With all the hype that AVATAR 3D has created, it wasn’t surprising that Vish and I were more than eager to catch up with this latest James Cameroon offering.
AVATAR surpasses almost all sci-fi, apocalyptic and epic war movies of our times in its sheer cinematographic brilliance and technical excellence. The detailed landscaping of the fictional planet of Pandora and the panning of the camera as the avatar of Jake Sully explores the dangerously rich and marvelously magnificent flora and fauna of the world of the Na’vis, delivers a powerful impact, which is wonderfully enhanced with the 3-D effect, thus offering a rare and most-engaging visual experience, especially in a “decent-movie deprived” year that 2009 has been.
Having said all this, I would stop at a 3.75 on 5 for AVATAR. The movie remains wanting of a more original, never-seen-before storyline. The Na’vis and their traditions would remind most of us Indians of the folklore we have grown up on – the potent supremacy of the souls of our ancestors that continue to watch over us, guide us and bless us; the belief that every living object is connected to each other, almost in a supernatural kind of a way; the disassociation of the body with the soul or the spirit; the blind faith in rituals and the superstitions – an extended Star Trek version of our indigenous Jataka tales and stories from the Panchatantra.
The novelty of the phantasmal Pandorian world begins to wear off post the half-time popcorn break, and what resumes is a sluggishly paced war of epic proportions between the humans and the na’vis. This conflict between unabashed and selfish scientific technology and the ecological balance of nature serves as an apt allegory for what us human beings in general, and men in particular (pardon the sexist slur, I really mean it though :)), have been guilty of since times immemorial – futile wars, frightening carbon print, mutilation of our natural resources, nuclear pileup, the greed to control and the need to have it all!
The ending is quite prolonged (I genuinely feel the movie could have been cut short by atleast 30 minutes), and clichéd, and predictable. The obvious side that is good and right and utopian wins and the humans are packed to where they belong … and ultimately the true “AVATAR” is born.