Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Avatar Movie Review

There’s something about going to a theater to see a movie. Maybe it’s the smell of overpriced popcorn wafting up to you from three rows below. Maybe it’s the occasional annoying light of a cell phone that reminds you what world you are in. maybe it’s the way the audience laughs and cries you one moment and shares your horror and anticipation the next. Maybe (and most likely) it’s the way a group of people come together and focus on one thing for hours at a time. The way they find an odd sort of comradeship as they experience a feast for the senses with their imagination.

One hundred and forty odd years in the future, ex-marine Jake Sully, travels to the far off planet, Pandora, to fill a role not originally intended for him. Through his decision to do so, Jake is introduced to an indigenous humanoid population known as the Na'vi. His unique position as part of an experimental program, in which he is the only non-scientist participant, is a precarious one as he faces the choice to be accepted by the supposedly savage Na'vi or to side with the true savages, the humans.

The constant twists and turns of this movie left me breathless. I allowed myself the excitement of thoroughly enjoying Avatar. The climactic moments made me feel like I was on a roller coaster. Like a gymnast on a balance beam, the events of the movie are evenly distributed and well put together. There is action-oh so much thrilling action-which will keep you on the edge of your seat. I’m pretty sure my friends and I annoyed other movie watchers in our vicinity with our whispered screeches and constant outbursts of, “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh! Yes!...NO! Are you serious? Aww come on!”

Even the name of the movie, Avatar, (which is a Hindu word meaning incarnation or embodiment) suggests various cultural references. With my unspecialized eye, I caught glimpses of American Indians, African tribesmen, Hindu-like religious ceremony, and even tree huggers. (Don’t get offended, I thoroughly approve of effort, within reason, to preserve the beauty of this God-given earth.)

Now after all this ranting and raving, I must be very fair and honest. I do not, in any shape or form, believe in the existence of a deity like the one portrayed in the movie. But ah, I go too far. I must not give away the story. I am confident in my faith in the one true God and no movie could ever shake that. I am also confident in my ability to separate myself from the entanglements of a good story.

Take a mature approach to this movie. I saw children who could not have been more than four years old in the theater. Of that I do not approve. The movie is rated PG-13 for a reason. A recurring drawback of Avatar is the consistent use of rather strong language. (Did I seriously just say that? It’s cussing. That’s what it’s called.) While it’s not terrible, and even helps maintain the truthfulness of certain characters, be warned it is there. There is one scene of sexual content, but like I said earlier, the movie is for those who are mature enough to handle it.

Avatar was one of the few movies I actually considered worth seeing in theaters. It is a mix of action, agility, friendship, determination, and love woven together to make a great storyline. I highly recommend Avatar, both as a new personal favorite and as an extremely well made movie.