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Old 04-25-2010, 10:18 AM
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Default A Brief Evaluation Of 'Avatar.'

Hey I never saw this sub-forum, glad I found it. Anyway a few weeks ago I put together a small analysis piece on Avatar, so here it is:

April 10, 2010

A critical evaluation of “Avatar”

I believe it is necessary for me to post this, not because I want to, although I do, but more-so to silence those who rubbish Avatar in my face, which can get rather frustrating. So here is my attempt to share the best of the film and the impact it has had on movie-making and society. I’m not a big movie buff, but I’ll give it a go.

■ Plot

Wow, the plot is cliché, yup, we know that. We have seen this plotline before, one movie comes to mind immediately, Dances with Wolves. I have no problem with this, as the plot is so powerful and in my opinion needs to be told over and over again, unto each new generation. What really makes Avatar’s plot so powerful is the storyline and universe in which the plot is found, it is such a beautiful story. That justifies the plotline entirely. The director, James Cameron invented this story in the early 1990′s, so that cuts out any movies made after 1994 with a similar plot. Cameron is excused in my eyes, the world he built upon the bare plotline would have required some in-depth thought. Something he obviously would have to put a lot of time into. To be honest, the cliché is something you have to look for, it doesn’t strike you throughout the movie, like clichés generally do. That is simply because the overtone of the storyline eliminates that.

■ Dialogue

YEAH BABY GET SUM!!!!! – Cpl. Lyle Wainfleet

I didn’t even notice that on my first viewing of the movie, but on subsequent occasions I looked out for it. I managed to find the same stupid Jarhead say it on more than one occasion. To be honest, I didn’t think to myself cliché, because I was too busy laughing. Corny material gives me a good laugh. But you may ask, why am I defending the dialogue if I’m exploiting it? Simple, this is the only poor dialogue in the film, there is even justification behind this foul act. Well, what is the justification? It was Ryan Piccirillo on his blog “freshman denial” that first justified it.
It is a view that I also share. That simply is, “YEAH BABY GET SUM” is exactly the kind of thing a brute jarhead would say, and even more-so in film. So before you immediately say, hey, that is cliché and corny. Sit back and look at the context, that is all that matters.

■ Characters

The characters of this movie may seem simple, but I’ve got a better word. Clearly cut. That would be the best way to describe them. The main character of this movies, Jake Sully, has only limited character development. But the main theme of Jake’s is freedom, the ability to express himself how he had always wanted to. We see this as he enters his Avatar for the first time. Jake is a marine and at some point during his career his legs were blown off. He was then disabled. But after he connects with his Avatar for the first time, he can run again, so he does so immediately. We see the freedom fill his being as it once did. Throughout the movie we see some character development of other characters, such as Neytiri. But not a lot.

Fear not, I also picked up several hints throughout the film that could lead to major character development in sequel and/or prequel movies, which have been confirmed by the way. An example of this is the photo of Dr Grace Augustine’s school. In which we see grace, Neytiri and Neytiri’s sister, the latter having no character development at all and was not seen in the movie. Could we see her in subsequent films? If not, I am confident that there will be extended character development for many of the main characters.

■ Setting

There isn’t much to say about the setting really. Other than it is absolutely amazing. The planet of Pandora is teeming with life, both beautiful and ferocious. Compared to our own planet, Pandora is infinitely better in terms of wildlife and plant life. Everywhere you look there is bioluminescence.

"Your not in Kansas anymore, this is Pandora"!
The beautiful native race of the planet, the Na’vi, are painted in such high stead, their native habitat is stunning. This is likely to highlight how in touch with the environment and naturalized the Na’vi are. The humans are painted in the opposite light, their large bulldozers are seen crushing forests and such. The scourge of Pandora as it were.

■ Themes

The themes of this film are very relevent to today’s society and I would say the movies strongpoint. I’m going to cover a few, like imperialism, anti-war and such. I’ll start by bulleting each different theme.

■ Imperialism

Imperialism is basically an economic or political empire crushing a weaker culture for its own benefit. I’m sure that you can already see how imperialism relates to Avatar. But before I elaborate on that, I want to take you back to historical examples.

This can be seen when the Europeans subjugated the native American tribes from the late 1400′s onwards. A more powerful organisation, with more advanced technology, invaded a smaller less advanced organisation to gain resources and further wealth. So how do we see this in Avatar? The Resources Development Administration (RDA), who represent the humans in the movie, are a powerful interstellar organisation, they start mining operations on Pandora. This eventually reaches a climax when the natives are inadvertently stopping the RDA from mining the resources they want. So, then we see imperialism, as the RDA try to crush the natives with hired mercenaries so they can get at their resources. People have also labeled the Iraq and Afghanistan wars imperialistic, saying that the more powerful western countries are crushing the middle east to get at their oil.

■ Anti-patriotism

Some tabloids likened the felling of the Na’vi hometree to be similar to the destruction of the world trade centres. People have labeled the film anti-american and such, but here is what I say to them. “Your naive idiots, deal with it”. Here is why these people are impeccably short-sighted, they immediately took the film as anti-american because the humans were portrayed as an american war machine, which was defeated at the end of the film.

Many saw the connection between the felling of hometree and that of the world trade centres.
My question to them is why don’t you see what is right in front of you? The RDA is a ‘inter-stellar’ corporate empire, not America. That american war machine would be the same one in Iraq and Afghanistan wouldn’t it? Well I can tell you that the one seen in Avatar and the one seen in the present day are fundamentally different. If anything its pro-america, can you draw the parallels between the felling of hometree and of the world trade centres, I can.

■ Environmentalism

Avatar certainly is the most flashy retelling of any environmental message that I have seen. I applaud that, if there is any way to get across such a message then Cameron went the right way about getting it across. Organisations like Greenpeace and Sea Shepherds are boring at best.

A film like Avatar is the best way to get across the environmental message. It highlights how the brutal humans barge in and take whatever they want, whilst in the process destroying the environment. It is a mirror image of what is happening in the present day, the destruction of species, the destruction of the environment in general. This issue isn’t particularly important to me, evolution has let us down. It isn’t our fault.

■ Impact on movie making

If there is one fundamental thing that will come out of Avatar, it is a revolution in movie making. The CGI used to make the movie is groundbreaking new technology, along with 3D cameras, designed to enhance the 3D quality. The movie utilized a massive budget, highest estimates are at 310 million dollars, but it payed off, as the movie grossed 2.7 billion worldwide, making it the highest gross ever. This one thing is certain, filmmaking will forever be revolutionized because of Avatar.

By Spock
Live long and prosper

Last edited by Spock; 04-25-2010 at 10:20 AM.
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