An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Avatar: A Movie Review

avatar-navi-blue-photo2.jpgWatched the movie Avatar two days back in 3-D. James Cameron – the Director of blockbuster, Titanic – has done it again. The movie will go down in history as a watershed Cinematic event. Its not that such technically superior animation has not been down before, but the extent of how the animation was woven into the story was truly remarkable.

The story echoes the Iraq war. The American forces are trying to invade a planet of the aliens with a stone under the surface that sells for $20 million a kilo. The aliens who are a strange mix of highly evolved, nature hugging, alien-faced, but African-cultured people seemed like a caricature of what the story writer perhaps thought was his idea of “Esoteric”. The truth is that the “evolved creatures” if there are such – with kick-ass UFOs and all – will be much more advanced and more than a handful for us to manage. They wouldn’t be flying around with just birds and waiting for someone to bomb them.

So, I didn’t get excited about the caricature of the aliens much, although its rendition – using animation – was definitely mind-blowing.

Generally in stories where Aliens and Americans fight, somehow Americans ultimately get to kick the ass of the Aliens, although they couldn’t seem to do that same in Afghanistan against cave dwelling Al Qaeda.. but then the Hollywood Directors don’t check facts with the US Department of Defense on their capability anyways!

In this movie, however, the Aliens fight back and win against the Americans… helped of course, by some charitable Americans who fight alongside the Aliens. In fact, the Aliens get a “Savior” in an American who finally becomes part of the Aliens. A pure Alien, it seems could not have been a good enough savior! This show of subtle jingoism somehow takes away from the movie’s story.

In order to “break into” the Alien clan, the Americans somehow morph one physically challenged guy Jake and a female, Director of Research in that Lab into Aliens and introduce them on the planet, so they could somehow infiltrate the race, while looking like them, acting like them and being like them while playing the American role. Just that the guy, Jake, falls in love (old tactic of the downtrodden to get the superior races?!) with an Alien female. Thereafter he looks after the interests of the Alien clan.

When the American War Commanders realize and go for the final battle, somehow the two Americans, who could morph as Aliens escape along with the entire machinery for the morphing to join the final battle.

A few messages that were given out:

– Being in tune and in harmony with nature is a superior way of living.
– Nature, trees and plants, etc are an extension of ourselves and they respond to us just as we respond to them or others.
– Cosmic Balance can entail fighting back by the nature’s powers sometime (as it happens in the end).

Just for these messages, this movie was good for me. Specially coming in the backdrop of the Copenhagen Summit for the Climate Change where the nations were fighting against each other like dogs. The future of mankind is at stake due to its own follies. And in the “final battle” we may not need to fight any Alien… but our own hearts themselves!

Directed by: James Cameron
Produced by: James Cameron, Jon Landau
Written by: James Cameron
Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoë Saldaña, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, Giovanni Ribisi, Sigourney Weaver
Music by: James Horner
Cinematography: Mauro Fiore
Editing by: James Cameron, John Refoua, Stephen E. Rivkin
Studio: Lightstorm Entertainment, Dune Entertainment, Ingenious Film Partners
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Running time: 161 minutes[1] Language: English
Budget: $237,000,000

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