On Christmas Day I went to the movie theatre to see Avatar. I had not heard much about it before I saw it, but the trailer looked promising (blue people with tails? I’m in!) so I was really looking forward to see it. And I was not disappointed!
The actual theatre experience was rather lame, a bunch of kids (ok, teens) were making noise in the front rows, the temperature was ridiculously hot in the salon and the guy in front of me was circa 3m tall so I had to move from side to side if I wanted to read the subtitles.
But the movie itself…? Stunning!
If you haven’t seen the movie there might be some spoilers ahead. Or not. It depends on how much you know about it already. Anyway, I’ve warned you now!
When his brother is killed in battle, paraplegic Marine Jake Sully decides to take his place in a mission on the distant world of Pandora. There he learns of greedy corporate figurehead Parker Selfridge’s intentions of driving off the native humanoid “Na’vi” in order to mine for the precious material scattered throughout their rich woodland. In exchange for the spinal surgery that will fix his legs, Jake gathers intel for the cooperating military unit spearheaded by gung-ho Colonel Quaritch, while simultaneously attempting to infiltrate the Na’vi people with the use of an “avatar” identity. While Jake begins to bond with the native tribe and quickly falls in love with the beautiful alien Neytiri, the restless Colonel moves forward with his ruthless extermination tactics, forcing the soldier to take a stand – and fight back in an epic battle for the fate of Pandora.
The most spectacular part of the movie is of course the special effects and the amazing pictures. The scenery and wildlife on Pandora is nothing but amazing! Bright vibrant colours, sparkling lights and really imaginative creatures made it look like a true fairy tale world. The whole first hour when Jake is beginning to explore the planet with Neytiri was breathtaking, I found myself saying “wow…” quietly over and over :) And it made a very clear contrast to the grey, sterile, machine-driven world of the humans on the base.
Plot-wise it was ok, pretty much a Pochahontas rip-off. But it worked for me, I love that type nature-strikes-back stories. Honestly I could have lived without the love story, the rest of the plot was good enough, but hey, it was cute. I’m not going to complain about it.
What I felt it lacked though was the development of Jake’s character from human to Na’vi. It was such a fast transition (and not very well covered) it felt like one minute he was an obedient, almost ignorant, solider on a mission and the next he was in love with Neytiri and working against the humans. I would have liked to explore his mind a lot more, seeing how he gradually start switching sides and growing from the experience. And also how he falls in love with Neytiri. If there’s gonna be a love story you might as well make something out of it. Shouldn’t it be a much bigger deal for a human to fall in love with an alien? A lot more hesitation and agony?
The movie was almost 3 hours long and I still feel it should have been longer so it would’ve had more room for these things. Perhaps when it’s released on DVD it will have some of that in the extra material?
Even so, this is the best movie I’ve seen in a long time. What it lacks in one area it makes up for in another. I want to see it again already! This will definitely go on my favourite movies list :)