There are movies, then there are 3-D movies, and then there is Avatar. With all the pre-release publicity, post-release rave reviews and the hype and hoop-la surrounding this movie, it was all but a matter of time before I actually caught it in a theatre. And thank God for the IMAX 3-D Screen in Hyderabad, I was able to enjoy this particular movie to its fullest extent, just the way James Cameron wanted his audience to enjoy it.
At the heart of it Avatar deals with a simple theme, how humans have completely plundered the earth of its natural resources and are actively engaged in the active pursuit of other planets with compatible natural resources and minerals to plunder, at any cost. Pandora, an earth-like moon of Polyphemus is the latest target, and Unobtanium is the precious mineral that RDA Corporation has targeted for harvesting for human survival. Just a small glitch in their plans however, are the Na’vi, the indigenous sapient humanoids who inhabit Pandora.
In an attempt to improve relations with the Na’vi, human scientists create human-Na’vi hybrids called avatars, controlled by genetically-matched human operators, a-la Matrix style. Humans plug into their controllers and lo and behold they can control their Na’vi avatars. Jake Sully, a paraplegic ex-marine is the latest and last attempt by the humans to try peaceful reconciliation with the Na’vi and get their approval to mine Unobtanium from Pandora.
While Jake starts off on his mission, he is quite clear of his objectives, but a few things happen along the way which changes his attitude towards the Na’vi. Contrary to his beliefs, he learns that the Na’vi co-exist with their ecosystems, nature and planet in an unique manner. They believe that all creatures in Pandora contribute to the overall flow of energy and harmony in a manner that it is wrong to try and disturb or disrupt this harmony for any unnecessary reasons. Further, the fact that Jake falls head over heels for Neyitri, a female Na’vi complicates matters even further, as his loyalties are torn between his paraplegic human self and his relatively stronger, smarter Na’vi avatar.
What follows is a journey of how Jake is initiated into the Na’vi tribe of Omaticayas, how he gradually understands the Na’vi way of life, and comes to realize that the humans are actually repeating on Pandora what they did with Earth and its natural resources around a 100 years ago. What finally transpires is an epic battle in which Jake and the Omaticayas bring together all the Na’vi tribes on Pandora for a final confrontation with the humans.
As is the norm, good ultimately triumphs over evil, and once again, as is the norm, the crux of the movie lies in how exactly good manages to triumph over evil. A reasonably simplistic storyline, a tight screenplay, and some really good casting manage to hold Avatar in good stead.
Now while most movies fail to live upto their pre-release hype nowadays, James Cameron has managed to put together an awesome movie in the form of Avatar. The fact that this is a movie which pushes the barriers of technology, filmmaking and CGI in the industry speaks volumes for Cameron’s vision and his tenacity in seeing it through to completion. 3D movies, and CGI in movies will never be the same again after Avatar, and in my opinion, this movie pushes the envelope to such an extent that going forward, movies will either be referred to as ‘pre-Avatar’ movies or ‘post-Avatar’, at least in terms of how technology has been used in them.
One request I have for readers of this blog is to go to theatres and watch this movie, because believe me, no LCD/Plasma TV or funky Home Theatre system will ever do justice to this epoch James Cameron movie. This has to be seen in all its glory on the big screen. And people who know me well, know fully well that I would never suggest going to a theatre to watch a movie unless it was worth every penny and every minute of the effort that is required to do so.
LAMBScore for this movie