Thursday, August 23, 2012
Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana
Length: 162 min.
IMDB Summary: A paraplegic Marine dispatched to the moon Pandora on a unique mission becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the world he feels is his home.
Outsider feels disconnected from self. He proceeds to visit a village of native peoples. He experiences self-awakening and then helps the natives defend against his former allies. Sound familiar? Of course, I'm not talking about Pocahontas or Dances with Wolves--this hackneyed, worked-to-death plot has now been transplanted to a sci-fi world, in which a Marine experiences this inner awakening as he assimilates into a culture of blue, tailed, Gumby-esque creatures. Combine that plot with weak acting and Marines portrayed as black-hearted killing robots, and your doom is sealed. Not only does Avatar thrive off the idea that a virtual reality is preferable to the real world--it also makes the Marines appear war-mongering fools. Despite regrettable incidents of unprovoked violence against native peoples, the U.S. military is portrayed in Avatar as sadistic, eager to kill and maim for pleasure. Also, the native creatures are portrayed as innocent and wholly good, adding to the superficiality of the film. A simplistic (and rather ethnocentric) view is taken of pantheism. To add insult to injury, the white guy--the outsider to their culture--becomes the hero, saving the natives who cannot save themselves. There are some exciting action sequences, giving this movie a definite edge in the market. But--with a cliche plot, weak acting and dubious characterization--Avatar fails in epic proportions to tell a story worth repeating.
Image from imdb.com