December 25, 2009

Avatar (2009)

I'm not about to criticize a film that has Duke Nukem in an exoskeleton in a knife fight with a 12 foot blue alien, that by itself makes it worthwhile. That it's in 3D and that the plot didn't completely suck was just icing on the cake. It must say something about the time we live in, when anti-imperialist/anti-colonialist/treehugger propaganda needs to be wrapped in a whole lot of CG videogame shell for us to give a shit anymore, but alas, I don't think I would have had it any other way. Thankfully the 3D isn't too distracting, although the art direction did make it seem like I was at a blacklit glow-in-the-dark rave most of the time. Blue alien sex and the hair-bird-rape did have its merits, and weaver was as charming as ever. Plot was basically Pocahontas on steroids, and the themes were blatantly borrowing from colonialism (civilizing the natives) to 9/11 (that falling, burning tree looked an awful lot like the twin towers) to environmental issues (saving the forest, which on Pandora seems to still be green, despite everything else being neon glow). I can't hate this movie, and despite identifying with most of its political message, I can't help but notice it and wonder if that's what's really needed for us to enjoy mindless entertainment these days. Maybe it satisfies some guilt by having a 'message' that makes it O.K. for us to enjoy some pretty pictures. Again, Cameron's fingerprints are all over this one, from the dual rotor helicopters from Terminator 2, to the exoskeleton suit from Aliens, but more importantly, in his ability to take a very male-oriented subject and inject it with themes that can appeal to both genders. Overall very enjoyable, especially on the visual side, but ultimately more dependent on form and technology than on plot and meaning. Like I said, I can't really judge this alongside everything else for it is something unique among everything that's out these days.