Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Avatar: My Take on a $200M SFR Epic
Yes, you read that right. Avatar is SFR.
There's been a lot of buzz about the recently released (James Cameron) motion picture that most refer to as a Science Fiction Adventure. While that may be the case, Avatar is also a spectacular Science Fiction Romance, having all the required elements of speculative science, compelling love story and happy ending for the two MCs. Here's a brief review of Avatar from a SFR fanatic.
Science: ***** Five stars for imaginative and visually stunning science, from hypersleep transport to futuristic military logistics to indiginous emersion. Breathtaking imagery.
Fiction: **** Four stars. Set on an alien "planet" (actually a moon orbiting a decidedly Jupiter-like blue gas giant), the inhabitants thrived in an environment that is non-conducive to human life. While the fiction setting was stunning and the cinematography and/or graphics was gorgeous, some of the elements were borrowed or a melting pot of SF ideas.
Romance: **** Four stars. A compelling romance with strong conflict and a hero that overcomes a seemingly impossible situation.
***** Five stars. A living world, Pandora, with its lush green jungle by day and phosphorescent paradise by night, is inhabited by strange beasts, both dangerous and docile, that seem to remind us of creatures in our own experience (horse, panther, rhino)--but not quite. What's not to love?
Plot: *** Three stars. I summed it up on another blog as Dances With Wolves meets Star Wars. The story was a little weak and predictable, but with the sensory stimuli, visual wisardry and moral message bombardment, a complex plot would probably have put me into overload.
**** Four stars. The villain was a bit too cast in the Snidely Whiplash mode, but I did enjoy Trudy Chacon (Michelle Rodriquez) who played a gutsy pilot who respected the environment of Pandora and was ultimately placed in a situation of choosing between duty and personal belief. The early antagonism between Sigourney Weaver's intellectual scientist and wheelchair bound ex-marine Jake Sully was worth more than a few chuckles.
Resolution: *** Three stars. I always enjoy a satisfying ending, but this one left a little to be desired in the wrap-up. The open-ended question? What would eventually become of this world, the MCs and the inhabitants, since the conflict of indiginous culture vs. priceless resource remained for a whole new set of characters to grapple with. Or maybe that was the whole point--a sequel.
Overall rating: **** A MUST SEE solid four stars. As long as you aren't expecting pure perfection, this film will entertain, delight, make you angry and make you cheer. Several members of the audience offered enthusiastic applause after the film ended. I haven't experienced that since long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away when Star Wars VI wrapped the first trilogy.