Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Avatar (Day 1)


Well, I'll say this: James Cameron did it. He's now the only filmmaker to make two movies that have grossed over a billion dollars and there's a very real chance that Avatar could take home the Oscar for Best Picture.

What makes this particularly amazing is that Cameron is a man with such a stubborn, singular vision -- and, in the case of Avatar, one that goes well against the current grain of Americana. The film has become a huge source of debate and controversy -- over its quality, its artistic merit, and its obvious political stance. (Cameron's politics are all over the map -- but as he's proved again and again, a fan of big business he ain't).

I have very little interest in discussing the politics of Avatar. While I may share some of Cameron's beliefs and sympathies, Avatar's antagonists -- especially Colonel Quaritch, who is given truly unparalleled levels of badassery thanks to Stephen Lang -- are so ridiculously cartoonish that I couldn't take the film seriously. And for a film that so boldly holds the eight years of Bush doctrine in contempt, it's a bit hypercritical that Cameron created a scenario where one side is completely in the right, the other completely in the wrong (the private military in Avatar are the very definition of "evildoers"). The only good humans in this story or those who fully support the Na'vi. In short, the characters are either with the Na'vi, or they're against them.

(Continued tomorrow -- where I'll go into the nuts and bolts of the story.)

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