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Monday, December 21, 2009

‘Avatar’ stirs up the child in us

‘Avatar’ stirs up the child in us

In the evolution of cinema, Avatar is a new species. The ultimate in cinema entertainment, it is a product cleverly designed to cater to the visual thirst and childlike curiosity of all ages and tastes. Avatar has caught the fancy of film lovers in Kuwait with its release last Friday and is a great technological achievement.

Director James Cameron's multi layered attempt to knit together art and craft is memorable. He unites the themes of civilized greed vs forest virtue; age old story vs the most modern technology; beauty vs war and materialism vs utopian spirituality. It's Cameron after 'Titanic' and he is back to his 'Terminator' roots. Cameron deserves a Best Director Oscar for marrying a story that is appealing to everyone, contains hints of social commentary and utilizes the latest in movie making technology.

In one of the early scenes, the heroine, English speaking native Na'vi of Pandora planet, tells the hero, an Earthen named Jake (a soldier in Pandora as part of a human mission to loot the natural resources of the planet), she did not attack him because she 'saw' the strength of his heart. Jake is disabled and considered a liability to the station where the Earthen invaders experiment and carry out operations on the planet of Pandora. Jake has the boon to mind-travel or to be an avatar (incarnation) as one of the Na’vis. The film is largely about his transformation from a finite, handicapped human into a high-spirited being.

The breathtaking Pandora is being inhabited by spirit-filled trees, gigantic animals, birds and various clans of Na'vi. The Na'vi, described as 'blue monkeys' by a military general plundering the planet, are the bluish, supernaturally tall, naïve and native inhabitants of Pandora. Avatar has the bottom line of virtue being successful and seems to be saying ‘the weak becomes meek and become to inherit the land’.

Avatar is the kind of film one feels is a must see but after watching feels as though maybe it wasn't worth the hype. The hype is unavoidable but make no mistake; Cameron's film is a triumph worth seeing. The IMAX version of the film is expected to arrive in Kuwait next week.

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