NRO on Avatar
This review may change my mind about going to see the film: http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NTBmNDU0YWUwZmM2MDNhZWUyNmVlZGZlMzZmYjE3ZmY=
What I didn’t expect was the sheer beauty of the film. It won me over. I think it was the forests of Pandora that first broke through my grumpy attitude — the graceful trees, plants with enormous fan-like leaves, curious twisted ferns that shyly retract when touched. Everything is glowing in lavender, blue, and aqua; it could have been painted by Maxfield Parrish.
The highly anticipated 3-D process is most successful, I think, with the “seeds of the sacred tree,” a cross between a butterfly, a spider, and a dandelion puff. When these seeds begin drifting down, they really do seem to leave the screen and float over the heads of the audience.
Yet more beautiful were the Floating Mountains. These enormous floating rocks, crowned with trees and trailing vines, are truly awe-inspiring; they are worthy, I thought, of J. R. R. Tolkien.
So, yes, you need to see this movie, and see it while it’s in theaters, full-screen and in 3-D. Yes, you can take the kids, but only if they can handle some violent moments. The most graphic, I thought, came when a Na’vi spoke his last words with a shattered tree limb through his chest. There’s no nudity (though the cat-like Na’vis’ costumes are quite scanty) and the single love scene is swift and discreet.
Avatar is a perplexing mix of glorious method and crummy material, and it left me wondering why, in the hands of one artist, a familiar tale can move us even more profoundly because of those earlier links, and we call it a “classic” — while in the hands of another artist it seems derivative and stale. Why, in the hands of one artist, can a work express childlike wonder, while another’s reveals childish immaturity? The characters pushed around in this story seem like something thought up by a twelve-year-old. This is most ludicrous in the climactic battle, when bad Col. Quaritch survives a series of death-dealing blows that are increasingly hard to believe; at one point, his shoulder is literally on fire. I pictured Cameron killing Quaritch off with great satisfaction each day, then coming back the next day saying, “But I can’t let him die yet!”
Some artists remain in touch with the inspirations and enthusiasms of their twelve-year-old selves, and produce something fresh and moving. There’s no reason that this script had to be as flat as it is. But, oh, the beauty. James Cameron may have a tin ear for dialogue, but he indisputably has an artist’s eye. Go see it on the big screen, and let yourself be dazzled.
My comment: I dunno. I am so very tired of the leftwing and their smug anti-rational anti-religion, and I am tired of hearing it preached at me, since the hypocrites who propound it so obviously do not believe it themselves. But I do like Maxfield Parrish.
I have tried my whole life to suppress my elitist good taste, so that I would be able to enjoy loud, bit, dumb eye-candy movies like a philistine -- where is my ability to turn off my brain and enjoy an actioner flick when I need it?!
There is also an economic consideration: taking a family of four (six if you count the grown ups) to the movie palace and buying tubs of popcorn and buckets of soda at move palace prices is not a Depression-era entertainment bargain.
Besides, isn't Disney's PRINCESS AND THE FROG in theaters now?