1

2

 

2

2

 

0

9

 

 

F

I

L

M

 

 

 

1

2

 

2

2

 

0

9

 

 

F

I

L

M

 

 

1

2

 

2

2

 

0

9

 

 

 

 

 

   


 

       

going native on Pandora

 
 

A V A T AR

   

 

James Cameron’s new sci-fi epic, Avatar, brings back to the cinema a sense of the sublime.  All you have to do is put on those funky 3D glasses, and then you are Alice with all the wonder of a child again.  To immerse oneself in this magic world is to surrender to the power of the movies, to give in to this hallucinatory and ever-so-beautiful dream.  Shot in digital 3D, Avatar is an aesthetic experience light years beyond the old rudimentary technology—here one flies in the glorious light on winged horses that are colored and patterned like the most beautiful butterflies or Issa dresses.  Flight is a metaphor here for movement—for it lets our hero Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a paraplegic war vet, be free to soar, to move as he pleases, to find love.  The word Avatar is literally ‘descent of a deity,’ from the Sanskrit avatarana ‘descent’ (of a deity to the earth in fleshly form), lit. ‘(s/he) crosses over.’  Our modern high-tech computer-speak usage is drawn from this idea—making its first appearance in Snowcrash, the 1992 Neal Stephenson novel.  Avatar has some of the awe-inspiring grandeur of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings—it is bastard child to those remarkable films and to Cameron’s own such as Alien, The Abyss, and The Titanic.

 

The plot itself is simple, delineated in rather broad strokes, and the script (all Cameron) borders on the simplistic—none of the dark poetry of Blade Runner here, all incandescence is saved for the technological creation of this marvelous imaginary world, for the pixels of this visual paradise.  Avatar is actually several stories in one: an environmental fable of sorts, a love story, and an old-fashioned tale of a hero who comes of age and to the rescue on a dashing horse.

 

 

The planet Pandora is a lush Paradise, home to the slender, blue-tinted, delicately-decorated, cat-like Na’vi people who live in harmony with the natural world that surrounds them, but unfortunately, also live directly above mineral deposits that human invaders need in order to save their own dying planet.  It is a meticulously imagined and wondrous world: foliage-covered islands are suspended in the air, huge banyan-like trees with hanging roots and endless branches that are roads in the sky soar up into the mist. 

 

 

It’s a planet just different enough to seem alien, just similar enough to remind one of a giant tripped-out Amazonian jungle—it’s the call of the other with just the right amount of familiarity!  Sully is taught the Na’vi ways, their respect for Nature, even going through the Na’vi ritual of taming his Bucephalus.  This is a story about literally trying on the shoes to see if they fit, and then when they do, and perfectly, taking on the new role.  And here’s another take on another old story—Sully is the alien in a foreign world gone native.  Or just recovering what has been lost to humans: the ancient reverence for Nature.  Avatar also surrenders to the romantic streak in Cameron that he unapologetically confesses to: the love story between Jake and the lovely Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), the daughter of the Na’vi leader, is tender, innocent, all pixelated subtlety of her large feline eyes.

 

Avatar is both about the power of the imagination and the wonder of our own, earthly reality.  Go take that joyride!

 

Explore: Avatar, the website

 

See: Avatar
 

See: Blade Runner

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

In Hinduism, the Buddha is considered the ninth avatar of Vishnu!

Share this article on facebook:   

Share:                    

 

Permalink  

 

 

 

     

Subscribe About Us Editorial Policy Privacy Policy Contact Us Unsubscribe  

Press Archives Search  

 

 

©2009 eCognoscente