Sunday, December 20, 2009

Avatar - A dazzling spectacular treat

What is it?

‘Avatar’, Oscar winner James Cameron’s next feature after ‘Titanic’ is a dazzling spectacular treat in technical terms but on content wise it’s another smartly woven Bollywoodish romantic heart beat.

Its no surprise by now that the English adapt the soap-opearish known and accepted Bollywood (or rather say human emotions) and come out dazzling as winners, the reason they do it with technical finesse and don’t go overboard like many of film makers or call it film fakers do.

If ‘Titanic’ was a western pyjama worn over Bollywood ‘rich gal, poor guy’ love t-shirt with a calamity thrown in to bring an uplifting desired effect. Then ‘Avatar’ is spectacularly symbolic, captivating and immense film themed on a very Indian belief known as re-birth or re-incarnation.

Even the last year academy sweeper and the sensation at major international awards ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ was a smartly restructured Manmohan Desai’s ‘Bhai Bhai’ thingie with an element of destiny thrown in.

Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ comes in large scale, this contemporary action adventure mingled with sci fi genes and spiritual and ecological themes is more mighty and bigger as a visual epic then his previous ‘Titanic’.

On the drama and emotional front however its fails to match the ‘Titanic’ scales and this may be the reason why its tries to sway you by its visual delights by offering it in 2D or 3D. Cameron holds the vision together creating a spectacular world filled with both the familiar floras and fountains (amazingly striking) and the exotic species in this anything is possible digital world.

Cameron marshals his forces well making it dazzlingly spectacular enough for us to sit through over two and a half hours and feel satisfied.

The Story Paraplegic war veteran Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), is sent to the exotic planet Pandora, replacing his brother, who was killed. Although he's part of the military under the command of Col. Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang), the human presence is driven by a corporation mining a unique mineral alongside a scientific probe directed by Dr Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver).

Humans cannot breathe Pandoran air, so they genetically engineer human/Na'vi hybrids known as Avatars. The indigenous Na'vi are resentful - but Princess Neytiri (Zoë Saldana) befriends him and becomes his guide and protector on the strange planet. Jake is soon caught in the middle of the conflict between the Na'vi and the human military machine raping their world.

The Highs: The action sequences are superbly created by a digital army of compositors and FX engineers - including a brigade of motion capture specialists - and the seamless visual effects render the tall, blue Na'vi entirely credible. Some of the natural wonders are blended with imaginary beauty in Pandora's astonishing forests, floating mountains, spectacular plants and tremendous trees - the latter playing a key role as spiritual guardians.

Sam Worthington is perfect for the character, Jake. Stephen Lang as the military brute offers valuable support. Sigourney Weaver is terrific as the frustrated scientist. Zoë Saldana is fascinating as the princess of the Na'vis (who all seem to have recognizably human traits and personas. They hunt with bows and arrows, and speak a fantasy language).

The scale is extraordinary as is the bewitching world of ‘Avatar’ that James Cameron has created with jaw- dropping technology, stunning production design and exotic golden eyed, blue-skinned aliens whose passions are as tangible as the giant flying dragons on which they fly. This huge ambitious project which took many years in the planning earns ‘Avatar’ 4 out of five for the above mentioned reasons.

The Lows: While visually fantastic, however emotionally it struggles to be at par and the length 2hrs 43 minutes makes the spectacular delight a bit monotonous.

Verdict: You can’t afford to miss it.

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