Tuesday, December 29, 2009
We took a few days off and saw some movies. First on board… Avatar!
First things first…WOW! I have never seen anything like this before. I was skeptical that it wouldn’t live up to the 10 year hype but it definitely gave you the goods.
Our story begins when a our protagonist Jake Sully (great name by the way), a paraplegic ex-marine, is awoken from a 5 year nap in cryo-stasis on his way to Pandora, a planet covered in dense jungle and inhabited by a humanoid-ish race of 10 foot tall blue hunters called the Na’vi. Since the air is poisonous to breath and negotiators are needed, Jake is given an Avatar to control.
Avatars are remote controlled bodies that are identical to the local Na’vi population. While Jake can’t walk in his human body, in his Avatar he is footloose and fancy free. The scene where he is in his Avatar for the first time and can walk, run, jump and play basketball is great. His childlike joy is infectious.
A major mining corporation wants the rock that is under the massive tree that the Na’vi live in. Jake is supposed to either help negotiate them out of there or find a weakness that the corporation and their ex-military thugs can exploit. At first Jake is on board with the plan but after getting separated from his group on his first mission, Jake (in his Avatar body) is taken in by the tribe and taught the ways of the Na’vi. Eventually comes to appreciate their ways and also falls in love.
I have not seen special effects like this in my life. I saw this in 2D because a friend of ours had seen it in both 2D and 3D. He suggested we see it first in 2D because while some things are popping out of the screen a lot of other things are blurred…and you will want to look at everything else. He was right.
It was jaw dropping. The world that is created is gorgeous, creative, fantastic and phenomenal. At one point in the movie I was so immersed in the world that I had forgotten that I was in the movie theater, and that was in the 2D.
Honestly, at first the Na’vi people look very similar - you’re so focused on them being big and blue - but as you watch and get more into the storyline, you begin to see the subtle physical and personality differences that make them unique individuals. It was fascinating. The vegetation and wildlife are equally engrossing and beautiful.
The story was fantastic! Classic yet so different that it felt brand new. You WILL get connected to all of the characters and make audible noises when something bad happens to them. I will say that the main villain felt very cliché, one dimensional, almost a caricature of a bad movie villain from the 70’s or 80’s. But all the other characters had incredible depth and believability.
Things you should know:
- Avatar is long. 3-hour kind of long. Make sure you go to the bathroom beforehand and stay light on the beverages - you don’t want to miss anything because of a bathroom break!
- Avatar is not for very young children. The first half? Yes, all ages could see it but the second half has some violence that I wouldn’t recommend for younger kids. You come to care about the people and the planet and the bad guys come in with weapons blazing and no mercy. Characters you love die, and even Alyssa got very upset when a horse-like creature was burned alive and a panther-like animal was gutted.
- Avatar is emotionally and physically exhausting. It could have something to with the length but I think is also has to do with how involved you become within the story. You ride this rollercoaster of feelings and we were all very tired afterward.
When I walked out I was having trouble finding the words to describe what I had seen, which for me is a cosmic anomaly that happens once every 400 years. Without further ado, I’ll simply say…
See this movie. And see it on the big screen. Avatar is one of the few movies that lives up to all the hype! Grab a ticket and GO!