Thursday, 15 April 2010

Avatar: Didn't leave me feeling blue

Last month, I finally got around to seeing Avatar, which has been pegged as a benchmark film by many, and an apparent "must-see" for any film enthusiast. As a co-owner of a rather obese DVD collection, I felt it necessary that I should cast judgement on it.

Now let me first say that I didn't see it in 3D, so perhaps I cannot comment fully on the quality of the visual effects. But even on a fairly low-budget high-res screen it looked pretty damned good. Vibrant, detailed, and just as awe-inspiring as I'd heard.

Now, with regards to the story. This is an area that seems to have been subject to heavy criticism for the similarities to other films or classic tales, such as Dances with Wolves, or even Pochahontas. (I should note that I haven't seen either of these films shamefully enough so I cannot personally comment on the story parallels. Avatar however, IS fairly contrived and tends to stretch the imagination by the first half hour alone. The first time the word "unobtainium" was uttered, both my partner and I scoffed, how ridiculous and unimaginative. We've since found out that this is an actual substance, so we were soon silenced.

As for the rest? Simply put, very simple. But that, for me, did not take away from the experience. Perhaps I would have thought differently had I seen the films that are meant to have already explored these themes on the same line of a story. But I haven't. Therefore I could just sit back and actually get swept up in what I think was just a an escapist fantasy story. No harm in that.

I am interested however, to see where film is going to go next. Avatar utilised 3D technology, animation, and so many other technical fireworks at their disposal I couldn't even think of them, let alone list or spell them. Just got me thinking how this can be built upon - CAN it be built upon? I'm starting to wonder if there is going to be a point when there is nothing else left to explore in this medium and we just end up being spoon-fed old films that have been reinvented on a big budget, techo-scale.

Can just see it now, Agent Higgins of the Linguo tribe takes a youngling Roughian orphan under his wing and teaches her the ways of his kind. My Fair Lady for future generations. A unique story that touches on issues that have never been....oh. Hang on..

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