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