I had been looking forward to watch Avatar as it has been trumpeted, discussed, and covered by the media way before the release date. As I did not have the chance to watch it in Adelaide prior to my departure to Indonesia, I thought it would be good to watch it while I’m in Singapore. I watched it today with Yani at Cathay Cineleisure off Orchard Road after church today – I even pre-booked the ticket two days in advance as the movie is still very popular here in Singapore. I opted to watch the 3D to ensure that I’m in the thick of all of the actions! 🙂
The movie is about Jake Scully (Sam Worthington) who is sent to Pandora as part of the security team who is comprised of ex-mariners and ex-military personnel. Their key task is to guard the mine there and to quash any resistance from the local Na’vi people. Jake is also chosen because his identical twin brother was part of the scientific team in Pandora before he was killed. The team manage to control Na’vi creatures that are interlinked with their DNA (their avatars). Sam then has to choose which side to take when he falls in love with a local Na’vi princess called Neytiri (Zoë Saldana) and realises that the nature-loving belief of the Na’vi people is more harmonious than the greedy, money-driven culture of the army and the mining corporation.
It sounds very Iraq-meets-Brazil, doesn’t it? Apparently James Cameron wrote the story years and years ago before the fear of the global warming permeated across the world. However, I’m sure that the first Iraq War was already in place when he concocted the story. It’s only because of the recent developments of movie and CGI (computer-generated imagery) technology that he could make the movie into reality. James Cameron is the director behind Titanic, The Abyss, and the original The Alien movies.
Cameron’s Avatar is beautifully directed and photographed, the animation is breathtaking, the nature is lush and awe-inspiring. The creatures and the plants seem so lifelike and natural that you wish some of them existed in real life. The actors (either acting as themselves or as the Na’vi people) act and display the myriads of emotions really well also. However, some of the characters are so stereotypically juvenile: i.e. the army commander is an angry and tough and the scientist is geeky (even though he can operate a machine gun in the movie). The story is also simple – of course, it’s an American movie after all: boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy rescues girl, girl rescues boy, they live happily ever after.
One major criticism against Avatar is the heavy-handed preaching on “Natur über Alles” – watching the ‘belief system’ of the Na’vi is like watching a promotion video of a New Age movement. Well after all, Cameron was a hippie guy so I suppose he still wants to teach the world to love nature. Peace, man. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a greenie too, but I don’t like it when a belief is rammed down my throat without me having any chance to chew it, digest it and see whether it’s good enough to eat or not.
So, Mr Cameron, for the next sequels, if you can make it less preachy, I would probably love it even more.