>Looking at the Big Movie Picture (Avatar)

When a film becomes the highest grossing of all time, one must put aside any notions of cinematic preference and just go see the damn thing! Especially when this thing is view-able on IMAX 3D. So last Saturday night, I found my way to the local multiplex to take in what many Bogans have been calling “the best film eva!”. On examination of my motivations for going against my claim that I wouldn’t view it, I discovered I didn't want to be culturally irrelevant. That is, I wanted to get the avalanche of cultural references that will no doubt flow on from such a successful piece of moving picture. Never again will I be that young schoolboy who never gazed upon the splendor of Kate Winslet’s ample bosom, as was the case when I didn’t go see Titanic...or as my adolescent Winslet obsessed colleagues dubbed it Tit-tanic. Like the boobie boat movie before it, Avatar is the brain baby of James Cameron Writer/Director/Producer and President of the International Brigade of Goatee Owners. Also like Titanic, Avatar has broken all box-office records and gone on to gross over $2bn(US), which is a little less amazing when you consider how little the US dollar is currently worth.

As a whole the story sucks! The performances aren’t much better. In fact the idea that some of the scenes are animated, gives lead Sam Worthington a break from having to actually do actoring. In other scenes he is mostly in a futuristic solarium bed. I particularly enjoyed counting the amount of times he slipped between American and Australian accents, whilst distracting myself from the lack of plot. The script really wasn’t where the supposed $300m budget was spent. Cameron himself is credited as a writer. I’m guessing he wrote this story on the back of a fuel receipt from his gold plated jet, pulled a few lines from various 1980’s straight-to-VHS movies and then gave it to a duck to edit. But if that’s the secret to multi-billion dollar screen plays Sir; then take my duck and copy of RAD and point me in the direction of the aerodrome fuel depot!

The film is set in the year 2154 ( apparently in 140 years we’ll still use pillows, wear t-shirts and sports bras) on a planet called Pandora that is treated by human’s like some sort of futuristic ‘Nam. They are there to mine a substance called ‘Unobtainium’( a movie can’t attract enough people to make billions with such indulgences as creative plot points!). The humans basically rape the natural resource and mistreat the natives to the point of an uprising. Sam Worthington is a human who is used in an experiment...to become an Avatar. What is that exactly? Well, I’m still not sure but the point of this movie isn’t its script.

For me , Avatar worked purely on a visual level. Absorbed via the discomfort of one-size fits all 3D glasses that make you look like you’re Buddy Holly in “Back to The Future IIII”, this film really clicks. The scenery is distracting and intricate and at times looks amazing. The world Cameron creates, whilst interesting, is again a bit generic. The natives are all Humanesque, except with 4 fingers, blue and taller. They are also slightly racist mega mix of African-Latino-American Indians caricatures. The animals all look like animals we have on Earth, except not. So the horse looks like an Elephant mated with a Dolphin etc.

Although the story was so bad that it’s the only film ever made that could be bettered with a song by Celine Dion, It was worth the admission price just for the 3D.