By now I’m sure you’ve heard tons of feedback about this movie. Some I think are encouraging and some just gets lost in the sandwich of good-bad-good conditions. So I’m here, after a week of release, to try to make it as simple as I can.
Avatar, for the very many fans like me, is an extravagant, bold and audacious movie that will annoy some, startle others and demonstrate once again that James Cameron is the real thing – or the king of the world, whichever you prefer. Cameron if anything is a visionary director of quixotic delights. For starters, he had to shelf Avatar because the technology to make it still does not exist a decade ago. He had to wait for the Lord of the Rings trilogy to get his queue that he can start the machine. Two, he won’t give specifics on how much was spent because, well, it’s a little too much. There was an obvious wild abandon during production and he sort of just kept creating it from the ground up without any particulars on what his dollar limit is.
Of course nothing in this movie is feasible (yet), save its entertainment. It is teeming with tactile pleasure that somehow resist categorization. The actors don’t chew the scenery, but they thrash it. Each has a broad caricature of their unmistakable nod to whatever stereotype they are playing and somehow it still doesn’t go close to mushy. The iconographic exaggeration sells well given that it will allow the audience to grow into it.
Cameron’s fired up imagination won’t allow anyone to give an immediate opinion about it. I mean, okay this is a story about a distant planet, and then what? This isn’t Star Wars, it most definitely isn’t Predator and even if characters are covered in blue, this definitely isn’t Smurf. Until you get to the movies, wear your 3D glasses and sit the 2 hours and 45 minutes runtime, the punch will not come. And the moment your understanding comes to terms with Cameron’s vision, he will still do it his way. Perhaps that’s the reason why we’re getting mixed signals about how well this film delivered. Conceivably new age, we can’t expect viewers to have an immediate heightened understanding to it. With that I think we can wait.
What we can expect is that Avatar will give its heart completely to the narrative; its hair-trigger suspense tied to something as slight and decisive as a tongue click is magnetic. It’s safe to say that whatever preconceived notion you have for this film is easily thrown away given that the journey is both new and exciting.
Cameron’s Avatar is unashamed but it will still serve its purpose. Expect an extravagant Hollywood treat and a little reminder of what’s most important when you step out of the theatre.
I love this film.