Avatar…A Review

Avatar_james_cameron_guyMost everyone knows I graduated with a degree in Theater Arts from Baylor University.  My undergrad work was so important in shaping who I am today.  I have great friends, learned a great craft, and love to see good films. 

So, last night I decided to head over to watch the critically acclaimed AVATAR. 

First, let me be honest, anytime a film gets so much recognition that it becomes the highest grossing film of all time, I'm always a little skeptical.  But as soon as I put my 3D glasses on, this movie whisked me away to a magical land, full of beauty and imagination. 

The special effects are INCREDIBLE.

The theme of the movie, or shall I say themes, were interesting.  From a critics point of view, this movie had everything everyone who watches movies goes to see.  Bombs, love, techno stuff, army, doctors, brilliant cinematography, great special effects, WHEW it was like running a marathon.  But what intrigued me the most, the story.  The over-arching dominant theme of the Avatar is very interesting to a guy involved in a teenage generation. 

AVATAR is literally another character by which you can live life through. Maybe you've heard of second life, or something similar, where you create your own surroundings.  There are literally AVATARS you can choose on your Yahoo account so whenever you sign in, your cartoon character tells everyone else you're on.  It's almost like Web 2.0 is filled with arenas where you live virtually in another world, and the internet is definitely heading that way.  The movie wasn't as creepy as second life, but all the same, very interesting to use the idea of fictional 'self placement' in a movie with so many other themes.

Sure there was plenty of explosions for the fellas, love story for the ladies, but another interesting part of the movie was the unbelievable relationship to what's going on in America.  The idea of the American armed forces literally forcing their way into a native land for precious natural resources was straight off the screen of Fox News, CNN, or MSNBC.  Right down to the very phrase, "shock and awe" the story was told by the underdog, terrorist, insurgency.  Interesting choice Mr. Cameron.  

We left the theater, I looked over at my friend Luke and asked, "Does America know what this movie just said?"  Because if they do, those who've been championing the wars for the last 8 years just took an intellectual shot in the mouth.

Spiritism is a vital part of the film as well.  The native people take great pride in connecting with the energy of the earth, believing in an afterlife, and a connection among all living things.  I think you'll be hard pressed to find the Christian message, but I'm sure someone is already working on a small group video series title, "The Gospel according to Avatar."  If not…please don't.

For those of you weary of heart, there's plenty of language, lots of violence, and the natives run around the forest wearing little more than a loin cloth.  So be informed.  

Overall, I felt like it was a wonderful fantasy story with well development current event like issues.  James Cameron did a great job telling the story he wanted to tell.  

But most of you have already seen this right?  I mean it is the highest grossing film of all time. 

And in that respect…I'd be interested to get your thoughts. 

If you've seen the film, what did you think? 

5 Comments

  1. Great special effects and scenery. Weak plot, poor characterization and bad acting. I could easily spend way too much time on why I didn’t like it as a movie. But I’ll leave it at this: so boring I fell asleep twice.
    What troubles me most is how it is a re-hashing of an out-dated racial fantasy in vein of Little Big Man, The Emerald Forrest, At Play in the Fields of the Lord, Dances With Wolves, Fern Gully, Pocahontas, The Last Samurai…
    In this story, a white guy is transplanted to some foreign culture that he is generally working to destroy or undermine for the government or some kind of corporate entity. Then he falls in love with the culture, adapts to become part of it and then HE SAVES IT.
    The film definitely has a lot of anti-American themes to some extent, but at the end of the day, it portrays a world where the native peoples are helpless without their White Messiah, which plays right into much of the thought process behind why many people support such wars.
    It’s kind of like a cop-out. It lets you feel good because you rooted against the war-mongers, but it almost seems to say, we couldn’t help it. After all, the natives someone of the resolve and leadership of Western Civilization to face the enemy.
    I’m not trying to give any support for or against the war. But I think that Avatar is full of some very patronizing, condescending attitudes towards non-Westerners that could be very detrimental.

  2. I also work with teenagers and I knew coming off of the heels of the “Twilight” garbage that this would be the next series of issues to tackle. While Twilight lured them in with the “romance” facade….Avatar used the video game imagery to lure them in. I feel the youth that see or saw the movie are being conditioned to accept some things that we see in today’s world. Things like, “mother nature” is in control……”hug a tree” while you can before they are all gone. Global Warming must have been a major financial contributor to the film….I felt the emotions of wanting to hate the bad guys…(US military) because of their thoughtless actions, emotions and desire to destroy for material gain…..I can only imagine what youth feel toward the same b/c of the emotional roller coaster they are already on. To summarize it up Avatar definitely has the ability to control and condition the younger generation. Don’t discount this power either, as I recall a man who went by the name of Adolf also realized the power of conditioning! Twilight posed an obvious moral and ethical and demonic culture wrapped in a romantic fantasy…while Avatar poses an opposite threat of conditioning a bigger mindset of what is being shoved down our throats by Liberal America.
    Christians (leaders and youth) need to see through what Hollywood would have you accept as good and normal. Isaiah put it correctly when it says….”Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil…”
    Just my opinion…let me know your thoughts!

  3. I loved the effects. The 3-D and the stunning visuals were awesome. However, the movie was so predictible. Political message imbeded in the story, Global warming advocates got a great flick about “mother earth” and the list goes on.
    I enjoyed the movie as a movie. I did not appreciate the political undertones. Yes, we all need to care for creation. We all need to see the meta narrative and how what we do relates. However, the pantheistic overtones were a little bit over the top for me.
    I would see it again.

  4. I literally just saw this movie like 10 minutes ago and it BLEW MY MIND!! Being the analytical nerd I am, I kept thinking of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey and the struggles Jake went through as far as his identity. It seems as though he was tied to what he had known all his life, to this new, unusual world, in which all things are connected with the Earth, something he had never seen at such depth and beauty before. Jake watches as this new, beautiful, peaceful world is literally demolished and turned into the destructive, bare world that he once lived in. He sees his previous world with open eyes for what it really is. Jake said to the god-thing, something along the lines of, “… they will destroy you, just like they desroyed their own Mother”, confronting humans’ destruction of the Earth and the balance of life and peace throughout the world. It was CRAAZZZY!!!

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