Just went to see the new film, Avatar.  Wonderful special effects, excellent 3-D effect, and very  nicely realized fantasy world.  It was so long, I found myself saying to myself, “C’mon now, move it along, get to the final fight of the good guys and the bad guys…”  I feel like I’ve seen the story before in westerns and sci-fi movies galore over the years.  The bad invader who goes native and switches loyalties – wasn’t that what Dancing with Wolves was all about?

The interesting new twist was the incorporation of the eco-green-enviro-religiosity:  the innocent forest people in tune with the sacred wellspring of life,  a sort of Ygdrasil, the holy tree; the bad earthlings who killed the green part of their world and are willing to destroy this new one, Pandora, for a metal, Unobtainium – I like that comic touch of the name because I’ve been helping my son with chemistry lately!  If it had been 60 minutes shorter, I would have enjoyed as a piece of brilliantly done entertainment fluff, but it was soooo pretentious and predictable.

Today, Adam Cohen of the NY Times, an intelligent and thoughtful guy, gushes over the movie, saying:

The remarkable thing about “Avatar” is the degree to which the technology is integral to the story. It is important to show Pandora and its Na’Vi natives in 3-D because “Avatar” is fundamentally about the moral necessity of seeing other beings fully…

The central love story reaches its culmination with the lovers declaring, “I see you.” The movie’s ending, which I will not give away here, brilliantly drives home, one last time, the importance of how one sees things…

The ability to see Pandora’s natives for who they are is the movie’s moral touchstone.

Funny…all these statements about the movie are true (except the first one) and it was still boring.  De gustibus non est disputandum.


6 Responses to Avatar

  1. Ducky's here says:

    The remarkable thing about “Avatar” is the degree to which the technology is integral to the story. It is important to show Pandora and its Na’Vi natives in 3-D because “Avatar” is fundamentally about the moral necessity of seeing other beings fully…


    Is this moron serious? How many people are falling for this stupidity? “Dancing with Pocahontas” complete with attention deficit disorder editing.

  2. lichanos says:

    Yes, he’s serious. I don’t even think he’s a moron, so it’s very interesting to me why this film appeals to someone like him. I wish I could get into his head about this. Some sort of New Age, eco-sentimentalism…

  3. Ducky's here says:

    If he is interested in the idea of film being able to help us see other beings fully he might try something like Jan Sikl’s “Private Century” which was made from hundreds of hours of Czech home movies from the 30’s through the 60’s.

    A good film theorist is going to question the ability to “see things fully” and not just hype up Cameron’s ego fest.

    Give Private Century a try. 8mm. which trumps Cameron. It had a very limited release this year. Pity it didn’t get a little hype.

  4. lichanos says:

    If he is interested in the idea of film…
    I don’t think he is. He’s an intelligent fellow with degrees from Harvard and H-Law who writes about law and foreign policy for the NYTimes Editorial Board. Maybe he never devotes much mental energy to cinema.

    This touches on a discussion I am having at the ManofRoma blog about culture. Time was, when such a person would spend his time on CULTURE, but now everyone, even the economic and social elite, wants to go to Disneyworld and watch Cameron’s films.

  5. Man of Roma says:

    Hi Lichanos.

    Well I saw Avatar a few days ago and I also feel like going to Disneyworld and watch it over and over again.

    What did I like about it? All, also the things you consider faults. I was enchanted by the construction of a totally invented world (wow, what a rich imagination!) and for the first time I found that technology was serving poetry and not viceversa.

    The story is predictable? Yes but it doesn’t matter. Some stories are just good and people don’t mind repetition. Seen from Europe, such simple though muscular moral world, where things are clear there including good and evil, is a refreshing spectacle since we are too cynical (and much less muscular.)

    I made a similar comment about old days’ westerns here at your blog.

    Many friends of my age said the same thing (and architect was enchanted by the colors and patterns.) I guess it is part of the myth we have about you guys out there from the New World. Leave us our myths. And they are not only myths I believe.

    Is it just entertainment and not high culture? Yes, and confusion between high and pop culture is deplorable, we have agreed, but I wish many more movies like this one were entertaining us in moments we need just pop.

    I really loved it and I bought the DVD to see it again.

    • lichanos says:

      Well, every member of the audience is different. I can’t argue with your perceptions, which are clear and free of hyperbole or silly encomiums. All I can say is that I was truly bored, and felt as if I’d seen it too many times before. Your point that repetition of good stories is common, is well taken, and I commented on that here. Perhaps I’ve seen too many movies, or perhaps my work with computer graphics has jaded me, or perhaps I’m just beyond redemption, sunk into a slough of indifference.

      At least you had a good night out!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: