I have just been to see Avatar.

The cinema was hot and stuffy. Wearing 3D glasses gives me a headache. The movie is about 30 min too long and, despite all the super-dooper CG animation and special effects, is really a pretty bog-standard, predictable story. And there’s nothing wrong with that, of course – unless the film takes itself too seriously, or pretends to be more than it is.

There is a  twist of sorts in this movie, I suppose. A twist that makes this film a bit of an interesting commentary on our times. And I wonder what the film’s maker, James Cameron is really up to.

Instead of the set piece about intrepid, heavily-outgunned human beings desperately fighting off rapacious technologically-superior alien invaders; in this movie it is we humans who are the alien invaders, raping and pillaging the pristine planet of Pandora (interesting name – makes one think the film is trying to be ‘about’ something) and violently dispossessing its gentle, environmentally-savvy indigenous population. It is a ripping yarn of course, but nothing more.

I found the unimaginative by-the-numbers resolution and ending of this movie – the orgy of vengeful, ‘redemptive’ violence – very unsatisfying, and not a little troubling in a movie that seems to be pretending to be enlightened.

But there were some surprisingly evocative moments – as when the maniacal military commander rallies the troops with calls to ‘fight terror with terror’; or when the humans who have ruined earth’s ecosystems are said to have ‘killed their mother’; and when the only truly effective resistance to greed comes in the form of nature turning around to bite people on the bottom.

An interesting commentary on our times.


~ by Garry on December 27, 2009.

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