Saturday, January 2, 2010

How to enjoy *Avatar*...

I haven't seen Avatar yet. But what I have seen thus far is a flurry of great amateur reviews about it, mostly on my Facebook newsfeed, some on the odd blog or two, the rest on various channels of the hype machinery of Big Media.

Then I read Miranda Devine's review on the Herald...

About the time the baddest bad guy - a US marine, of course - launches an unconscionable attack on the Na'vi with the words "Shock and awe", "pre-emptive war" and "fighting terror with terror", you realise you've been had. The snarling vipers of left-wing Hollywood have been let off the leash in a way previously unmatched in a high-priced blockbuster. In fact Avatar is reputed to be the most expensive movie ever made, with a budget of $US500 million.

I'm kinda reminded of how George Lucas let lose his politics on his Star Wars prequels. Episodes 1 was simply corny, and unless you took a conscious effort to focus on the StarWars-ness of Episodes 2 and 3, your eyes will keep rolling at every political angle highlighted in the latter two.

Considering that Avatar is not quite a sequel yet, Devine's review does nothing for my cynicism for half-billion-dollar blockbusters made by Establishment directors like James Cameron. Remember Godzilla? Lucas, in contrast, was fulfilling a personal vision at great personal risk when he made Star Wars (now prefixed by "Episode 4"), and lacked the sort of technology that tends to get in the way of good story telling.

If I had already watched it, I'd feel terrible that someone would beat me to highlighting the irony ...

[...] that Cameron has used the most advanced technology known to man to create an anti-technology movie about how much better are the ways of the noble savage.

Of course I'm going to watch Avatar, and I will probably enjoy it -- specially now that i know the aspects of it I will focus on enjoying.


  1. Everything Devine said is true (I can't believe I just said that), but you need to suspend everything when you go in, otherwise you simply won't enjoy it as much.

    It was just a really fun flick.

  2. Indeed. Reading movie reviews fire up one part of the brain and enjoying a movie fires up another part.