Monday, February 15, 2010

The Awesomeness of Avatar

2009 was an amazing year for Science-Fiction movies.

We’ve had District 9, Star Trek, Moon (which deserves its own post) and Avatar. All fantastic Sci-Fi films. For me, 3 of those 4 were absolutely amazing – Star trek, Moon and Avatar. Though I think District 9 does boast an interesting story and amazing special effects for a film that had less budget money than most films, I didn’t get drawn into it unfortunately.

But I digress.

I’m here to actually talk about the awesomeness of Avatar which I’ve seen twice as of today.

James Cameron has managed to bring the fictional world of Pandora to life through amazing special effects that look lifelike. The believability factor of these special effects was one of my personnal fears. I know CGI has come a long way in the past 10 years but from what I had seen in the trailers and in pictures, I wasn’t convinced by Avatar’s CGI (seriously, the movie trailers never did justice to the movie), and I felt they would never be able to convince me that these CGI creatures were flesh and blood when compared to the real life actors. I have to say I was agreeably surprised that they stood up well to their human counterparts in the finished movie! The expressions were as lifelike as possible. I noticed even the movements of the nose as expressions changed. It’s all fascinating stuff in my humble opinion.

The world of Avatar is a fully realized world with its own wildlife, creatures, atmosphere and rituals. Just thinking about how everything was rendered so realistically has my mind swimming with wonder. The seeds of the spirit tree (I’m drawing a blank here) were so beautiful, and the way they floated everywhere looked so real that I just stood agape at the sheer magnificence of it all. I even had the feeling that the bugs were real and just buzzing in front of me (pesky little things Haha). The attention to details was incredible - James Cameron and team did an incredible job.

At the heart of the story is a love story but Avatar also conveys important messages. The most important one is that we are destroying our planet and that there is beauty and wonder in nature. As for the story itself, the conquest of other lands and cultures for another’s own greedy benefit has existed ever since the World was born. It’s not just a parallel story for the white man coming to take the land away from the native Indians. The Romans did the same, the Vikings did the same. It’s all about conquest. That’s how we are that’s who we are. But in the process, other cultures are destroyed and irrevocably lost. It’s also a tale of resistance where everyone thinks their way is better. Okay, in Avatar, it’s mostly about greed and money which is what drives the destruction of the Rain Forest nowadays right?

Even though one is amazed by the technology and CGI displayed on the screen in Avatar, we must not forget the actors’ performances in the movie. Underneath the artificial characters, there are real flesh and blood actors that give their best performances to the Na’vi.

Sam Worthington shines in the movie and he is subdued as the human Jake Sully but also poignant and sweet. As his Na’vi self he is electric and energetic and touching. Zoe Saldana is strong and vulnerable as Neytiri and through her eyes, as well as those of Jake, we see the beauty of Pandora. I found myself believing in all of the performances onscreen. Even Steven Lang as Colonel Miles Quaritch I hated with a passion (which in itself is good, since he’s supposed to elicit that feeling of hatred in the viewers). Everyone’s performance was good, no one was over the top or bad. Sigourney Weaver was great as Dr. Grace Augustine and it was definitely great to see her. However I’m not too certain about having a character smoke on screen, in 2154 you’d think cigarette would be gone, but I suppose that it shows her as a non-conformist rebel.

Avatar has definitely touched many people as evidenced by the repeat attendance of movie goers and the fact that it has now surpassed Titanic as the number one grossing movie of all time (whether it’s the story, the message or the special effects is personal to each and everyone I guess). Plus it has garnered an impressive 9 Oscar nominations (falling short of Titanic’s 14 however) including Best Picture (so has District 9 by the way). The movie has been so popular that James Cameron is now considering Avatar 2 ahead of the long awaited Battle Angel.

I loved Avatar, and now I find myself waiting feverishly for the DVD/BluRay to come out and hoping that the release will include the 3D version of the movie, much like Coraline did. I'm really happy to see that the Science-Fiction genre is in such a healthy productive state these days and that finally, it is getting proper recognition everywhere.
But I will end this post on a question. What did YOU think of Avatar?


  1. Avatar rules! Sam Worthington is a real cutey patootie!!! Avatar baby!!!

  2. I'm not a huge fan of sci-fi but Avatar blew my mind.
    We can feel you thru your posts.

  3. Thanks Denyalle! and I agree about your comment on Sam Worthington Zira and Cornelius. He is as cute as he's a great actor.

  4. Well I haven't seen it and don't plan to because I'm really not interested in the story but I'm glad you liked it and that all the 9 Oscar nominations they got are well deserved.

  5. Great post Nath! I too love Sam Worthington and can't wait to see Avatar 2.