Movie Review: Avatar

So a friend and I went to see Avatar, after much hassle getting tickets (seriously, the thing’s sold out for like two weeks straight, and this in a country which is historically not that big a market for Indian movies.)

Does Avatar have problems? Absolutely. They’re written about in exhaustive detailĀ here andĀ here, better than I ever could, so I’m not going to bother rehashing them. tl;dr for the linkophobes: Avatar is racist dreck. Pretty, but racist dreck nevertheless.

That said… there are a couple of things I did like about the movie.

  • The CGI. Christ on a pogo stick this was GOOD. Even on India’s crappy not-really-made-for-high-def movie screens, the visuals were stunning.
  • I loved that Jake got rescued not once, not twice, but over three times by Neyteri, and the rescues were feats of physical strength. So often we’re reduced to the old ‘big tough man weak silly woman’ trope that it’s nice to see a reversal.
  • While on that note… the strong female characters in general. I loved Trudy especially (badass helo pilots FTW! Chelsea was cheering like a maniac in my head whenever she came on screen) and I went ‘dammit!’ when the missile hit her bird. I might also be harboring a bit of an affinity for Trudy/Jake. WTF is wrong with me?
  • I loved that little bit in the pod in the mountains or wherever it was when the team really started to get close. Loved Jake struggling through the Na’vi language with Norm, Grace playing mama bear (I went ‘aww!’ when she hauled his exhausted ass to bed) and just the little things that marked their bonding with each other.
  • The acting. My girl Zoe was fierce as always, and Sigourney Weaver and Sam Worthington weren’t half bad either. Loved Michelle Rodriguez as well, but for some reason I kept thinking she was Sophina Brown. Must have been the sunglasses.

A lot has been said about the ‘this is OUR land!’ scene. Actually that didn’t bother me as much as Jake mastering the Toruk. Only five Navi have ever managed it, and then this white guy waltzes in and takes control? And don’t even get me started on the Na’vi bowing to him when he makes his entrance? WTF, really.

Also: Unobtanium! I LOL’ed IRL. Couldn’t they have come up with anything else? Pandorium? Navium? Hell, Thingummybobium? Just… UNOBTANIUM. *laughs some more*

In conclusion: Avatar was an SFX win, racism fail, and feminism I’m-not-sure-what, since the strong women yay was followed by two out of three of them dying. If you’re going to watch it, go for the CGI; there’s not much plot to speak of, and the race!fail is overwhelming.

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