Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I've just been to see "Avatar." I feel a bit like I'm one of those people tumbling out of those pods after a battle.

They finally have this 3D thing down. Well done, and the animation is, as everyone is saying, incredible.

I'm not sure it's good as an escape film. Same conflicts, same characters. And the plot flow is nothing new, down to the final hand-to-hand combat with miraculous save.

Probably what urged me to see it more than any other one thing was Sean Paul Kelly's review. And he's pretty much right. I've felt the strong pull of another culture than the one I was born into and the barriers to merging. I think it's less tribalism than seeing others who are utterly different in some respects and completely sympathetic in others, the possibility of being a new person and leaving the old defects behind.

Carol Kaesuk Yoon had a similar reaction, although from a more organismic viewpoint. She was intrigued by the alien biology. I found it a bit more alien than I can easily relate to: cloudberries are enough like what I've experienced, and enough different to provoke, for me, the sort of reaction she describes. Or the intricacy of a tiny moss garden between two boulders. And maybe I'm just more attuned to the north than to the tropics.

Speaking of which, did anyone else figure that it had to be all over for the Earthlings when they blew up Yggdrasil? Could Ragnarok be far behind?

1 comment:

J. said...

"...did anyone else figure that it had to be all over (well, all of us know the plot anyway) for the Earthlings when they blew up Yggdrasil?"

Oh, funny. I didn't think of the Norse tree of life at all. Another way that James Cameron has ripped off mythology for his movie. I found it very pretty, but as you, the plot was simplistic and the characters were stereotypes. I think the part I hated the most was the deux ex machina where "the planet" responded to Jake Sulley's enquiries.

Honestly, he could only get 2000 warriors from the clans? And even with a "small" force like that, the warriors never heard of flanking? Yes, run straight into the gatling gun, primitive native people. I think the movie would have been much more believeable (and satisfying) without the "planet mama" organizing the animals and with the natives pulling a Little Big Horn battle on the mercs.