Avatar is nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for James Cameron. Other nominations: Art direction, Cinematography, Directing, Film editing, Original score, Best picture, Sound editing, Sound mixing and Visual effects. It has surpassed James Cameron’s other mega-blockbuster, Titanic at the box office. But will it win on Oscar Night?
I may have to find another movie theater. The brand new AMC at the mall is wonderful. Spacious seats, great sound system and its in the mall, so I can browse around in Sephora, the Apple Store or have a margarita while I wait for my movie to start. But lately, I have had to wait in line to see the movies of my choice. Or worse yet, pick something else, because the movie I want to see is sold out. I still haven’t seen The Blind Side and the only reason I saw Sherlock Holmes was because Avatar was sold out.
So when I went to the mall last week to see the 5:00 showing of Avatar, imagine my shock when he told me (like I was stupid or something) “that show has been sold out for 2 hours!” Hasn’t this movie been out for three weeks? I am not going home with seeing a movie tonight! The Chipmunks Squeal? I don’t think so. So I waited 2 hours for Avatar to start. That’s OK. I’ll just run down to Sephora and look at eyeshadow or over to the Apple store and pretend I can afford a MacBook Pro. What? A line is forming for the 7:30 show? Fast forward to 2 hours of standing at the AMC theater…to sitting for almost 3 hours of Avatar. Put on your 3-D glass…We are going to Pandora!
The Beautiful World of Pandora
The story of Avatar begins in the 22nd century with a US Marine, Jake Sully (played by Sam Worthington) who is wheelchair bound after an accident. But he is given a chance for adventure and to earn enough money for an operation that would allow him to walk again. He can replace his twin brother on a top-secret mission on a planet more than four light years away called Pandora.
The mission: to get Pandora’s highly desired natural resource, a $20 million a kilo mineral called Unobtanium (for a multi-million dollar movie, you would think they would have come up with a better name), which the Earth needs to ease its energy crisis. The problem is the largest concentration of Unobtanium is found directly under ‘Home Tree in the Na’vi village. (It actually is an enormous tree and they all live in it like the Keebler Elves) There is a VERY, and I mean VERY large military base on Pandora to ‘help’ the company secure the rights to the precious metal. The phrase “by any means necessary” comes to mind.
Unfortunately, the atmosphere on Pandora is poisonous to human. In order for the company to convince the native population to move and hand over their natural resources, the Avatar program was created. The avatars are human/Na’vi hybrids that can travel freely on the planet.The program is run by Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver). Poisonous gas atmosphere or not Pandora is a beautiful (although deadly) planet with a mix of strange-looking animals and plant life. So off Grace, Jake and the other scientists go…to explore Pandora and meet the Na’Vi.
Director James Cameron went through great pains to create a realistic world for this movie. He even hired University of Southern California linguistics professor, Paul Frommer to design an actual Na’Vi language. Too bad for all the Trekkies who learned Vulcan and Klingon. Now the have another alien language to learn. So with the 3-D glasses and state of the art CGI (computer generated images), you forget that most of this movie was made on a sound stage.
Dances With Na’Vi
The native population are called the Na’vi, and except for the fact that they are 9 foot tall, with blue stripped skin and a tail , they are very similar to Native Americans. There were times during the almost 3 hour that I watched Avatar when I felt like I was watching Dances with Wolves. The culture, horses, bows and arrows, the reverence for nature all reminded me of aspects of various Native American cultures. Even Netiri’s (played by Zoe Saldano) father, Eytukan was played by Wes Studi, the Native American actors who was so great in Dances with Wolves and as Magua in The Last of the Mohicans.
Sci-fi Chick Flick
Is Avatar a Chick Flick? I was asked that on Twitter recently. If you define chick flick by a movie with a love story as its main plot line, then NO Avatar is not a Chick Flick. Ok, there is a love story between the two lead characters, but that is not the focus of the story. But if you define chick flick by a movie with strong female characters, then yes; Avatar is an “action chick flick”. Netiri Stands With Fists is a fearless warrior princess who saves Jake’s life on his first night in the Pandoran forest. She teaches him how to hunt, fly and live like the Na’Vi people There is also Sigourney Weaver’s character Grace, who stands toe-to-toe with the military and corporate bad guys who are determined to shut her project down. And we can’t forget Michelle Rodriguez, as the Marine pilot who is not afraid of a fight.
There are other themes in Avatar about colonization, racial intolerance, the ecology, the current energy crisis and many more. Maybe this it not the blog for that discussion. I think each person takes what they want from a movie. Some people saw love story when what they wanted was big all out action packed sci-fi adventure. If you’ve ever watched any of James Cameron’s films, you would know that there is always a love story at the center of all him action movies. Look at The Terminator. Titanic was a love story on a sinking ship. As for me, I just want to be entertained, eat my popcorn and enjoy the show.
On The Road To The Oscars
Avatar has made over $500 million! I can’t even comprehend how much money that is. That makes Avatar one of the top grossing movies of all time. It also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture-Drama, which makes it a contender for an Academy Award nomination. This year the Academy will nominate 10 films for Best Picture. It will be interesting to see which movies make the list. In the next few weeks, I will review movies that I predict (or hope) will receive an Oscar nomination on February 3rd.
Take a look at what other movie bloggers are saying about Avatar: