A review for Avatar written for a website (target audience Christian Uni Students)
Impatience got the better of me. I sighed while waiting for my friends who had decided to buy frozen cokes at the snack bar, despite the fact that we were already running late for the movie. Despite my impatience I couldn’t shake the niggling doubt in my mind that Avatar was going to be a disappointing movie. 161 Minutes later I had reached the conclusion that while Avatar was visually stunning and while I enjoyed the movie and would recommend it, I was left wanting more from the characters, the story and even the message of the film.
If you’ve haven’t seen the trailers, Avatar is about a mining company from earth who are trying to get to a precious resource known as “unobtanium” which is found on a lush alien world. Unfortunately the world’s native inhabitants happen to be living above a massive deposit of unobtanium, making it impossible to get . Enter Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) a former marine who is tasked with gaining the aliens trust and convincing them to move, before the mining company’s military arm get’s its turn to make the natives move by raining destruction on the natives’ home.
Simply put, Avatar’s visuals are stunning and I can not recall when I last had so many ‘wow’ moments while watching a movie. Avatar’s use of 3D alone makes it worth seeing at the cinema in all its visual glory. A huge strength was the lack of visual clichés, no objects flew out of the screen to try and make the unwary cinema goer jump. Instead the 3D added to the feeling of being immersed in the world of ‘Avatar’. Use of colour was also a highlight with beautiful vibrant and earthy colours forming the basis of the alien environment contrasting with the clinical and sterile colours of the human colony.
Avatar is not without its flaws, the predictable storyline and two dimensional characters are just about as generic Hollywood as you can get. Unfortunately the story and the characters provide a lacklustre counterpoint to Avatar’s visual effects. It could be argued that a good story would draw focus away from the impressive visuals which Avatar is showcasing, I say bollocks to that! I want a good story and compelling characters to go with my eye candy.
The take home message of Avatar also felt sadly like it was doing nothing more than appealing to current mainstream sympathies without trying to push your thinking in any new way. The movies message included:
• Destruction of the environment for more money is bad
• Foreign cultures are the way they are for a reason
• Trying to change foreign cultures is bad
• There is more to life than the physical world around us
• All life is connected
While the main ideological conflict is between those who say that the physical world is all that there is (the human military) and those who say that there is a spiritual world (the alien natives). There is also conflict between the natives and the humans who are trying to educate the natives in human affairs in order to make them civilised. This could provide an effective segue into a gospel conversation as you discuss why teaching the gospel to people who are not from Christian backgrounds and educating them is important and is not a bad thing.
I would recommend Avatar, though I would caution anyone who goes to enjoy the visual extravaganza and not walk into the movie expecting to find a deep and enriching storyline. If you are interested in seeing it, I would recommend catching Avatar at the movies as I suspect that the DVD will be far less worth seeing.