Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Queer New York Review: Avatar

By Father Tony

I have been cinematically dazzled by the likes of The Wizard of Oz, King Kong, 2001 A Space Odyssey, Star Wars, ET, Titanic, and Jurassic Park. Yesterday, I saw Avatar in 3-D and I am afraid that I may never again be thrilled by special effects that will surely limp compared to what has been delivered in Avatar. I highly recommend seeing this in 3D.

I loathe and avoid reading reviews that explain a movie and being subjected to trailers and stills that skim the best moments and use them to tease you into the theater. All I knew about Avatar was that it is supposedly visually fantastic. I was skeptical. Would I feel anything for animated blue aliens and more rampaging dino-beasts?  Surely, I'm not the most jaded of movie-goers, but I am not easily pleased as an audience member.

First of all, Sam Worthington, who plays Jake Sully, is, in or out of his wheelchair and in or out of his blue skin, HOT.

I am also very pleased to report that Avatar is not a slavish borrower of venerable sci-fi lore and gimmicks. There are very few referential moments. The giant flexible robotic body armor suit is the one big exception. Lifted from Aliens, I kept wanting to shout out to the screen "Let Sigourney Weaver (who plays a scientist in Avatar) get into it! She knows how to work it!".

After five minutes in the forests of Pandora I wanted to live there forever.

Some people may find the story line tiresome. Indigenous folks being threatened. An evil military team. A seemingly doomed romance. I had no problem with any of this. It was all just an adequate substrate for the real business of the film: the spiritual communion shared by all living things. I was especially intrigued by the spiritual matriarchy of the blue people.

My ordinary concerns about good writing and acceptable plot became inconsequential as I surrendered to the visual beauty of Avatar. Again, see this in 3D.


  1. I felt the same way about this movie and agree with you point by point. I went in VERY skeptical about the CGI advances that were claimed for this movie but was blown away and can see this as the next stepping stone for the technology.

    I've heard a lot of moaning about the predictability of the story line but honestly, when did predictability become a negative? I think if this movie had been done without Cammeron's use of the suped-up technology, it might have fallen a bit flat and preachy but the way he rendered Pandora and the Na'vi in such a life-like way pushed the story into an area for me that compensated for its predictability

    I also really, REALLY liked the spiritual interconnectivity in the story. It seemed like a great fairy-tale for our age. I think we're all running around talking about being connected to everyone and everything else but without the physical illustration, it is all nothing but faith and that is easily trundled on a bad day.

    I'd second your recommendation to see this film in 3D. I'm hoping to get a second viewing on the IMAX 3D when it becomes a little less crowded. The 3D version really is spectacular.

    My partner's only criticism was the movie seemed long to him and could have cut out some of the filler. For me, part of that filler was just getting to swoop and run through the beauty of Pandora which was mesmerizing in all it's illuminated and fluorescent glory.

  2. Avatar was an escape to a land of fantasy...I thought it was teriffic with a quality unmatched as yet.. The story was charming and beautiful with the passion that a person admires... Bravo for the actors and I hope an Avatar 2 is coming..We have had too many 2s which ended up in the worthless field,but Avatar will not...It will endure to the an never ending advemture......Nunzio NYC