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Archive for December 19th, 2009

Dances with Smurfs

It hass been fourteen years since James Cameron’s last film Titanic, his latest film Avatar is the most talked about hyped film for a very long time, possibly since Titanic. I think most people know the plot by now for those who don’t: Jake Sully is a former US Marine, now confined to a wheelchair. When his scientist twin brother is killed Jake is recruited to take his place. As their DNA matches Jake is the only person able to “drive” his brothers Avatar, a twelve foot tall representation of the natives of a moon they are mining for a substance ludicrously named “Unobtainium”, a “McGuffin” whose use is never explained. His mission to befriend the natives and persuade them to move away from the richest mine. Things get complicated as Jake falls in love with a one of the natives and the clock is ticking before the mining company takes the village by force.

I won’t dwell on the themes of the film, they are all pretty overt and well documented. The Pocahontas connection is obvious and I recommend everyone googles “Dances with Smurfs”.

The big question, is it any good? Simply, not bad! The Planet, Pandora looks amazing. The blue, twelve foot tall natives are well thought out and look believable. The final battle scene is nothing short of spectacular. From a negative point of view, the film is far too long, the build up is too long and slow, the plot is predictable and the overall narrative is overly sentimental. I am also not convinced that the film will age well. There will come a time when the effects are no longer state of the art, and all the hype has been forgotten, at this time the film will have to stand up to be counted along with all other films. When this happens the flabby first half and the poor dialogue will stand out. The thing that will save it is that the acting is pretty good and the action is well handled as always with Cameron. As for the acting, Sigourney Weaver is always good, Sam Worthington does a good job, Stephen Lang and Giovanni Ribisi are wonderfully evil. It is also good to see Michelle Rodrieguez get a half decent role, she still hasn’t done anything to live up to her excellent début in Girlfight.

Finally a point on the 3D. It is an utterly pointless gimmick that really doesn’t add anything to the film. This is the film when sceptics like me where supposed to say “now I see the point of it”, I didn’t. 3D only really works as a cheep stunt when things are flying towards the audience, a trick that is actually underused in this film. Having said all that I refer back to my opening statement, the film really isn’t bad, it is also tremendous fun at times. I recommend anyone who is interested go and see it at the cinema, it will lose a lot on a smaller screen, I would also suggest you don’t go out of your way to see it in 3D.

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