraplegic bloke gets chance to walk again if he can infiltrate alien species in order for humans to mine the fuck out of their house.

In the mix, he falls in love, rides a big ol’ dragonny-pterodactyl thing and manages to piss off at least two intelligent species. He’s been pretty busy.

The story steals all of its themes from every other good movie, dumbs it down a bit and then beats it in the head until it is made retarded. Somewhere in the future, humans are exploring the planet Pandora, which is home to a race of eight-foot Smurfs, and is also rich in unobtanium, an element that the humans really really want for reasons known only to them. To properly communicate with the Smurfs, humans created the Avatar program, where alien/human hybrids are created and controlled by dudes in a lab. One of those dudes is Jake, who is given a special assignment – move the Smurfs from the mining area, and he’ll get his legs back. Nice idea. Unfortunately…

The way it all unfolds is fairly predictable. Lessons are learnt and a hero is born. If you’ve seen any big-budget movie before, you pretty much know how it’s all going to pan out. That’s not to say that it’s not worth sticking around for, as it is a visual feast that will leave your eyeballs a bit bloated and possibly sweaty. Pandora is indeed a beautiful world in which to live, although I doubt that anyone there would ever be able to sleep, because everything on the planet either glows fluorescent colours or is the size of a small house, angry and hungry. Still, it does look spiffy and is pretty cool in 3D.

As is my regular beef with movies, there’s just not enough to it. For a 3-hour movie that was green-lighted in 1997 and began production in 2004, you’d expect the characters to be nicely fleshed out, the dialogue snappy and plot holes to be filled in. While the alien scenes are without doubt the main focus, the human interaction needs to be sharper, as the humans are the ones who are actually moving the story along. But they’re as transparent, two-dimensional and paper-thin as a transparent and paper-thin two-dimensional character, and the scenes that could have been the emotional crux of this film – the idea that Jake could walk again as a human – were sadly underdone. At least he looks pretty.

I give Avatar two blue whales.

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