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Saw avatar if somewhat through beer goggles

Hey, I saw James 'see, I can TOO still make movies' Cameron's epic film, Avatar recently. In glorious 3-D, no less.   A film noted by critics that, apparently, Yes Virginia, being pretty enough can overcome story flaws.  There are some parts of the movie that have some trouble holding together on examination, I felt, but I'll try and be gentle. 

So impressions:

Firstly, I had some problems with the 3-d glasses with my glasses.  Any time something was passing 'way in front' for 3d effect, it basically hurt my eyes and gave me vertigo.  I was actually physically nauseated when I came out of the theater. 

Even without that, those who suffer from vertigo, be warned, there are lots and lots of big bold panning shots.  This is very cheerfully a big movie.  Lots of big things happening... oftentimes at great heights.

It is a prettyfilm though.  I'll give it that.

The plot is... well, disturbingly ironic.  What may be the most expensive movie ever made is an epic tale about how humankind is, more or less, utter bastards, and your only hope of not being an utterly exploitive racist bastard using technology in search of money is to go and abandon everything to become instead a much better, race, insulated from all those petty - wait, no, I don't think that's quite what they were going for there. 

But yes, the planet has something so valuable on it, it's worth being shipped back to Earth at slower-than-light interstellar freight rates (I don't think the movie covers it, but I saw elsewhere Pandora, the forest moon that the planet takes place on, is in orbit around one of the Alpha Centauris).  In a marvelous display of subtlety, it's called Mcguffinite.  Wait, no - sorry, Unobtanium, which could be the clever marketing term, it's not found on Earth.  (It may cause anti-gravity, one piece is floating in the Head Corporate Bastard's office, and there's lots of floating rocks, but none of the local humantech seems to incorporate antigrav technology, instead using bulky thruster jets.  Anyway, it's there and it's worth something, moving on). 

The indigenous, apparently, were approached with education and trade opportunities (medicine and tools are mentioned directly) but despite living in a jungle and everything that would mean in terms of life expectancy on Earth, the Na'vi aren't interested in non-corrodable tools or medication.  Also, as we learn off-handedly in the third act, apparently the school was closed.  Why isn't clear, the Na'vi don't seem QUITE at war with humans yet, so I suppose it's unimportant. The humans know a large concentration is under the local tribes Giant Tree Village (seriously, a really big tree) and would like the Na'vi to move 
(Why the humans, with this stuff worth crating people over five years for and developing hybrid clones that people can upload brains into to try and communicate with the Na'vi in a way that in retrospect sounds really creepy feel the need for a larger chunk, I dunno)  Or why they don't mine the floating bits with the huge concentrations we see later, I dunno (it is their holiest of sites, but I'm not sure the humans know at the start - unimportant, I suppose). 

Our Hero is a non-scientist marine injured in action on Earth who's twin brother was a scientist on the project; since their DNA is the same, he can use the clone, presumably already being grown before his five-year trip starts (how long humans have been their is, again, unimportant, but at least twelve years - so they can grow these relatively quickly). 

He manages to end up sort of by sheer luck being adopted by the tribe after nearly getting maued (and when rescued, slapped for trying to not get mauled) and is ordered by both scientists and the soldiers to observe the culture.  Hopefully getting them to move.  Well, there's fighting in the trailer, so you can guess how well THAT goes.  (I'm tryingto be reasonably nice, but it's very paint by numbers - though there's a few things I expected to happen there were waited on (specifically, the flowers did NOTtry to kill him, after being warned everything was deadly (it'll make sense if you see it) - and an emergency sort of transfusion near the end doesn't work out, and I"d bet money it would have). 

But yeah, decide to turn backs on entire culture and summon entire planet to battle against the Bastards.  There is a bit where the scientists suggest the real treasure is the planet's neural links (and the information) - I think a case could apparently be made based on where the really BIG plants were that they and the network were somehow tied to the Unobtanium (but that probably could've made a peaceful resolution, but it does seem implicit based on the distribution we saw)

Actually, to be fair, it turns out having heavy repeating weaponry, linked integrated communications system, and bloody-mindness isn't bad in battle, the Bastards win the first round pretty handedly, in spite of some sortof Lowered Marine Difficulty going on (despite knowing everything ahead is hosile, they don't open fire; the utterly ruthless (and sorta fun for being Bastardly by Bastard standards) colonel doesn't order the gunships to fire until the smaller, more maneuverable Na'vi fliers (I need to mention, I"m not sure this planet evolved - I think it was some crazy hunter's paradise.  Literally EVERYTHING is plug and play into the Na'vi's brains stem, more or less, everything in this planet can direct neural link with each other, in spite of apparent predator-prey dynamics?  How does that work?  Unimportant, I suppose) are in the middle of them, and canopies that shrugged off arrow hits earlier are now being pierced easily (I dunno, maybe they forgot their Anti-Arrow armor for the big battle?  Unimportant, I suppose)

   But yeah, they win, until, well, classical definition of Deus Ex Machina intervenes.  So, yay - humans are forced off, back to their apparently dying Earth (mentioned at passing at the end, actually, we never see Earth.  Or the lush life of Pandora being mentioned as being heavily different from what the entire cast is used to.  Unimportant, I suppose, in a movie with a heavy Green Aesop), leaving this peaceful planet of warriors who really didn't seem to be interested in any way to interact with humans despite the humans going seriously out of their way to - right, being nice.
It was a pretty film though, I'll give it that.  

Actors - main guy was pretty good, and had good snarky one liners.  Love interest was a love interest, you  could see where it was going (Though some of the Na'vi training and their whole neural link thing... who was the first guy crazy enough to try some of this stuff?)  Crazy Colonel guy was entertainingly badass (at least twice, in his murderous desire to murder, he heads out in the toxic air holding his breath to go shoot something, clearly putting off incidentals like breathing for after he's done killing.  Yeah, it's a little over the top, but you sort of have to admire how straightforward he is about getting his goals - unlike the movie, which is really three hours and takes something like on the order of one and a goddamn half of them showing how awesome and specialthe Na'vi are compared to us bastards rather than even a smidgen of action with all that prettyness - but oh, no, we can't have that, can't we, not even for a - sorry, right, being nice.).  Sigourney Weaver was apparently in this movie to pick up a paycheck.  I'm not sure she yelled despite some situations perhaps calling for it, and she seems awfully listless throughout.   

It was an pretty film, though.  I have to give it that!

But, yeah, anyway, see if you have to, big screen's the way to go, since it's pretty.  Not really big sound.  James Horner does his usual awesome job, but there isn't the sort of 'explosions shattering your eardrums' intensity that usually makes THX a good investment for an action flick . And, if you have glasses, and no matter how pretty it is in 3D?  Do yourself a favor and see it regular.  You won't have my problem of being forced to concentrate on the goddamned dialo-  right, sorry, trying to be nice.