Many blogs and comments I've read have dismissed it as another special effects movie. As if there was no skill involved in that. And Oscar for this? Heaven forbid they say. But if creating something huge, if imagining and executing a whole new world- even a making up a new language and just having the sheer vision to think this big isn't up Oscar's alley, then Peter Jackson better return the statue he got for creating what is only the greatest movie of all time. And as much as I admire Cameron, Jackson's winning work was really one of the greatest movies. Ever.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
I was 12 when I first saw a woman naked.
And what a woman she was. My jaw dropped and stayed open.
Today, my jaw dropped again. The difference? I'm 24 and it takes a whole deal more than a naked woman to stun me. No- that isn't quite true- I take that back. Some things never change.
This isn't going to be a post about how a mysterious heavily accented woman seduced a 12 year old innocent and taught him the 'ways of the world'. I was 12 and to most guys of my generation, Kate Winslet in all her glory in Titanic remains an enduring figure.
So yeah- Kate was the first woman I saw naked in James Cameron's Titanic.
I still don't know how that scene wasn't cut in a U/A movie. And I watched it with family without any qualms.
And today I saw James Cameron's Avatar.
I cannot remember when I last sat open mouthed through a movie. The massive hype notwithstanding- Avatar was an experience I not bloody likely to forget in a long time.
It isn't really about the stunning 3D effects alone. Or the predictable romance. It's about how to take all the cliched elements of the movies and present them as if they're totally new. And when Sully's Avatar sits on a dragonoid and soars up in the air making eyes at his to be girlfriend, it really is the stuff of dreams. Face it- a wild, unconventionally sexy nymph of the woods tamed mid air- haven't all guys dreamt of that atleast once?
And oh what a battle it is. The mother of all battles. I couldn't decide which was more stunning- the crazily evolved machines or the brilliant Na-Vi creatures. And here's a secret- I never cry at the movies. But today, when one of the Na-Vi warriors was shot and fell to the ground, with a plaintive cry in the background, that scene is of such aching beauty and power that I did tear up a little.
One of the things one learns while dating a film critic (besides getting beaten up after a post like this) is that they're notoriously obsessed with the 'small movie' genre- you know- the Sophie's Choice or the Piano Teacher (ahem) kind of movies. Which are brilliant no doubt. But when all is said and done- on a big screen, an Avatar dazzles- inspite of a done-to-death story and occasionally clunky dialogue. Because it isn't trying to be profound. It isn't trying to showcase a Meryl Streep. It is making its point in a different way- by being in-your-face and brazen about it. Respect indigenous populations. Respect the environment. The US is the enemy (Gasp). And yeah- commercial cinema can be great cinema too.
That lack of subtlety is oddly refreshing. Not getting bogged down in the withertos and the whyfors. No cynicism. Not reminding us of the innumerable complexities that exist. Allowing us to believe that atleast in the movies, things can be resolved by some good old fashioned valour.
Its only when you come out that you realize that your life is actually in a shitty place.
Because for those two and a half hours, you're transported to a different place. Where as Ciara put it, there's only Love, Sex and Magic. Plus cool machines and beautiful dragons. And the triumph of good over evil. Infact, the very existence of a world where things can be- dare I say- as black and white as Good and Evil.
And that for me, sums up the perfect movie.