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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Avatar

There have been movies which have been controversial upon their release. The Catholic church practically waged war on "The DaVinci Code", and the conservatives labeled Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" a bleeding-heart liberal doctrine. Other flicks are almost pure hype, and then when you see them, the whole experience fizzles out leaving you unsatisfied and disappointed, sometimes even angry.

I try to pay attention to the news, and it's hard to do that and not see the hype for "Avatar". I have to admit that this made me hesitate to see it. Firstly, I'm not impressed by movies that make a ton of money right away. People are easy to con. Secondly, James Cameron's last great outing was "Titanic", which, all cool effects of the ship itself aside, was kind of a weak love story with the beautiful ginger Kate Winslet and short guy Leonardo DiCaprio (umm... not really). Needless to say, with "Avatar" I was skeptical, almost to the point of writing it off in my head, when a co-worker invited me to go with them to see it.... at the IMAX.... in 3D. (I'd never seen a 3D movie before...)

So I went. Oh, boy did I go. I stood in line for 45 minutes at the Colorado Center's IMAX theater, the same place I took my brother and parents to see "Star Trek" over mother's day. The people were enthusiastic, all wearing their yellow 3D glasses with pride. And when the movie started rolling... phew... to quote Samuel L. Jackson's character in "Jurassic Park", "hold on to your butts." James Cameron came out swinging.

The whole movie takes place on this alien moon called Pandora, where a race of natives, I'm guessing to be around 10 or 11 feet tall, live there in peace and harmony with nature. They're so in tune to the world around them, that they have these biological USB-ports on their pony tails that they can use to plug in to plans and animals. That sense of harmony and respect for nature was something that I really identified with, something that was threatened by the people of Earth, who show up to pillage the planet for a mineral called "unobtainium", a mineral that has strong enough magnetic properties to make big deposits of it actually hover above the ground. There are even the "Hallelujah Mountains" on Pandora, entire mountains hovering above the ground. What happens is a classic, yet beautifully done battle of the natives to defend their homeland, and as for the end, well, you'll just have to see it.

The attention to detail in this make believe world were so overwhelming and beautiful. Unlike "Star Wars Episode II, Attack of the Clones", this was a very believable reality, not cartoonish at all, almost like you're looking at a movie filmed in the Amazon, but every plant and animal is not something you recognize. At one point, sitting in a theater with two big and intimidating guys, I broke down and let tears roll out of my eyes, enamored with the beauty of the movie.

Out of 5 stars, I would give this movie a perfect score, and being a trekkie and having my big day last May, I have to say that this motion picture blew that one out of the water.
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