Avatar (2009)

“Avatar” (2009)



Milestones in cinema can be fabricated products, tailored by huge, complex, and wide spread corporations, fighting for gaining attentions, and selling a product. So, now we have this Avatar, which has been announced as the next big thing, for several months, years perhaps. On those matters alone, that means this is a fabricated groundbreaking product, it is not Citizen Kane, nor even Jazz Singer. It probably is more of a Gone with the Wind.

But there is a film here. And it matters to watch it, beyond the package of marketing and brainless mass opposed opinions.

There are several evident strong things here. One is how Cameron outdid Zemeckis in achieving a certain realism that grows out of real people, abstracted into animation, only to be delivered to us again as realistic animated characters. That game Zemeckis played on Polar Express. This film tops what has been done so far. I don’t know whether this business of emulating reality through purely digital medium will have an interesting future, how much is there to explore with interest? But this is our high point so far.

Another thing is how this film cements what Peter Jackson had done with King Kong, and several action features have worked since: action films are spatial pieces nowadays. That is already and will become more a common place. It will look dated and wobbly any grand scale action/epic/war(?) film which won’t consider space occupation. That is where the 3d will take its place. On my few remarks on 3d cinema, i noted how its biggest possibilities are precisely in how the 3d enhances and creates the space, physical space, built with distances, where the action will happen. So, Pandora, the forest, is built to be spatially explored. Right from the beginning, on the waterfall, the battle to destroy the big tree, and pretty much all the action that takes place there. 3d is an interesting addition to what a concerned mind (or a group of minds) can do. I hope it becomes a usable tool for the beautiful author minds we have around the world (i wish Welles was here to use it).

Risks where brought down to a very minimum here. The story is just as cliché, recognizable, and thus acceptable as it could be without being shouting unbearable. Well, again it follows a Selznick logic of marketing products which are like what has been done and accepted by the audience, only bigger and better sold.

But surrounding this thin good-evil story, there are pieces of reflexivity, self aware or unintended, which make the process of post-reflection over the film delicious. The more visible one, and assumed, is how the film is to us as the avatar is to its owner. We dig into the reality of the film as the 3 avatar users dig into the reality of Pandora. Fake bodies, inner realities, as if moving down each level was the equivalent of climbing up the big tree. One unintended thing is when we consider the commentary in the film (social, ecological, moral) against the contradictions the film itself displays. It turns the wheel of bad guy good guy. At last, it assumes the “american general” as the sadist destruction oriented bad guy, perpetrating the same kind of terrorist crimes he was once commissioned to pursue. But than, the tools the film uses to achieve the desired happy ending, which respects the “alternative” of the native culture are exactly the tools the overthrown terrorists were using. The film itself is a story of good-evil, not a vessel for layered knowledge, like a tree of souls which uploads the lives of every past human being.

take it for the visual experience. It’s not groundbreaking but it is the current status of the best tools we have these days, to explore the emerging worlds of digital animation and 3d cinema. Enjoy the self reference if you appreciate it, but don’t be driven away by the useless safe options.

My opinion: 3/5

This comment on IMDb


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