Thursday, January 28, 2010

Movies Pt 2: Avatar

The second movie I got to see was Avatar. I'd been hearing the pundits talk about being anti-American, anti-US military, anti-Christian, and anti-capitalism. It's funny to me that people can get so worked up over something as silly as a science fiction movie.

My take on the movie is that the theme is simplistic, but a worthy theme for all that. Basically the idea is that wealthy developed planets like earth, should take care when exploiting the natural resources of remote life-supporting moons. It's not nice to disrupt the eco-system or to trample on the rights of the 10 foot tall blue aliens.

The plot is familiar and this by Matt Bateman summarizes it better than I can.

If I was a Marine I'd probably be a little annoyed at the portrayal of the military in the movie. Jake is one of many ex-Marines hired as mercenaries by the corporation and they are one dimensional villains (except for Jake and one helicoptor pilot, who rise to the level of two dimensional heroes). I can sympathize because I'm a minister and members of my profession are regularly portrayed as one dimensional villains also. Still, I don't think any of us should kick too hard. Like bad preachers, bad military types are easy to find in real life.

I don't believe this is a cheap shot at the military, though. The movie just needed some convenient villains for the big fight scene and Blackwater-type mercenaries fit the story logic. James Cameron's disturbing comment about being a fan of Eco-terrorism aside (I really hope he meant to say "eco-tourism"), the movie isn't very sinister. It reminds me a lot of "Starship Troopers" actually. This is a left-leaning movie and that one leaned to the right, but they're both ultimately harmless fun with dazzling special effects.

As for the effects, Pandora is dazzling and would be worth the price of admission even if there was no plot at all. The world and it's creatures takes your breath away.

(One odd note in closing: the animals of Pandora remind A LOT of the Martian animals in Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars series.)

Anyway, the plot and acting are so-so, but go for the scenery, and don't let silly ideological angst keep you away. This is an uncomplicated, fun movie.

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