Saturday, December 19, 2009

Avatar - We are across the uncanny valey

I just got back from seeing Avatar, and wow... just wow. If you have been living under a rock, Avatar is a 15-year-in-the-making epic directed by the apparently mad James Cameron (of Titanic fame, no other). It is amazing.

Sure, the story is fairly standard, the character development is predictable and some of the dialogue is weak. However, that somewhat fades in to insignificance in the beautiful backdrop that is Pandora.

Cameron gets what makes a good film, it is more than just a good plot- that's a play. It is more than interesting characters, that's a book, it is about the imagery. It's about affecting the viewer through the visual elements. I could explain to you just how AMAZING this film looks, because it is breathtaking, but it is the way that Cameron uses the stunning technology that makes this film what it is; what separates it from the equally technically impressive Transformers 2.

The world that is created in this film is so believable that when you see a strange creature, your initial reaction is "that cannot be real", like when you watch BBC documentaries of wonderful creatures, instead of accepting it as blatant CGI. The world that Cameron has so masterfully created is both bizarre and believable; technology and imagination working in tandem.

Through this world Cameron is able to hang a basically average story and make you care. You find yourself hating the humans attacking this world where there is still so much to find out. It makes you sympathise with the indigenous people, juxtaposing the cold, technology dependant environment of the humans with the self sufficient, natural world of the Navi.

The story is so completely inseparable from the presentation that, while I can say if you wrote a book with the same plot it would fail, I think to say that the film fails because of the story and hence the film is merely a technology demo is to miss what a film is - the combination of story and camera shots. Avatar is something that you have to experience on the big screen, loud and in 3D. It is the first time in a long time where I have walked away from the cinema feeling that the £10 price was justified. A must see for all.

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