Monday, February 22, 2010

AVATAR: a note

I finally saw Avatar, probably the last person on earth to have done so. In response to Goodfella's fine review at Satyamshot:

"Personally, I was as enchanted by the 3-D/IMAX visuals as I expected to be — but did find myself squirming in my seat by film's end. The utter predictability of the plot, the banality of the dialog, did begin to grate after a while. And it isn’t enough to say that isn’t the point of the film; in the very best films, the audience would not, should not, feel any “gap” between visuals and other elements. Here, I did. That being said, it is perhaps no crime to not be among the “very best films”, especially when one is at the forefront of the list of films that have to be seen, and have to be seen on the big screen. That is to say, no other recent film has been so resistant to the DVD/home viewing/computer viewing/youtube culture that we find ourselves increasingly tending toward year after year. To use the cricketing analogy, in a world embracing 20/20s, despite the cutting edge technology, Avatar is a test match. For that alone, I could forgive it much.

Additionally, Cameron deserves especial credit for setting up a new standard of beauty and elegance that isn’t just a rehash of what we are already familiar with. We know the alternative rather well from pop culture: where feminine beauty is concerned, exotic forms of the babedom we already embrace are held up: the blonde bombshell becomes an Asian or a Latina, but the only thing that has changed is/are the facial features and skin tones (sometimes not by much, given the sorts of “others” chosen). In Avatar, by contrast, in the representations of the Navi we have a standard of beauty and elegance that is far less assimilable, and yet no less seductive for all that. When the technology underlying this film becomes outdated or overtaken, this achievement will nevertheless endure."


ms said...

oh no, the last bastion of human intelligence has fallen! you are now 'avatared'! i don't agree with goodfella's view that a new form of beauty has been introduced. the naavi chicks are lissome, pouty lipped, have tresses, lo-o-o-ong legs, and perkily endowed. we get accustomed to the blue flesh, and then the naavi female is an elongated version of the previous hollywood hotties. personally i feel that it is time bollywood came p with our own 'avatar'. padukone only requires blue spray paint, she has the build and the looks.

Sam Juliano said...

Tremendous capsul essay here Qalandar. I don’t know what more I can add as I’ve AVATAR’d myself out over the past month, but suffice to say for me it’s one of the three best films of the year, standing with films by James Cameron and Claire Denis. I have long dismissed the arguments against the film’s dialogue, as such matters to me are insignificant, what with the majestic visual design, but I know I have only scratched the surface here. I’ve seen the film in both 2D and 3D, and in an emotional sense they are comparable.

My own take is here: (no promotion, just some personal perspective aimed to embellish)


Qalandar said...

No question of "promotion" Sam, am thrilled to see the link here!