Directed by James Cameron
2009, PG-13, 162 min.
We arrived early to get seats for Avatar, because it’s been breaking box-office records and we didn’t want to have to sit in the front row. We had to endure a large number of film trailers and commercial advertisements. The longest and most tiresome of them was for the U.S. military. “You can be tall, you can be straight, you can get ahead economically, you can be happy, you can be fulfilled.” All you have to do is give up your life for a period of time and let other people make all your choices, including whether or not you want to kill somebody else. The military advertisement seemed to grind on as long as the movie, and the movie, at 162 minutes, was long.
The military people in the movie were a lot different from the ones in the advertisement. In the movie, they were pretty much murderers, confident of their technical superiority over the simple natives they were displacing, and more than happy to blow them to kingdom come. After all, their “enemy” was, well, “different!”
I was looking for a disclaimer that said something like, “Any similarities between the American military men in this movie showing them blowing up people in their homeland and the actual American military men being used to blow up Afghanis in their homeland is purely coincidental.” I didn’t see the disclaimer, but I did see the IATSE union bug at the end of the credits. Literally hundreds of people were mentioned in those credits, by the way, because Avatar is the best special effects movie made so far.
Like all the best sci-fi, Avatar creates situations and draws conclusions that are similar to what is happening in our real lives. Some will say it is an allegory about the displacement of the Native Americans from their homes in the Western Hemisphere. Some will say it’s about Vietnam. A lot of people are going to say it’s about Afghanistan. I think that just about everybody is going to say it is a great movie!
The story is universally appealing, and the execution is far better than anybody has any right to expect. Avatar is a winner!