James Cameron’s Avatar – A Visual Garden Of Eden In 3D

avatarIn Hinduism, Avatar is a  Sanskrit word referring to the conscious descent of a deity from heaven to earth often translated into English as “incarnation,” but a  more appropriate term is “manifestation.” Its meaning is the basis of James Cameron’s visual epic that took fourteen years to complete depicting native life of Pandora, a planet that takes several years to reach in suspended animation. The film is an artistically stunning adventure in 3D worth seeing  even if the story, written in two weeks, is a bit derivative with a  screenplay that borrows heavily from some of the directors previous work and brings to mind too many similarities to Dances With Wolves.

aliens-3The military look of the film is so reminiscent of  Aliens that it distracted me from  becoming immersed in the film. Aliens is the 1986 classic that Cameron directed about the bugs that gestate in the chest of its living host and have acid for blood. As in Aliens, the company or corporation features prominently as the prime antagonist of evil instigating  the invasion force that plans to drain Pandora’s natural resources for the benefit of Earth. Our planet is now an ecologically depleted waste land, a victim of economic greed that Weavers character, Dr. Grace Augustine, a Bio-Anthropologist opposes as passionately as she did as Ellen Ripley in Aliens.

The feel of the film’s technology including a cargo loader machine similar to the one Ripley uses to defeat the queen bug at the end of Aliens is featured in facsimile in a major battle scene at the end of Avatar. This similarity is an annoying element of this new film which was written, directed and produced by Cameron with a running time of 2 hours and 40 minutes.

aliens-ripley-powerloader_1193711350Although the 3D nature of the films construction is groundbreaking, the plot is predictable and the characters are too two dimensional drawing  heavily from other science fiction/ fantasy films. The premise that all living things emanate a common energy also known as “the force”  fills everything in the universe is perhaps a reference to the  Star Wars universe , not that there is anything wrong with imitation, but even the forests of Pandora,  a magical place  with luminescent creatures and large revered trees  evokes the image of Lothlorien the mystical home  of the elves of Middle Earth. Add to all this the notion of cloning a personal avatar and a neural link, then  Alien Resurrection and The Matrix comes  to mind. But despite all its flaws, Avatar is worth seeing if only to make one realize that Star Trek (2009) is a much better film.