Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Pandora-monium


Being a geeky kinda guy means I get excited at the mere mention of a new James Cameron movie. Ever since I first laid eyes on the immensity of Aliens back in '86/87, I've been a massive fan of his movies. Great spectacle with great storylines each time (forgiving Piranha II: Flying Killers in a moment of grace, of course...). Terminators 1 & 2? Brilliant. The Abyss? Far, far better than its critics will have you believe (watch the special edition and allow for the E.T. marshmallow coda). So when I heard that Jim was getting back behind the camera after a decade-long hiatus I was over the moon(*)...

Having had a little chat via Facebook with a bud of mine last night about it, I figured I'd add to the debate with an expanded cut and paste of my musings. There's been a big internet ding-dong regarding the lack of depth in Avatar's story, and the overbearing political allegory and saccharine coating layered across it. Not to mention the "Pocahontas-in-space/Dances-with-Thanators" swipes. But to be honest, I can see exactly what Cameron's been up to.

We must remember that while much as the likes of myself would LOVE Cameron to take risks with a script such as this, his unwavering vision right now is the future of cinema, not "art". Yes, there's more allegory than a Thanator can shake a claw at, and the Smurf-dom/Pocahontas shmaltz is pretty thick treacle, but he HAD to ensure nothing would prevent this from being the success it needed to be - for the sake of 3D and photorealism really winning the hearts of the punters. Financial independence aside, he still makes blockbusters (and still loves the process of such, not of small indie dramas!), and still has to work within the constraints of an INDUSTRY, which is all about the big $. I say enjoy this near-3 hours of escapism (plus another 30 mins in the upcoming special edition BD...) for what it is, and wait with bated breath to see what he does with Battle Angel Alita (or a possible Fantastic Voyage remake) in the next couple of years...

Because you see, there's something many others seem to be missing: the biggest star of the show didn't get any billing at all - the moon Pandora itself. THAT'S the point of the whole movie really: Cameron showing/convincing us what can be done for future reference... And what a thrill-ride it was.

On an alternative note, regarding the spiritual theme, I am a Christian who gets concerned when alternatives to my faith become "acceptable" simply because they're launched at us through the global media, and Avatar is utter pantheism in a pretty day-glo box. But that doesn't mean I should ignore the film, either. I say accept the film's message for what it is - and then make your own mind up, don't just accept it simply because it feeds into appealing/romantic Native American or Gaia theologies - and enjoy the movie for what it is. It's a thrilling ride to a moon/planet we could never have visited before, without the wonderful imaginations of men like James Cameron. Now watch this space and see what he does next...

(*sorry, Pandora-related joke. Couldn't resist)

2 comments:

said...

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新衣 said...

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