We saw Avatar tonight because NPR said it's a cultural event that people will look back on in the development of film.
Yes, a thought-provoking experience.
It was as if one introduced Fantasia, Alice in Wonderland, Thumbelina, Pocahontas, and Little Mermaid to transformer toys, 2001, Dances With Wolves, Beowulf and the Iraq war.
Or perhaps put them all in a test tube and shook.
I liked the "Great Mother" spirituality. Her name was EHWA, which is like Yahweh. Also cool is that the name was just four letters, like YHWH.
The decision on whether to return to human life was interesting, like the Little Mermaid wanting to join the human race. Of course, one wanted Jake Sully to go native, but the reality of Pocahontas and Dances With Wolves was more likely.
I was challenged because I see few science fiction films and few war films. As I watched, I didn't know what genre this film would turn out to be: fantasy or grim reality? Happy ending or cynicism?
The views of moons circling a large planet like Jupiter gave me the pleasure of suspending disbelief and imagining life elsewhere. But each form of life was patterned on something on earth: horses, dogs, humans, pterodactyls, etc.--that was a bit tiresome. The flying dragons were great.
One sad reference to earth: "There's no green on their planet. They killed it."
All in all, yes, probably something to watch, despite the cliches. For example, how could the script writers allow the phrase "shock and awe"?
Because of its clear references to the war in Iraq and to Wall Street investors as the ones who call for exploitation of the environment and native peoples, it's a film that screams, "Made in 2009."