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Thursday, December 31, 2009

AVATAR: The Environment Man Review

By Environment Man

"Avatar" was everything word of mouth said it would be. The 3-D is the new standard for such grandiose action/visual films. It is great to experience some depth perception in such films. It definitely enhances the film experience.

The Vietnam analagy was appropo and so was the indigenous environmental theme. And of course corporations were cast as the bad guy, as was the military/industrial complex. Yet the chief military character was a great bad guy. A good movie always needs a good bad guy.

James Cameron also borrowed Sigourney Weaver from "Aliens" and the mechs from "The Matrix." The helicopters were cool but I wondered about the the opposite spinning main rotor blades. I wondered why you had them on both sides of the choppers when you would have only needed the left rotor spinning one way and the right rotor spinning the other way to neutralize the torque in a tail rotorless configuration. Then I realized that you could knock out either engine and it could still fly. Without Cameron's design the chopper would spin out of control if one rotor got taken out. Cameron's configuration makes it possible for the chopper to still fly with one side knocked out.

The blue giant Na'vi were clearly modeled on indigenous 3rd world people and native American indians. I read some criticisms about 'the white Tarzan' rescuing the clueless natives but I reject that description. If anything he was a traitor to this own people. Plus Cameron covered his flank by casting Zoe Saldana as the woman behind the female blue woman lead (Neytiri).

In spite of what seems to be the Hollywood contract requirement to curse God in each movie (4 times in this film), there was a religious subtext. It was a hybrid pagan/quasi Christian spiritual approach. Heaven was in the trees and one could be resurrected if the spirit realm so approved.

Finally, Cameron had an interesting cross racial, cross species love story. And the action was second to none. James Cameron knows how to produce spectacle.
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