Thursday, December 24, 2009

Watch: Avatar

A vibrant journey that is engaging and convincing

Avatar is all about manifestation. The manifestation of a man in the form of a male Na'vi, as well as the manifestation of divinity in the form of the natural world. These parallel concepts, which are directly related to the movie's title, are the driving force of this journey that makes one rethink his choices in life by making connections between these concepts and our real world.

Pandora is a beautiful, colorful, and self-sustaining world, just like what our Earth had been about 100 years ago. It has its share of wild beasts and human-like Na'vis which, while may fight occasionally, live in harmony nonetheless. It is the flow of energy between all the creatures, no matter how different they are, that makes this place unique. A different kind of bond, a divine link which is referred to by the locals as a goddess named Eywa.

Things seemed destined to change though. Humans coming to Pandora were about to disturb its harmony forever. They did it before in their home (Earth) and there's no doubt they can do it again on Pandora. The movie shows us the triangle of business, science, and the military, and how they act together despite their somewhat different goals. The businessmen look for money, and the scientists look for knowledge, while the army men look for glory.

The journey takes place in the head of the protagonist, the former marine Jake Sully, who finds himself between a true clash of civilizations: the industrialist Humans and the naturalist Na'vis. Living as his Na'vi scientifically-developed avatar while asleep, he was soon to feel the other way around. The stark difference between both worlds is evident throughout the movie, and perhaps it was symbolized by Sully's loss of both legs as a human in contrast with his complete form as a Na'vi.

Technically, the movie is one of the best. The CGI-live action integration is so seamless in a way that makes some recent movies seem very old. The 3-D technology is a plus, helping the viewer to get into the story and feel the action even more without being a distraction, unlike many other 3-D movies. The writing is great, as well as the design of the elements comporting the natural life of Pandora which is nothing short of visual poetry.

Finally, the theme may draw parallels with previous movies. Avatar is not the first movie to be critical of the post-industrial disconnection from nature and the implications it had on the environment around us. Nor it is free from elements repeated in similar Hollywood-style epic movies. But despite all of this, Avatar is unique enough as a whole; a movie that is definitely worth watching.

Score: 4/5

Official Avatar Movie

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

He's Barack Obama

A new video about the American president is creating a huge buzz on the Internet. It is an animated short movie by JibJab showing the president as an American super hero who can solve all the world's problems in a blink of an eye. This politically satirical clip was watched by the president himself in the 65th annual Radio and TV correspondents dinner in Washington.

It is arguable JibJab's best effort till this day. While the movie clearly pokes fun at the extreme optimism among some of President Obama's supporters throughout the world, whether you find it poking fun at the president himself or not will depend on your political preference. Or maybe it pokes fun at the USA!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pixar is still going UP.

Pixar's finishing of their first decade of movies couldn't have been better. UP has been in theater's for almost two and half weeks and it is doing great. There are even some speculations about it being one of the best performance of Pixar in terms of the box office. One can't help wondering why Pixar keeps going up?!

Having seen many animation movies lately, it is fair to say that Pixar is by far the leader in this industry. It is not hte techniques they use in the animation, it is not the amount of innovation in the way they render their scenes, it is something much more simple and much more appealing to the regular viewers that makes the difference between Pixar and the rest. It is their stories that appeal to all the ages. It is the worlds they create, not only by their stunning visuals, but by their incredible storytelling abilities also.

From a fish looking for it's son to a rat who wants to be a chef, and from those talking toys, to that old guy who wants to fulfill his late wife's dream; each story has something to laugh about, something to learn, and in some cases (especially with UP), something that will almost make you cry.

Pixar is taking 3D animation to a whole new level in a time when this genre began to be dominated by banal movies. It is doing what Disney had been doing with 2D animation until a decade ago. Now, with both companies unified, one can only expect the best to come.