I’m breaking from my new series to catch up on my film reviews.
Also, I realized today that it is nearly the two-year anniversary of this blog. I’ve grown from two followers to forty one. This is pretty cool.
Anyway, to the review:
I am not talking about the show Avatar, I’ve never seen it. I’m talking about the movie that kind of went under the radar. I remember first seeing commercials for it and thinking it looked cool. Blue aliens, they aren’t usually my thing, but it was an interesting concept.
And I finally got a chance to watch it.
The story is about a man named Jake Sully, who is an ex-marine, and has lost the use of his legs, but thanks to being a twin and having the same DNA of his dead brother, he is able to replace him in an experimental program that will use his soul and mind into the body of a human/alien being, and allow him to infiltrate their culture and find out how to get the valuable metal they have in their forest. Unobtainium. (That name was said with a straight face throughout the entire movie.)
Creepy sounding right? But once you get over the initial weirdness and your mind adjusts to the idea of a man being inside a large blue thing with a tail, it’s not so bad.
The character I found most intriguing, next to Jake, was Grace. A scientist on the project, who at first didn’t like him being there because she thought he was dumb. (Incidentally, Chris Pratt auditioned for Jake’s role, and Jake Sully is a lot like Peter Quill from Guardians of the Galaxy. Apparently Pratt gets type cast.)
After a lot of in between events that fill us in more on these blues aliens (I can neither remember nor spell their actual name) Jake and his new body end up on their planet, Pandora, with a handful of other humans in avatar form. Jake has some run ins with the flora and fauna of this world, and one of the natives is going to shoot an arrow through him, but the seeds of their ancient tree stop her. It’s not quite as crazy as it sounds. This tree is like the Home Tree from Pixie Hollow, a source of power.
The native spares him, and then saves his life, making it plain that she thinks he’s an idiot, but he has s trog heart, and she’s not going to kill anyone the tree says to spare. Later she takes him to her people and he is trained by her to be one of them.
There’s a lot more to it than that, but this movie is really long, so I’ll go to the important part. After months of this, Jake begins to feel more conflicted about destroying these people. And Grace, who was in charge of a school for their children and ahs been allowed around them again, is also not for the idea of destroying their home and them. But their protests get them locked up. And after a lot of cat and mouse with them escaping and being caught again, Jake rallies all the tribes of the aliens against the humans. I’ll admit this was the most intense action I’ve seen in awhile.
Of course there is the obligatory scene where the blue people find out Jake was playing them and the girl he’s fallen in love with (and mated with…skip that scene) is furious with him and sends him packing. But as cliché as it is, the actors sold it really well, and made it more unique. Plus we never get that annoying scene where the hero is bellyaching about how they ruined everything and lost the girl, blah, blah, blah. Jake never wastes time.
In the end, the blue people win over the Earthlings, with the help of they’re planet’s god, Awah (Phonetic spelling,) who causes all the animals of the forest to help them, even the ones that would normally eat them. Jake gets to stay there, along with a few other people, and they use they’re mystical tree to make him permanently one of their kind.
I really recommend checking this movie out for yourself. It’s a lot like Atlantis, only with Milo Thatch replaced with an ex-marine. It’s also like Epic and Fern Gully. But the themes are more adult, and a lot more interesting and complex.
I knew Grace would change her mind about the people from the beginning, because she was learning about them the most and spending time with them, she had a more open mind, and more respect for their culture. Jake closed off to begin with, but you knew he’d change his mind too.
The bigger surprise was that a handful of the other humans also changed their minds, and sacrificed even their lives to help the people.
One of the most gripping lines is at the end, when Jake, in making his video log, reverses the terms, saying “The aliens went back to their planet, a few were selected to remain.” The aliens now being his own people.
The is movie is somewhat like Ender’s Game in plot device, but not in tone. I hated Ender’s Game and I didn’t like Ender. Jake on the other hand, I could at least root for. I felt sad for him, and his friends, and I could see clearly why the natives did not deserve what they got and how the whole project was bad to begin with and got worse as it went. You also see that the other humans had almost no respect for the natives, they thought of them as primitives, little better than animals, and that destroying them had no moral implications. The familiarity of such thinking was scary.
I don’t like movies that paint humans as the most evil, despicable race that there is. But I don’t think this movie would do that unless you chose to see it that way. Some of the humans are noble. It is more about how one race cannot dominate another in that way, and that it is not treason to join the opposite side if they are in the right. (Just like in the Hawk Girl post I just did.) It’s also about respecting life.
Even though the religion of the movie seems very Eastern, I found none of it to directly contradict my own faith. I actually thought Awah was a good representation of God in some ways. The rituals were weird, and I did skip some, but mostly it was fine.
Also, instead of the head of the tribe taking an instant disliking to Jake, the mother of it is the most just to him, and she is the one who frees him and Grace at the end, instead of the love interest. I thought that was cool.
This has been a very long review of a very long movie, so I’m signing off now.
Until next time–Natasha.