Saw that Avatar movie. Guess what? It's rad. No, it's not brain surgery. Yes, it has moments of dialogue that fall into the "functional" category. Yes, the story is a lot like Dances With Wolves or whatever. But once I figured out that I was watching a family action-adventure fantasy movie; something almost old-fashioned in the way it tells the story, I got on board and had a great time.
One thing I've got to say about James Cameron: part of his success in a genre often associated with boys and toys is his insistence on strong female characters. Terminator 1 and 2. Aliens. The Abyss. Titanic. Strong female characters abound. Avatar is no different. It's heroine is extremely well-realized, and the mythology of Pandora is matriarchal. If I had a daughter and took her to this, I would feel pretty confident that she was seeing something she could relate to.
It's also just plain pretty. The 3D is great, but a lot of this movie would look good on a DVD player. Not only because things look "real" or what-have-you. The special effects are employed to make the world seem gorgeous. Bioluminescent. Lush.
It's not James Cameron's best movie. It's not the best movie I've seen this year. I don't really think it's as rewatchable as Star Trek, for example. But it's a new story, which is refreshing all by itself, and its made with amazing care and skill.
In short: recommended.
- Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.