Avatar 3D

on January 11, 2010 in Film and TV

AvatarHaving previously been put off 3D by 80’s TV and magazines like Look In, (not to mention the £11 per ticket price tag) I was dubious about going to see this film expecting the good old red and green cardboard glasses. Instead the new version looks like NHS sunglasses with slightly darkened lenses (no sign of the colours of the past) and a proper plastic frame.

So preparing to be unimpressed I donned the glasses at the required time and the Disney Logo on the trailer that had just started, jumped out of the screen and hovered a foot from my nose!!! Not a bad start. We then got treated to the usual cliches of things jumping out of the screen towards you etc. which is all well and good, but tends to distract from a storyline.

Once the actual film starts, however, you notice that the 3D effects aren’t pushed, the story takes first place and the technology just adds that extra depth and clarity to the scenes, possibly the epitomy of this style is after the destruction of the Hometree, where the ash is falling all around you as well as the hero on screen.

Anyway, to the film…

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a disabled ex-marine is persuaded to take on his twin brother’s position on a moon called Pandora, rich in a coveted mineral and inhabited by a tall blue-skinned Na’vi, a “primitive” race. Jake’s job to control an Avatar, a genetically engineered simulation of one of the Na’vi in order to infiltrate the tribe and convince them to move from the mineral rich lands.

I assume that the writers analogy was that of the treatment of the Native Americans, but fresh from my escapades in Oz, I couldn’t fail to miss the similarities of the Na’vi’s belief system with that of the Aboriginies (somewhat helped by the fact that my guide, Evan Yanna Muru, had seen the film the day before my walkabout), being at one with the world around them enhanced in the Na’vi’s case by their ability to physically bond with the plants and animals.

Generally accepted that all they have to do is look like the Na’vi and educate them, it isn’t until Jake is separated from the others and meets up with Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) that he discovers the rich tapestry of beliefs from his reluctant tutor. In learning these beliefs Jake comes to appreciate and bond with this primitive way of life.

Inevitably of course, the “advanced” human race decides that enough-is-enough and moves in to capture the mineral wealth by force, destroying the Hometree (which just happens to be on top of the biggest lode of Unobtanium) and dispersing the natives.

What follows is the usual hero changes sides and leads the tribe against the agressors (along with boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl back by flying a huge reptile), which on the face of it is a pretty cliched storyline, but it is the well thought out background to the film (along with the careful use of 3D) that sets it apart from others. If you want an action movie, then it’s not bad, but if you miss out on the spirituality of the storyline then you’re only seeing half the film.

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