Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Film Review: Avatar

The seventh and final film from the ‘Worlds Apart’ film programme was Avatar, which was directed by James Cameron and was released in 2009.

Through Avatar's absolutely stunning visual affects, one cannot help but notice there are messages trying to get the audiences attention and although subtle, they make a strong point about environmental issues that the world faces not only for the now but also giving a somewhat grim outlook at a very unnatural, clinical and industrialised future. Roger Ebert writes for the Chicago Sun-Times; 

"It has a flat-out Green and anti-war message."

True. As mentioned before, this film provides a grim outlook towards a future that is most likely inevitable at the rate humanity is expanding in the modern day. And on top of that, if Cameron's ideas become an actual reality then Earth would indeed be just the beginning to industrial conquest. This film is meant to create a sympathy towards the environment and nature which if it has any influence would bring about a means to want to prevents rapid growth.

In terms of anti-war messages, they are there and brought up on many occasions. But if you were to look at what the driving influences are, you'll see that this film, at its heart, is driven by love and greed. It is love that compels a man to betray his own race, love that compels an alien tribe to defend themselves from an extraterrestrial threat and a mix love and greed that sparks a war between both factions. In affect what Cameron has made is a film with a mash up of different genres, a sci-fi-romance-adventure if you will.

As stunning as the visual affects go, it can't help but be felt that the films plot was a little lacking. Kevin Maher in his review for The Times said;

"Avatar, essentially, is a film we’ve seen before, boldly made to look like nothing we’ve seen before. It is truly the Star Wars of our age."

True Mr. Maher; one man with the help of a rag tag army taking on a superior armed force for freedom. When you put the plot like that it is very reminiscent of Star Wars but with its new licking of paint the plot appears at first glance new and exciting; and attention grabber. Avatar takes a classic plot, mixes it with high budgeted CG and animation and leaves it in a production room where it slowly becomes something entirely of its own, yes it has noticeable connections to other films but in all honesty doesn't every film we watch have the same?

And then there are the visual effects: quite literally out of this world. With a production time of 14 years and budget of $300 million its likely that Avatar has broken a few records here. Courtesy of Film4's review;

"Anybody interested in cutting edge cinema should see Avatar, and they should do so on a 3D screen. The groundbreaking FX work is worth the price of admission alone,"

Avatar's CG is indeed groundbreaking. This film takes animation and special FX to a whole new level with the only draw back being the time it took to produce. If a sequel is to appear it likely won't be for some time which means by the time it does arrive this film will be less remembered (like that's even possible). For someone watching the film for the first time the mind will almost explode trying to take in everything, from the story to the world of Pandora but Avatar makes the slight brain damage well worth.

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