I just watched Avatar with my sis’s family tonite. It frakkin’ blew my mind! Friends of mine know that I usually spend half my time dissecting a movie into its component parts to see how it was made and also to catch flaws in either the story-line or the acting. However, I spent most of Avatar just gawking at the visual effects and the rich world that is Pandora. By the end of the film, even I have fallen in love with the place and would gladly go native too.
Honestly, I have never seen visual effects that are this spectacular. You know what they say about CGI – it can mimic pretty much everything except human expression. Well, while they got away with a lot of things by making use of an alien race, the facial emotions and expressions were very human. And the sheer variety! Practically every Na’vi had its own characteristics and features – the avatars were even made to look like their human counterparts. It was odd seeing my favourite Alien lady in blue spotted skin but it was cool – makes me want to watch all the Alien films again.
Aside from the CGI, the world itself is pretty amazing. A lot of detail and attention had been put into the creation of the world. While it shamelessly borrows a lot of elements from Native American culture it is still unique in itself. I particularly liked the idea of a care-taker species who were conveniently born with organs that allow them to jack directly into nature. They can communicate with animals and plants by simply jacking in directly. Every living creature on the planet seemed to have a compatible organ for jacking into. As the Alien lady put it – the entire ecosystem of the planet is like a massive network and the Na’vi are capable of directly uploading and downloading information from it. Wonderful!
The film’s many messages were also clear. Any idiot can spot the obviously environmental messages being put across – about how important it is to find balance with the world. There is also a more subtle message about how we humans are a colonising force and tend to just take whatever we want as long as we can bully the natives and get away with it. Then, there is the one-line reference to fighting terrorism with more terrorism – that piece of dialogue was obviously forced into the film just for that one purpose.
I loved the film and will definitely get it on bluray when it comes out next year.
PS: I also liked the fact that the Na’vi language was subtitled in Malay with an alien script to boot. Shows attention to detail.