Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My review of the movie Avatar

 After reading so many one liners in FaceBook saying "Awesome", "Must Watch", "Fantastic", "Breath-taking" about the movie "Avatar", I decided to watch it at the cinemas instead of waiting for the video release. So this is my proper review instead of the usual 1-liners I see so often on FaceBook.

The plot of the movie revolves around decadent humans venturing to space in order to mine for precious minerals, after exhausting their own "Mother Earth".

And so on planet Pandora, they found some precious rocks and are willing to risk destroying another species' culture, habitat and their way of life, in order to do achieve their own commercial interests.

Honestly speaking, the movie is trying to make a point. In relevance to the wars going around in our era, the plot seems to be replicating the current situation of our world now.. Politics revolving around commercial interests, bullying weaker nations with advance weaponry and totally obliterating another culture and their way of life. And so at the end of the day, the aggressors pay the price, this is so true for both the movie and the real world we live in now.

PS: Look at the recent wars and you will find the similar elements of the movie : 
Precious minerals, Weaker species(nation), Bullying with advance weaponry, destroy way of life, achieve commercial and political interests... Need I say more?

From my movie experience, I can see at least 3 other movie plots being used in Avatar, or at least the Avatar movie reminded me of the older movies.

1. Dinotopia, the movie
Hero must learn new culture and earn his place by being initiated in a warrior ceremony. Not to mention the flying "pterodactyls" were in both plots.

2. The Matrix and Strange Days
Coincidentally, Strange Days was also a Cameron production, so some recycling there. Or maybe, just maybe, the Matrix was using the "plug into another world" idea from Strange Days?

3. The Last Samurai
Outsider, integrates into new culture, earns his rights as a warrior and considered one of their own and betrays his original masters for the right causes.

For the 3D effects, they were very real but strictly speaking, on creating a unknown alien world, it was up to the producers to decide the realism. No one would bother asking if the luminance of the flowers that glow in the alien night forest is of such intensity etc. But there was a single part that personally, I did not really like the realism. That scene when Jake Sully as the animated
Na'vi first entered into the alien forest alone and lighted up a torch. The flames of the torch, though we know was animated via 3D, lack the realism that the rest of the 3D animation scenes had provided. Well, that is me being a nitpicker.

For the rest of the 3D animation, especially the scenes with the floating mountains and when Jake Sully, the Na'vi jumped down a waterfall, they gave me a sense of height vertigo, which so far none other 3D animation movies had given me.

James Cameron's Avatar brings the spectators into another world and the effects and plot actually makes the spectator feels as if they are really in this fictional environment, feeling the emotions of the bullied species and hating the human kind.

Last but not least, if the movie didn't evoke your respect for the "Mother Earth" we live in now, please watch it again, but this time, think about how the Na'vi's Eywa is said to be connecting every lifeform and how energy is borrowed and eventually needs to be returned to Eywa.

Quoting from a previous article I wrote in this blog, which I feel is relevant to the movie's sypnosis :

In our world's ecological system, every flora and fauna and its habitat are all inter-dependent on each other. At the rate of our pillaging the ecosystem, we will soon have to face our own species extinction.

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