Opening 17 Dec 2009
Director James Cameron has arrived on the scene with an action blockbuster done in 3-D; the first of its kind. The story begins quite interestingly and one has the feeling that this will be an archetypical film like Star Wars. Cameron picks an unlikely hero Jack Scully (Sam Worthington), an ex-marine who as a paraplegic has no future but receives a second chance when his twin brother is murdered. Scully arrives on the moon Pandora, where he takes over the scientific project that his brother had helped to create, namely an “Avatar.” When first hearing the name of this film I thought it would be based on the very popular children series Avatar the Last Air Bender but soon realized that Cameron is using the Hindu definition idea of an Avatar, namely “a temporary manifestation or aspect of a continuing entity, an archetype or the incarnation of a Hindu identity, usually Vishnu, into a human or animal form.” Pandora itself is an amazingly beautiful planet where the native people, creatures and plants have an inner spiritual connection through the ewey, which look like dandelion tuffs floating through the air. Scully is projected into a nine-foot avatar that resembles the native population, the Na’vi, in the hopes that he will be accepted by them. The language of the Na’vi has a feel of accuracy and is reminiscent of the clarity of elf language in The Lord of the Rings, which makes Pandora even more realistic.
Cameron’s film develops into a battle-cry world to save Pandora’s environment and shows how out of sync we humans are with nature. Our only thoughts are about short-term economic issues and not on the long-term picture. It is no wonder that the opening of this film coincides with the U.N. climate change conference in Copenhagen, where we see our short sightedness. Cameron’s film is definitely worth seeing; the only drawback in the film is that midway through, the storyline becomes predictable and ends on a personal battle of good vs. evil instead of staying on the more complicated and intellectual level on which it began. After seeing Emmerich’s film 2012, where the digital graphics were just as fantastic as in this film but the storyline was completely ridiculous, I realized that perhaps we are on a brink of a technological evolution where it needs time to see the digital technology integrated with a sophisticated storyline. Either way, we need to start the New Year by looking at our personal way to change the future of our planet. (Shelly Schoeneshoefer)