Thursday, 14 January 2010


I think I understand what 'cabin fever' means. I've been holed up at home all year so far, kept indoors following my operation on 30 December and the snow and ice we've had for the last week or two - I've rarely ventured outside due to the fear that I might slip and undo my stitches, sad but true. I can count the number of times I've been outside my front door on the fingers of one hand and all but one of those adventures comprised a slow and very careful walk up the road to the High Road to Sainsbury's. Following the rain this morning, most (but not all) of the snow and ice has vanished and if you can understand my physical joy in being able to stride out while walking at last, then you've probably been in a similar situation at some time. It felt *so* good.

So, to celebrate being able to go outside without the fear of slipping I took myself up to my local moving picture emporium (opposite Sainsbury's, so not that adventurous) to see 'Avatar' in 3D. The last thing I saw in 3D - and, I think, the only thing I've ever seen in 3D - was Santa Claus throwing presents right, left and centre while flying in his sled down Fifth Avenue. And yes, I did raise my hands to catch a non-existent present. That was one of the opening sequences to the Christmas spectacular at Radio City Music Hall in New York a few years ago.

The trailers for the film seemed to all be for 3D films so we're going to be inundated this year with special glasses every time you go to the picture house. Doubt I'll see many of them but one of the trailers was for a new 'Shrek' so I hope to see that one.

Anyway, 'Avatar'. At some unspecified future time we discover a planet with incredible mineral wealth that is only spoiled by having indigenous humanoid life-forms. Isn't it annoying when that happens? So the very clever scientists grow false indigenous bodies and (somehow) transfer the mind of humans into the bodies to animate them so we can learn about the world and its peoples while we start mining operations. Naturally there's the scientific community, the business corporation and the military contingent.

Then along comes our hero, a young man in a wheelchair replacing his brother who has inconveniently died after his indigenous body has been grown and agrees to take his brother's place since they share the same DNA. The young man gets separated from the scientists on his first venture out into the forests of the planet, gets attacked and saved by a native, and eventually becomes part of the local community (that lives in a hooooj tree). Then the humans decide to blow up the tree since it sits on the biggest mineral deposit and it's total war.

It's a little far fetched and full of hokum but is, nonetheless, totally fab at the same time and, for a very long film, the pace of the movie kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what could possibly happen next. And the 3D and special effects were amazing. This is state of the art film technology folks, so who knows what we might be seeing in a year or two's time based on this. It is visually stunning and the 3D made me move a few times to avoid things flying out of the screen.

It was a typical 'noble savage' mixed with Gaia kind of storyline, with our hero going native when he understands that all the world is one and all things are linked. This is graphically demonstrated during the war at the end when the world turns all its creatures against the invading humans. It worked for me.

I'm quite envious of the creature-makers - they must've had the best time imagining outlandish creatures and then giving life to them. Loads of them had four front legs and two back legs, dragon/pterodactyl-derivatives, mega-rat-things and all sorts of creatures. I *want* to be a creature-maker. Imagine the power of dreaming up some weird creature and giving life to it the next day? I'm sure it took longer than that but it's a nice dream.

There were only three things that slightly spoiled it for me, in total taking, maybe, 30 seconds of the film, so totally insignificant but they stick in the mind. One was our hero in his indigenous body shagging his indigenous girlfriend - c'mon people, this was the cartoon bit, do they really need to have sex rather than simply joining their hair filaments or something (you'll understand the hair filaments if you've seen the film). The second was seeing Sigourney Weaver run like a middle aged woman. That is just plain wrong - Sigourney *does not* run like that and I fully blame the director. There was a nice nod to Sigourney's (and Cameron's) past glories by using the mechanised body skeletons (the 'Get away from her, you bitch!' scene from 'Aliens') as part of the invasion. But I repeat, that's *not* how Sigourney runs. The third was letting the heroic, plucky and spunky woman pilot (whose name I can't even remember) just get blown up without her moment of glory (she's obviously this film's Vasquez).

I'll happily give it five stars. I wonder if it looks very different in 2D? I might have to go back to see it again to check it out...

1 comment:

chrisv said...

It sounds very woolly liberal if u ask me!