Well, as it was for others, pretty much the same was it for me. Overwhelming. Coming out of the movie theatre, it took quite a while to come in terms with my usual self. Man it was one impact! Let me confess - ‘Avatar’ is the work of God. And James Cameron`s latest epic only proves the statement you just read. If you are an avid moviegoer who has followed his work in the past three decades, you probably already know that.
It is a known fact that for a movie to become a success it has to be unanimously accepted. Filmmakers worldwide proclaim to have cracked the myth of a hit movie that contains all ingredients to become a commercial success. But still they tend to miss the bull’s eye?
Well, let’s forget about what other people are doing, the most important thing here is what James Cameron has created. An avatar. The first time I heard of it, I got an impression of a Hindu mythological story to be retold by a director of international stature. Coming from someone to whose credit is ‘Titanic’ and ‘Terminator’, thought it would be interesting, but as the euphoria around Avatar started building and more and more news about it started coming on the internet, I came to understand that – nah this is not that big!
The plot of the movie is simple. Age old fight between the evil and the good. But the way it has been shown, it’s truly phenomenal. I say that probably because of this habit of going to watch movies with zero expectations. It’s the same old story of super powers trying to colonise places abundant with natural resources, exploiting the natives off their rights. Yes, there are movies made on the same concept before, but this time the ‘corporation’ has exhausted every little resource from Mother Earth, and they now fathom the same for a distant moon in the galaxy called Pandora hoping to strip-mine for ‘unobtanium’ (you see the pun), an alloy with extensive energy and manufacturing potential.
Lead character Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a former marine now wheelchair bound, has been chosen by the consortium to replace his murdered brother who was a member of the scientific team on Pandora. He is to man a genetically manufactured Na`vi-human hybrid, called an Avatar, which is controlled through remote neuro-genetic connections in a lab. The Avatars, which very closely resemble the Na`vi, are used as part of a "win hearts and minds" campaign to assuage the fears of the local populace that they are under occupation. Sound familiar?
However, for me it was a blast, like an explosion of sight and sound. The Real 3D technology, which Cameron has used, looked absolutely wacky and this in a big way kind of lifted the spirit of the movie. As a viewer, I got totally immersed into the interweaving colors as they are splashed onto (and out of the) the screen revealing the rich texture of a world untouched by the machines of the first world. It was as if you were ‘in’ the film. The sounds of the rainforest -- full of sentient life forms – pulled me in, and it was like experiencing the same what characters in there, heard and felt. This would have come much earlier, for Cameron wrote the story in the early 1990s, had initially wanted to start production immediately after "Titanic," but like George Lucas before him felt restrained by an inadequate technology.
But the larger meaning boils down to the fact that “In the Book of Genesis, man sought to glorify his presence on Earth and constructed the Tower of Babel as the crowning gesture that it was he, and not God, who controlled the planet`s destiny. According to the Old Testament, a fierce wind knocked the tower down; in the battle between man and deity (nature itself, perhaps?), the latter won”.
It is not a coincidence that ‘Avatar’, James Cameron`s most perfect masterpiece, was released on the last month of the last year of the first decade of the 21st Century.