It’s seems like enough time has passed to safely talk about Avatar without people going nuts about it one way or the other. As a large segment of the population who has already seen it knows, it was a pretty good movie. It kept up a good pace throughout and it almost always had something worth while enough going on to hold your interest.
Now, as many others have taken the joy of shouting from their blogs and etc. despite claims made by some in a few of the dozens of behind the scenes specials that were floating around TV and the internet before its release talking about what an original story it was, it has been done before. Anyone who has already read a vicious review of the movie knows that it pretty much follows the same storyline of movies like The Last Samurai and Dances with Wolves though a few of those reviews left out Ferngully which in some respects comes even closer to the spirit of Avatar.
That by itself, however, isn’t so bad. Most movies that have come out in the last decade can be likened to something that came before, or they are just blatant remakes or, in the case of many recent box office smashes, they are just comic book movies. No, the truly disappointing thing about Avatar, other than the Na’vi being blue Indians with cat faces (though that was a little irritating a few traits could be over looked but it wasn’t just the bows, horses and war paint, but they even did the classic Indian war cry that is straight out of movies like The Last of the Mohicans; honestly it’s surprising they weren’t just called the Na’vijo, but that’s drifting a bit off topic), is that it so easily could have shocked the audience if the writers had wanted it to.
From the moment Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) comes in contact with the simple nature loving aliens the path of the movie becomes rather obvious. Of course Jake is going to be seduced by their way of life, who could turn down dragon riding, floating mountains and a jungle that looks like it’s tripping on acid every night, when going back to their real life means being an ex-marine in a wheel chair. This is why people like Tom Cruise, Kevin Costner and the guy who did the lead voice acting in Ferngully will always abandon their own culture. They came from lonely lives dealing with severe alcoholism, dead end jobs, and almost getting their foot amputated, to being the toast of happy native village town.
None of this makes the movie inherently bad (they were all entertaining movies) they are just predictable. It would be nice if just once a character was thrust into a culture that was horrifying. Not just everyday scary forest from The Wizard of Oz horrifying, but truly frightening. A place that would be like tossing Hotel Rwanda, Dante’s Inferno, and the hell dimension of Event Horizon (that was actually evil enough to turn a normal spaceship into a bloodthirsty entity) into a blender powered by Emperor Palpatine’s lightning. They would still have their own unique culture and just as much right to live as any friendly people, but it’s doubtful anyone in the audience would care when the hero decided he just didn’t care if their civilization was wiped out so the people of earth could have longer battery life in their I-pods, or whatever it is unobtainium does. It might not win as many awards, but it would be funny to throw an audience a curveball every now and again.
Just as an after thought, does anyone find it hilarious that there are support groups for people who can’t deal with the fact that the planet from Avatar is not a real place they can go to?