I went into this movie with a lot of apprehension reading all those not-so-flattering-reviews, about how it was a long-drawn love story; about nothing too much about effects and all; about how James Cameron went a little bit overboard etc.. But as millions of movie goers have proved, it's a good one - one to be watched at least one more time.
To start with, the bad news:
1. It's a good thing to watch an extra terrestrial species talk about Zen philosophy. They say lightning never strikes twice in the same place. They are wrong. It did at Fame Lido. Remember the cup is full/empty. Can we get on with precious life Hollywood - Next time you folks want to use this story in a movie, say something like "The full cup thingie". We will get it.
2. Unobtainium - The name of the precious mineral sounded like an old joke. Ask anyone in the theatre yesterday, they would have come up with a better term. (Trivia: If anyone wondered what this gizmo mineral is gonna do, it helps transfer energy with zero loss at room temperature - a super conductor at normal temperature.)
3. I would have liked it, if the men came back and had another go at the Na'vi. But it was not meant to be. Believe me, this movie smacks of a sequel. "Avatar - The Return of the Unobtainians" I would watch it, but if it takes another 12 years, James, my son may laugh at you. The fighting Colonel shouldn’t have died, his scars notwithstanding. His part should have been played by Hugo weaving, but who listens to us these days.
4. Hollywood scriptwriters conveniently eliminate the Hero's only competition. Tsu'Tey - remember, the unfortunate would-have-been leader of the clan? He had to die, and I hate it. He was more human than Na'vi. Fierce, trigger-happy, and envious - all too human. C’mon guys, he spoke English without an MTI.
(On second thoughts, he could have been Judas Iscariot in a sequel. May be, as Saurav-one of my colleagues said, he ain't dead coz he just falls off, we never see him die die, and may be he will make a come back with some cock-and-bull story. Or may be, the name sounds Chinese, so they just decided to bump him off.)
5. The Heroine Neytiri. Her name means “a burning wick dipped in ghee” in my tongue. Actually I liked her a lot. She's Zoe Saldana or something, and I would find it hard to imagine her in real life. The only give-away scene was where she put up a big fuss about training our Hero. She was snarling, hissing, canine and all. Gimme a break, we all saw your body language when all those fluffy phosphorescent things sat on Jake. He had you at hello. We're not Na'vi, but we know the playing-hard-to-get in front of folks game. We invented it.
6. Think about it. Paolini meets Wachovski Brothers and Tolkien in a park called Jurassic.
7. This movie should have been launched on June 5th.
And for the good:
1. That cross between a hammerhead whale and a Jurassic park breed. I loved them. Good species to have on project feedback sessions.
2. The war speech. I was wondering, why Tsu'Tey's translation in between. But it was a good ploy. It gave my goose bumps time to settle down, before they rose again. "But we'll send them a message" all rise "Iswha kfeklwfj sms" all settle "That this…………………..this is our land" rise rise rise “lando dsaldasd”. who cares. Man I wanted to go out there and fight.
3. You cannot live without India these days. Max, the guy in the Avatar program is an Indian. I doubted it initially, as he looked like a cross. But yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, it's official…he is Indian, and his full name is Max (bated breath) Pateeeeeeeeel (applause). Our own Gujju Bhai. The sad part is Indians are being stereotyped as scientists, instead of the old snake charmer types. Next time you get introduced to a firang in real life, just say e=mc3.
4. Effects: Give it to them buddies. The dirt that fell on your faces while Jake runs out for the first time as an Avatar is still wet. And the fires should have touched you. And this is the story behind that:
5. The whole thing about Eywa (Pandora's spirit). Read more about Gaia (earth’s spirit) when you get a chance.
6. Colors: Everything was good. Every color to exhaust a woman's vocab. Na'vi body color discussion must have been something like this:
James: So what color do we give the natives? Brown? Indians will claim that they are being portrayed as monkeys. Black? Stevie Wonder would have a problem. White? That would be politically incorrect western hegemony. Guys, I don't know what to do.
Intern: James? James? Over here.
Intern: We can go with blue.
James: Yesss. Why didn't I think of it before? Blue it shall be!!!! We can never go wrong with blue!!!
7. Toruk Makto. Just Awesome.
Verdict: The goods and the bads more-or-less even out. If you've been a kid ever and liked a roller coaster....no ...a kaleidoscope, you may like it. Remember the myriad colors that change when you turn it around a wee bit? At USD 300 million +, this is the biggest -beep-ing kaleidoscope that you’ll ever see.
To sign off, here's a poster to kill for: