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Jan 20, 2010


This time around we are supporting a traitor, a betrayer of the entire human race and we(most of us) will do/did it whole-heartedly. Welcome Jake Sully and thank you James Cameron. Lets get that Titanic out of the living room, I never liked it much to start with.

Personally Avatar is a milestone for me. It is the first film I have watched in the theater *twice* without much persuasion from anyone. Movie halls all across the world must have heaved a collective sigh of relief the day Avatar hit the theaters because this is one movie you cannot watch from your couch, not on your 70 inch HDTV, nothing but a Real 3D or Cinemark XD movie hall can do justice to the magnificence of the real movie. I heard 3d TVs are coming or they are already at your door or something, but it’ll be quite sometime before they will invade all our homes.

 It is an impressive visual treat, a technological vision about our future and a scathingly precise allusion to America’s territorial ambitions. It is 2154, human race has advanced beyond the confines of solar system and find themselves at the gates of a verdant green planet, Pandora, in search of a precious metal aptly named 'Unobtanium'. All the names are allegorical to the point of being slightly comical. (Na'vi = Native - E.T (?))

It is a feel good thing for me if the highest grossing movie in the history of movies has an Indian name. Avatar, like guru, its predecessor is one of the few words borrowed from Sanskrit (and thereby Hindi) by the insatiable verbal needs of Information Technology era. The movie in a way pays tribute to its etymological roots by depicting Na'vi people(the natives of Pandora) with blue skin color and black hair akin to Krishna, the most famous of Hindu avatars. Although I think a lot of what went into Na'vi culture is an amalgamation of Indian(as in native-American) and African-American customs and rituals.

There is not much of a story that you haven’t seen before. Story, dialog and characters are re-hashed typical Hollywood fare. This interesting link shows how aliens are really related to native Americans and thereby to Pocohontas. But then you don’t go to watch a movie like Avatar for its story or its script. It blows you away by the mere fact that such a technically brilliant movie has been made and you had actually seen it. You can explore the digital muscle that made Avatar possible here.

For a CGI sci-fi movie which never usually beeps in the radar screens of non-geeky non-nerdy audience, James Cameron’s multi-million dollar 3D extravaganza has ruffled a few feathers. People or groups pissed off by Avatar include but is not limited to Chinese government(now that is not a hard crowd to piss off), conservatives, people of the Pope, anti-smokers, anti-environmentalists, true blue capitalists etc. If you throw a stone in a crowded theater screening this movie, you have half-a-chance of hitting a pissed-off person or someone sitting next to a pissed-off person. For a ‘typical’ Hollywood movie with stereotypical characters and situations that is indeed a plus in my book.

One thing is certain, Avatar is a landmark in the movie-making business. At a time when it is hard to lure the audience to movie halls, this movie will change the way successful movies will be made from here onwards. James Cameron has netted a winner, yet again.