the AVATAR experience..

The last movie I watched in the hall was an 18th century Bond flick called 'Quantum of Solace'. At least that is what I felt about the swanky cars and gadgets that Bond uses in it, after seeing 'AVATAR', the latest offering from the Cameron house. I am not sure whether his great grand-parents knew, by divine intervention of course, that one of their clan members would one day stand behind the camera and hence assumed the surname Cameron. Nevertheless Avatar is quite a masterpiece like some of his earlier movies.

A lot of the credit should go to George Lucas as well, because it seems Lucas' Star Wars is what finally prompted Cameron to come out of his lunch delivering business, rent a video camera and start making movies. Imagine him sticking to his previous avatar as a truck driver, and driving around a truck named 'Titanic'! After watching the trailers on YouTube a few weeks back, I was eagerly waiting to watch this movie in 3D. I liked the whole concept of an avatar- a copy of yourself which you are totally in sync with, in terms of your mental capacities and control, but operational in a different plane, in a different planet or even in a different dimension. Who wouldn't want to volunteer for such a program, even if its short-lived. Probably James Cameron crafted Jake Sully to represent what we all are in our real life - challenged or paralyzed about some aspect of life; always living like avatars in our fantasy worlds where there are no shortcomings.

The planet Pandora is a treat to watch, with the huge trees, touch sensitive mushrooms, fluorescent creepers, floating mountains, colorful dragons, weirdly evolved animals and the like. The thing I liked the most were the lizards who fly by spinning a membrane of skin above the head, like the rotating blades of a chopper. Watching in 3D made the experience all the more enjoyable. I am really not sure why the planet was named 'Pandora'. The Na'vi, who inhibit Pandora are shown as a race which is much evolved than us in understanding the life and living things around them. Each plant or tree in Pandora is connected to the other through the roots, making it act like a single living organism. The Na'vi could easily connect to this network and communicate or exchange information. I found the dragons (Banshees and Toruks to be precise) a little too colorful to be real, in their red and blue coats; the only complaint I had after watching the movie.

The story probably is a parody on our own real life - the greed, desire to destroy everything that stands in the way, the insensitivity towards anything and everything around, shameless display of our short sightedness and a final predictable ending which we watch like sitting ducks. Like Jake Sully did in the movie, most of the people in the hall also betrayed their own race and had taken sides with the Na'vi. Every time a chopper came crashing down or a Na'vi arrow landed on a gun carrying, yet helpless marine, the crowd burst into thunderous applause. When the Homeree of the Na'vi was brought down by a barrage of missiles, I could hear their heartbeats also, almost as loud as the applause. I am sure a lot of them would have liked to go out to Pandora in their own avatars, and ride a dragon up Colonel Quaritch's ass!

I just can't wait to watch this movie on the IMAX screen!


The Speaking Wood said...

:) This is like a prelude to me watching the movie tomorrow.

I really like the narrative and the analogy with our lives was a joy to read....thanks!!!

attiDuDe said...

Hope you enjoyed the movie!

Anonymous said...

This was indeed a visual masterpiece. In regards to Sully, I think his character also represented the "Wounded Healer" archetype. Through the suffering brought about by his paralysis he was able to transcend his suffering and gain wisdom and sympathy in the process. Therefore, he was able to identify with the plight of the Na'vi and was ultimately able to save them.

The etymology of the name Pandora means "all-giving". She is akin to Gaia, the great earth goddess, but with the shift from a matriarchal to a patriarchal world view she devolved from life-giving to death-bringing. However, most people will recall Pandora's Box and not the earlier interpretation of the name so I'm not quite sure what Cameron had in mind when choosing that particular name. My guess is Cameron had the pre-patriarchal idea in mind.

By the way, it's wonderful that you commented on the significance of Cameron's name. I never noticed that before!!! One can really have some fun looking at people's names in such a literal sense. Take, for example, Bernard Madoff, he "made off" with billions of dollars through investment fraud.

P.S. Chanda Mama is very uplifting. Thanks for sharing!

attiDuDe said...

Thanks much for all those insights! I didn't know the real story behind Pandora.

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