You look like one of them, but talk like one of us


After wanting to see it for a while, I finally went to see “Avatar” last night. I even managed to get to see the 3D version, which made it the first “Real3D” film I’ve seen.

In all honesty, I wasn’t expecting much from the film – most of the reviews I’d seen made far more of the technology and so on in the film than of the film itself – but I was pleasantly surprised.  Sure, it’s a bit too long, could do with losing about 20 minutes of trite shite, and has some deeply vile sickly-sweet bits for American audiences, but overall it’s pretty damn good.

In fact probably my biggest bugbear with it was the name of the wondrous material that was being mined on Pandora – “Unobtainium”. I mean, please. It’s not unobtainable – it’s fucking difficult to get, fine. Call it “fuckingdifficultium” or something. But “Unobtanium”? Sheesh – just make up something new, don’t try for sounding cool – and miss it by a mile. I do realise there’s a cultural history for calling things Unobtainium – but for a film that’s trying to be fresh and new, it just seems to be something that harks back to the 50s/60s, an in-joke that’s just not very funny.

So yes, there’s little bits that irritate – and the occasional bit of “Look! It’s 3D!” that grates – but in general it’s actually a pretty good film.

The director, James Cameron, has brought in a number of his standard themes – particularly Evil Big Company going ahead with plans at the expense of other less capitalistic influences (survival, global dynamics etc. etc.) – which makes it quite interesting in the current situation with global warming etc., and the awareness of “Going Green”, which is itself quite a major theme of the film.

As for the effects, and the way it’s filmed, I think it probably is one of the more radical developments in film/cinema history – I found myself thinking back to it, wondering how some of the stuff was done at all. In that context, it’s remarkable – in a similar way to when “The Matrix” came out, with effects no-one had really seen before. Avatar’s the same – it’s not quite “the next thing from colour”, but it’s pretty remarkable all the same.

All told, it’s a good film. Not a great one- although that’s really what it aspires to be – but pretty good all the same.

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