Avatar

I saw the movie “Avatar” last night. It was almost impossible not to see it, what with all the commentary in the media and within the general public. I suppose that most of you reading this (probably thousands if not millions of people around the world) have seen the movie too, and you don’t really care what I have to say about it. If you fit that description, I’ll see you later.

If you haven’t seen it, you might be interested in my impressions. If not, I’ll see you later. If so, read on.

I saw the movie in 3D, meaning that I was treated to enhanced visual images that appear to have three dimensions. Facilitating the 3D effect required the wearing of special glasses, provided to moviegoers as we entered the theater. A container was provided after the movie for recycling the glasses.

I won’t go into detail concerning the plot, but will give the general outline. Humans attempt to mine precious metal from a faraway planet called Pandora, but to do so they meet resistance from the indigenous human-like creatures called Na’vi. A physically handicapped Marine named Jake Sully (actor Sam Worthington) is enlisted to interact with the Na’vi through the use of an “Avatar,” which is a creature cloned from the combined DNA of a human and a Na’vi. Humans can link with their Avatars via electronics and actually populate the bodies of their Avatars. Don’t worry, you’ll catch on quickly if you see the movie.

Jake Sully is a great protagonist. He has a disability, his attitude changes dramatically through the story, and he eventually takes control of a deteriorating predicament and saves the day. Jake falls in love with Neytiri (actor Zoe Saldana), a female Na’vi who saves Jake’s life in their first meeting when she drives off a pack of hungry dog-like creatures who wish to make a meal of Jake. At this point in the story, Jake is a bumbling novice in the jungles of Pandora. Neytiri tutors him and . . . well, you must see the movie yourself to see what sort of pupil Jake becomes.

Much has been made by critics about the political and sociological suggestions in the movie’s plot and theme. The Na’vi are deeply connected to their natural and pristine environment. Pandora is a beautiful place with gorgeous and outlandish plants and wildlife, as well as strange and fascinating geographical structures that are beyond description. Humans, for the most part, overlook the natural beauty of the place and have little in the way of empathy for the Na’vi. The goal is to find the valuable stuff under the surface of the planet, mine it, and make off with it. The Na’vi must get out of the way or be annihilated. By the end of the movie, it’s pretty easy to hate the humans, or at least hate what they represent.

Speaking of hate, I really hated the main antagonist, Miles Quaritch (actor Stephen Lang). He has everything that a fine protagonist must possess. He is strong, single-minded, annoying, outspoken, devious, inconsiderate of others, and totally despicable. He is one bad dude. No, I won’t tell you what happens to him, except to say that Neytiri has something to do with his comeuppance.

The graphical effects in the movie are unbelievably good. I swore that what I was seeing was real. The plants, the strange beasts, the insects, the geographical formations, and the Na’vi who lived within that world were, during the time I watched the movie, more real than the people sitting near me in the theater. If you would like to enter an alien world without traveling in suspended animation for years in a spaceship, go see “Avatar.” The scenery and biology of the movie alone is worth the ticket price.

Speaking of price, I paid $22 for two tickets to the 3D version at 7 p.m. A standard version is also available if you think you can survive without seeing the movie in 3D. Pay the extra couple of bucks and see it in 3D.

I saw families of 5 or 6 attending the movie. Just think what they had to pay, especially if they purchased food and drinks. I’m sure they will not regret having spent that much money. To keep a whole bunch of kids entranced for nearly three hours is worth quite a bit of cash. I didn’t hear any annoying kid noises during the movie. They were all busy tramping, swinging, and flying through the jungles of Pandora with Jake and Neytiri.

I’ve talked to a number of people who say that “Avatar” is the best movie they’ve ever seen, or that “Avatar” is now their favorite movie. I liked it too. Time will tell whether it eventually rises to the top in my subconscious ratings of all the movies I’ve ever seen. I find myself thinking about it quite a bit today. I’ll see whether I think about it in the next year or so as much as I think about the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, my current favorite movies of all time.

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