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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Movie Watch: Avatar

I wasn't going to do an actual normal review of Avatar since I had assumed most people had already watched it, there are reviews a plenty, and it isn't really the kind of movie you watch because of reviews but because everyone else is watching it and you know it has some killer graphics.

So here's the review - it is Dances With Wolves mashed with Ferngully, minus Robin Williams but with some of the best digital graphics ever produced. I mean we're talking Weta Digital, Industrial Light & Magic, and really hot ten foot tall cat people.

So you know the movie is a visual treat and honestly, it is quite a lot of fun. Is it a good movie? Uh, well, it also features a mineral called Unobtanium (I would have preferred MacGuffinite myself), has a plot so transparent and full of leaps that - oh look, it's a three legged panther!

It's pretty standard action fare, all in all. The uninterested bits (i.e., it takes a white man to save a native tribe) are surrounded around by some rather curious elements of transhumanism in general. The most obvious, of course, being the namesake device that allows paraplegic Sully to become an ten foot tall jungle predator. In reality, though, this mostly just serves as an excuse to divide the movie more readily in between scenes requiring no human body shots and those with body shots. Don't expect any deep discourse on the nature of man (or the disabled) - it's more akin to TRON than anything else.

No, the fascinating bit is how the concept that your body is not the limit of your presence pervades across so many parts of the movie. From the avatars, to the Na'Vi's sync cable with animals and trees, to plant based neural clusters, to even motion-based mecha suits. The message is repeated over and over again - the body just isn't all that.

Anyway, it's a decent film with some truly amazing graphics. Watch in 3D, because as beachheads into the new 3D revolutions go - this is a pretty potent one. I don't know if it has convinced me that 3D is the way of the future, but it was still worth watching in 3D.