Saturday, 26 December 2009

Avatar

Somewhere, about ninety minutes into Avatar I was certain that this was one of the best – perhaps the best – movies of the year. The feeling didn't pass. Not really. I told The Mad Hatter a few days ago that Avatar was dangerously close to perfection, perhaps the word should have been maddeningly close. The hint of perfection was so close, so near that the failure to attain that perfection was maddening. Yet, despite not being perfect Avatar is still one of the better films I’ve seen this year.
                
Avatar occurs in the future in a place called Pandora. I’ll refrain from any plot excursions even though I suppose spoilers wouldn’t affect the effect of the film. In a way Avatar reminds me of incongruous musicals like Chicago or even Moulin Rouge The greatness of these films is not in their plot, but in their filmmaking and Avatar is no different. It’s a visual spectacle that’s incredibly phenomenal and enthralling. I found it to be one of the most visually satisfying film since the underrated James & the Giant Peach – probably better than that.

The thing with Avatar though is that with the visuals as characters themselves the actors are not given a feasible chance to harvest their talents. This does not stop Sigourney Weaver though. It’s folly for me to expect this to pick up any awards traction, but Sigourney does everything one can do in such a film. She emerges as the strongest of the lot [voice and body actors] giving a full performance. In fact her final moments on screen are the most poignant for me. Which is actually a contributing reason that the film didn’t get that A.
                                       
Avatar is not perfect. It would have been higher if it was. My issue with Avatar – which is essentially nitpicking – is that the climax for me occurs with fifty minutes to spare. Sigourney’s demise and the burning of the forest are all so enthralling and I’ve become so invested that there was nowhere to go but downhill. Thus the effective ending can’t but feel like a letdown. Of course, being less than a stellar is not offensive. And I couldn’t help but chuckle at the refrain "I See You" through the film. A line the more astute of you will remember from Titanic.
You have a gift, Jack. You see people
I see you.
James Cameron puts everything into this film – Terminator, Aliens, Titanic and more and he makes a great film. Not my favourite of his. But one of the best of the year.
         
A-

9 comments:

Alex in Movieland said...

i'll see it in Bucharest :) probably in about 4 weeks. I can wait... Not my most wanted. I'm still afraid I'm gonna react like: so what...


meanwhile, seen An Education today. It was so sweet, I giggled all the way through it, especially in the 1st part. Carey Mulligan is what i've waited for all season. You cannot fake that type of charisma, so it's safe to say I know who has my Best Actress vote this season. she's terrific.

and the mood... perfect. A nice little film. A great little film. I just wish there was more for Emma Thompson to do. She's excellent in the 2-3 minutes to get and I could only dream of a Hermione Baddeley type of nomination

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

Woo hoo. So glad about An Education and especially Mulligan. It is sad about Thompson because I know if she was a bigger name [cough. Streep, Dench] she's be in contention. Oh well. How was Pike?

Univarn said...

I wouldn't go nearly as far to call this perfect. I loved everything visually I just felt there were a lot of eh plot moves that barely held the visuals together. Though the farther I get away from the movie the more I like it and the more I want to revisit it.

joe burns said...

Do you think it'll get nominated for Best Picture?

Alex in Movieland said...

Pike was ok... nice to look at, adequate, perfectly dressed, but nothing to really stand out. Even Olivia Williams or whatever her names is was better, she was quite good in her big you'll break my heart scene...
But Emma: perfect timing. too bad... too bad.

I also have The Messenger. but tonight i'm adventuring with something for the blog. I also saw The Hurt Locker last night (and I mostly liked it) and Broken Embraces the day before (and it's one of Almodovar's worst ever for me)

Robert said...

Just saw Avatar tonight, and agree completely with all your points. It wasn't perfect, but it was so visually stunning and immersive...that any sort of plot or acting flaw was easily ignorable. A great film!!!

The Mad Hatter said...

Oh come on now - for how much you loved this film even it couldn't merit an "A"???

(Great review though, and thanks for the plug)

CrazyCris said...

I saw Avatar lastt night, also visually stunning, but was so caught up in the amazing visuals that it's hard to pay much critical attention to the story and acting other than to say that the story is a bit simplistic.

I'm hoping to see it again after New Year's in Barcelona so I can see it undubbed. Perhaps during a second viewing I can get a better feel for the actors.

Lisa in Oz said...

I'd comment more, but eh...you know I'm a hater. ;-)