How Do You Review Avatar?
Maybe you tell us why they’re blue.
First the name. Avatar–if you play computer games, you may know this very well–is a character you use inside an unreal world. The word Avatar has its origins in Indian mythology. An Avatar (ava-tara in Sanskrit) is god’s visit to earth to fix something that is broken. Vishnu, one of the three gods who protects creation, by necessity visits earth often. Vishnu, the puranas declare, is dark-blue in color (the original story teller was inspired by blue oceans, blue sky?).
Thank you, Scientific Indian.
Maybe you go pretentious.
The point, though, is that every art is defined by its medium. The reason I’ve referenced Greenberg in the context of Avatar – and please pardon the pretentiousness of the above paragraph – is that I think Cameron has deftly realized the potential of his medium, which is film.
That’s Jonah Lehrer’s take.
Maybe you go anthropological.
The trope is highly derivative of Mary Doria Russell’s “The Sparrow” and “Children of God” which is probably why it all seems so anthropological. In this story, rather than have the natives possess a feature or essence that earthlings just can’t understand, they possess a set of cultural traits that earthlings can totally get, if only they would put down their guns and test tubes and corporate quarterly reports long enough to whatever whatever.
That’s Greg Laden.
Maybe you want to pretend you are trashing the movie, but you like it, but you are making fun of it, but you are pondering larger issues, too, but hey! those alien women are hot!
Speaking of which, one thing I was wondering about was that the aliens, and in particular the lead female character, were hot: lithely sexy, and barely clothed. It had me wondering what kind of rights the lead actress, Zoë Saldaña, has retained to the image. After all, it’s clearly her, despite the distortions of the alien form, and that image is now in a great big digital bucket on some computers somewhere, and could be trundled out and reused in other films. I imagine it would be valuable information to the porn industry, which you just know is itching to get its hands on that technology. There must be some kind of legal protections for digital likenesses being hammered out somewhere, because one thing this movie is going to do is start making that potential problem acute.
I’ve been belittling the movie, but it really wasn’t that awful.
That would be PZ Myers.
Or maybe you want to tell it like it is.
Behold, the ultimate in guilty colonialist fetish fantasy epic porn filmmaking, ever.
That would be Mark Morford’s review, “Please mount my hot blue alien” at SFGate. Please do go read it. It’s fab.