Sunday, December 20, 2009


When law enforcement sends someone undercover they usually or are always confidence their undercover will not flip on them. Why is this? Because they believe morality will win the day. Someone from the right background will never be a gangster since they are not cold hearted like that. It is not in their nature to slash and burn. Well, someone should have told the marines this in this high profile and action packed Avatar. Jake Sully is the marine in this movie, he is the chosen one. The marines should have chosen a Russian gangser to do undercover work for them since they would have no qualms about feeding intel to the marines even if that intelligence would be used against a peaceful, non-threatening and magnetic species.

The disappointing Terminator: Salvation's Sam Worthington plays this Jake Sully. He is a paraplegic who somehow got through marine bootcamp. He is about to have an eventure of a lifetime.

Mankind has found a new source of energy or some raw material that is highly valuable. But the movie sort of contradicts itself. Giovanni Ribisi stars as the corporate pitchman or playmaker named Parker Selfridge. At the outset, Parker says some special rock which floats, he has a sample, is what is financing this extravaganza. He says this to Dr. Grace Augustine who is played by Sigourney Weaver. This is not the first time Weaver has played in a James Cameron film, Aliens was her bigtime screen role. This time she is not shooting the aliens, she is mesmerized by them.

My point is, the final scene, Sully informs us that Earth is dying. Sully is narrating the film for us at certain points. So this is not really consistent.

What also is not accurate is mankind going to another planet purposely inflicting widespread damage and murdering an indigenous people. This is a cold hearted look at the marines. This is not misguided, really cynical. In the contemporary world, we cannot even drill and pump up oil off the coast of my home state of California even if it would help save an economy and give us a spark in our energy supply. So one is telling me that about 200 hundred years in the future, we are acting like we did 200 years from now in the past? I doubt it, I would like to think we have improved a little.

This movie borrows some ideas from Aliens, native Americans, and The Matrix. Mankind has the ability to movie physical bodies with the mind. Like Neo in The Matrix, Sully, who is a crippled marine, is able to manipulate a body which resembles the local aliens. The DNA is mixed with some human DNA and the aliens on this distant planet. I know Sully was asleep for 6 human years moving at the speed of light. His body is weak because of this but his mind recovers like it he just had a wonderful overnight sleep.

The marines do not work for the Federal Govenment in this film. This is where Cameron has borrowed some ideas from himself, his Aliens film. I do not blame him, that was a movie for the ages, far more than this one. Cameron must be Michael Moore's solid friend because this movie paints the marines in a bad light as well as corporate America. Most companies would never hold this strategy and I doubt the US government would rent out the marines to the private sector. A large company could have private contractors on the payroll, that would be credible. Enron or WorldCom could have done this, but so could have Barnie Frank or Bill Clinton. Barnie is still lying about Fannie and Freddie Mae. He does not have a conscious.

Sully loves be an alien. He has legs now, he is ten feet tall and can run 100 meters, I am sure in about 5 seconds. He earns the right to spend time with the alien folks by accident and he comes back to the human base to offer information and intelligence to Augustine. He is not just being monitored by Grace, but by Colonel Miles Quaritch played by Stephen Lang. Is he the quintessential marine? No. He is a cold hearted murderer without any reluctancy to slaughter mother nature on another planet just for the sake of seeing some explosions and exercise his hair trigger finger. Sully respects Lang but sees the wisdom of Augustine.

What really sways Sully is a female counterpart that helps tutor and guide him. We knew they would fall in love. That is not surprising. This aspect is seen in other movies. How about The Last Samurai? It is not a perfect copy but it does involve someone turning against their former side. Sully rides a 6 legged horse, a flying dragon, learns how to live in this hostile jungle, learns a new dialect, takes on a new culture, all in about 3 months. Which I can see. Sully has been hobbled and even though Miles offers him the chance to pick up some fresh legs paid for by the company, human legs ofcourse, Sully is falling for these new humanoids and amazing planet. They have floating mountains and a 3000 foot high tree that is about 300 feet thick. Who would want to destroy that?

The geeky Joel Moore is Norm Spellman who has studied hard to blend into the native alien Indians. He is the jealous one. Sully is the one writing history and telling the fairy tales. But Norm and Trudy have their day in the sun at the end. Michelle Rodriguez plays helicopter fighter pilot Trudy Chacon who turns traitor at the end. I am not sure if she is traitor though since this movie is so unrealistic. Mankind back home would not stand for this type of behavior. What would this say about our character? Lets just steal and rob all over the solar system.

The marines strike first. They blow down that large tree. Sully and Augustine and the small rebel group hijack or steal a marine helicopter to help out the natives. Much to the infuriation Miles, but he was already on to Sully and Augustine's tactics. But he failed to failed to put the screws onto them. Sully uses his intelligence of mankind to spread this knowledge into the biological deity of the natives. Using some fascinating biological chemistry, he transfers this knowledge to this shining array of plants in the middle of the jungle. The natives reach out to other native species for support. Their planet is under fire, strategic and shrewd move. This is what the native Americans should have done if they wanted to stand a better chance against the white man in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The planet gathers 2000 warriors who come with their dragons and horses. They are taking casualties until the diety calls forth their massive 30 ton rhinocerous type creatures, wild dogs, massive flocks of dragons, and 2000 pound cat like predator. The humans are in trouble. They are forced off the planet, atleast until the return and just fire bomb the place from the planet's troposphere or from outer space. With futuristic weapons, even nuclear, the planet could be subdued. This movie never showed mankind with any jet like aircraft after the bigginning which ferried Sully and his battalion to the jungle base. I guess they did not feel like they needed them. The planet seems to be smaller than earth, probably the size of the US, ofcourse as a sphere.

This movie was not an actual picture. It was like 300. This movie crossed between actual humans to a glorified cartoon. So that is a slight to me. It is not Wolverine, it is not even close to Transformers II or even Terminator II. It does not hold any water to this year's Star Trek. The musical score was nothing special. Transformers II's musical score was tremendous. Star Trek's excitement and scientific intrigue is what carried its banner. This movie did not have have an attractive female. Michelle Rodriguez is nothing to brag about. Avatar did have some decent lines but the final action scene was nothing compared to Transformers II. Transformers, brought to us by Michael Bay and his team is amazing because it is so lifelike. Like 300, I can not say the same for Avatar. Atleast Beowulf had an exotic Angelina Jolie and some badass action scenes to promote it.

The dragon scenes in Avatar were cool. When Sully jumped that lethal and ferocious red painted dragon at the end, that was unexpected and clever. It was also borderline lunacy but desperate times call for desperate measures. I did not expect that. He lived up to his charm. His daredevil instincts helped him since to gain face back with the natives he had to do something that would garner him instant respect. That was it.

The creative content in Avatar was stupendous, I will give it that. Floating mountains with waterfalls? Not bad.

I allocate this movie three stars.***

May not make up for the Dark Angel flop though Mr. Cameron.

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