Let’s forget the 3D, let’s forget all the CGI and the special effects. Let’s forget, Please, let’s forget Leona Lewis singing over the credits. Let’s pretend that what we’re seeing up there on the screen is real.
Avatar is an ill-fated love story set during an imperialistic war.
On the planet Pandora a multinational corporation from Earth has established a military run mining colony which at the start of the film has been operating for 30 years. Pandora’s environment is toxic to the human miners who have to live in Oxygen filled cocoons and work from their self imposed fortresses by means of an avatar, a kind of hybrid being created using human DNA mixed with that of the hostile local inhabitants – the Na’vi. – and controlled by the minds of their human operators.
It’s a big plus for disabled Jake Sully, an ex-marine, when he takes over his brother’s job controlling an avatar miner as he’s able to walk and run again whilst he’s the avatar. Trouble is, he’s had no training and his impetuousness and curiosity throws him into contact and ultimately a relationship with a Na’vi woman who teaches him many things about his new world. He finds that the mining area is a holy place for the tribe filled with irreplaceable important relics. Neytiri, the native woman he falls for teaches him their language and how to survive on their planet and live in harmony with nature. Neytiri knows Jake is an avatar but she sees his heart which according to her culture is his true self. Jake shares some of the intelligence he has learned with his human commander, Col. Miles Quaritch in order to earn himself the operation that will restore his ability to walk which the Colonel has promised him in return for information and also hopefully to cement relations between the two sides but the Colonel see no purpose in this as the raw materials on the Na’vi’s land are far too valuable. War is inevitable.
Avatar has been compared with a variety of other films, mainly revisionist Western, Dances with Wolves – it’s not that. Disney’s Pocahontas – it’s not that either. Green Mansions? – it isn’t that. Films about Vietnam or Iraq where there’s a love interest between one of our soldiers and a woman on the other side. The soldier inevitably learns something important about his enemy’s culture, learns to love him and becomes a better person. Well, we’re getting closer. I seem to remember a star-crossed love story at the heart of Cameron’s Titanic, and when you strip away the action wasn’t his True Lies about a couple where the husband is a spy and his relationship with his wife is just a façade, like an avatar? Avatar also shares several parallels with The Abyss. Is it true that all great directors have but one story to tell? Well. if we leave Terminator out of the equation, then perhaps that’s it. Now, add on the spectacular technology and you’re left with the most ambitious, possibly most successful and if you’re a fan of Cameron, wonderfully satisfying and arguably the best version of his story that he’s filmed so far. In short, it’s a must see film you’ve seen before but you really must see.