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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Avatar (2009) James Cameron film Review : Avatar - Some thoughts

Avatar (2009 Film) by James Cameron - Film/Movie review and some thoughts

Yes . . . its the biggest spectacle of the decade . . . and yes its visually pure magic . . . rock solid in every department of film making . . .except for writing maybe . . . but we won't go there . . . cause some Films are wayyyyy bigger than the story they are tryin...g to tell . . . and some Directors just make you realize the power of Cinema as a medium of storytelling . . . way more impactful than a book / play / radio / what have you sometimes . . . James Cameron is such a man . . . there ain’t no doubt about that one . . . So yes . . . this isn't a review at all . . . just some thoughts on the Film . . . Lets look at the intention behind the Film for starters . . . why would Cameron want to make this Film??? And what you garner and see is that here’s a man who first and foremost wants to raise the bar . . . here’s a dreamer and a visionary who sits there dreaming a magical dream . . . and finds a way of actually making it happen . . . and that to me is the biggest power of cinema . . . that beyond the dream created in your head and then on a laptop . . . someone has to actualize it as well . . . its lost otherwise . . . and hence my constant angst about a Film having to be as good technically as in its writing . . . but I deviate here . . . what got me most about Avatar was somehow the visual of a whol bunch of Film Technicians sitting out there wanting to do their BEST . . . to push the envelop hard and tear it . . . to strive for the excellence that their dreams show . . . and actually achieving it . . . such an inspiring visual . . . and am humbled and moved by it . . . and sad . . . because this is the ONE thing I find missing the most in our films / industry . . . we just don’t intend excellence . . . our darnest best . . . why????? When??? Will we ever??? Then my mind goes to the day James Cameron must have sat there looking at his Final Copy . . . the dream come alive in front of his eyes . . . must he have had tears in his eyes about it . . . relief, pride, excitement . . . or a self assured man saying . . . damn! I did it again!!! Or maybe even a cocky man . . . saying next!!!! Would love to know . . . but what’s important is that Avatar makes me think of all this while I’m watching the movie and for hours later . . . perhaps till . . . days later who knows . . . the true stamp of a great film . . . Technically . . . am not even proficient to comment on it . . . just know that watching live action in 3D . . . swimming in front of your eyes . . . seeming touchable . . . making it all look so hyper real is such an addiction that seriously 2D is going to be boring now . . . I don’t even know enough about the new technology he cracked in creating this Film . . . but all I can think of is the man who creates Aliens, True Lies, Terminators, Titanic and now Avatar is in fact a Scientist who can create Art . . . and that too for mass consumption . . . which to me is the true definition of a Film Maker . . . in the tradition of a Quantum Physicist if you will . . . where Science meets Philosophy . . . James Cameron does that for you . . . While I gush . . . the story comes to my mind . . . but before I even get into it . . . the point is that Cameron has always chosen the Speilberg path . . . of telling you simple or actually very simplistic stories mounted on a very, very large scale . . . with heroes called Jack, John, Jake . . . which have to be made on a budget of Millions of dollars . . . you’ve got to earn those millions back . . . which means every human being on the planet has to watch it . . . well almost . . . which means your story / script has to be moron proof . . . it has to be basic . . . understood across cultures . . . age groups . . . sensibilities . . . it HAS to be simplistic . . . now whether Cameron consciously chose that as a his style or whether that’s what comes to him naturally . . . I don’t know . . . Speilberg tried proving his seriousness with Schindler’s List and Munich . . . Cameron hasn’t bothered yet . . . but the point being, Avatar’s story / screenplay cannot possibly get any more complicated or layered than that . . . structurally its standard hollwyood with themes . . . set ups and pay offs and 3 acts firmly in place . . . the only lack I felt was that unlike Titanic . . . it isn’t a very FELT movie . . . it doesn’t feel like the Writer ie Cameron again infused the characters and the set up with too much emotion . . . somewhere technology took over . . . so Avatar leaves you dazzled but not very moved . . . I have a feeling the sequel would take care of that . . . Themes wise though, I have lots to say on the story / film . . . it is such a beautiful blend of myths . . . there are those blue bodied gigantic natives on a planetary moon . . . totally like Vishnu’s 10 avatars right to the point of tikas on foreheads a la Iskcon . . . the birds that are so much like Garuda . . . yet faces that you feel might be Afican beneath . . . and accents that are French or Spanish . . . Music that is Oriental often . . . and philosophy that most certainly is . . . in one broad stroke, the Film pits it as a White vs ‘Colored’ people literally . . . as much as humans vs aliens . . . as much as US vs rest of the world . . . a lovely blend of ethnicities . . . and in these allegories, Avatar is such a brilliant concept . . . it takes all the Buddhist / Hindu philosophies of Nature, Kundalini (at the base of their plaits) . . . connecting to other beings (plait connects to horse literally) . . . the collective consciousness (the Tree) . . . and makes them literal and visual . . . and easy to understand . . . what a triumph that is . . . it makes the simple message of Nature vs humanity so powerful . . . it makes villains out of myopic corporate vision and numb brained military destruction come to life . . . It reminds you of Iraq, Vietman, etc in its visuals rather consciously . . . when that the big tree comes down, I am moved . . . and for some reason reminded of the Bamiyan Buddha being torn down in Afghanistan by the Taliban . . . every frame has so many references . . . informed yet simplistic . . . sometimes a bit too underlined . . . but I’m impressed . . . because there’s basically something for everyone . . . I can go on some more . . . but will spare you . . . the simple point being that Avatar heralds the new age of Cinema, affecting even our shores . . . and the thronging crowds giving our Industry enough impetus to learn from it . . . will we???? Hollywood take overs apart . . . what moved me most about Avatar was to see a PACKED HOUSE after so long and to the palpable excitement of everyone waiting outside like eager kids . . . dying to catch hold of their 3D glasses and get on to the joyride . . . forgetting your woes for 3 hours and being sucked into a make believe world in a darkened hall . . . that ultimately reminds you of your basic inner goodness . . . Isn’t that what movies are meant to do to us??? Avatar does that . . . no two ways about it.

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