Think Of The Homeless

There are over 30 million Americans who live on the streets of our nation. Can you consider giving something to a shelter near you? Your fellow human beings need socks because they walk everywhere. Food and shelter are great too, if they will take them. So please give.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Avatar


(or Captain Kirk falls in love with Mirimani)

Jake Sully : Sam Worthington
Neytiri : Zoe Saldana
Grace : Sigourney Weaver
Col. Miles Quaritch : Stephen Lang
Trudy Chacon : Michelle Rodriguez
Parker Selfridge : Giovanni Ribisi
Norm Spellman : Joel David Moore
Moat : CCH Pounder
Eytukan : Wes Studi
Tsu’tey : Laz Alonso
Dr. Max Patel : Dileep Rao
Corporal Lyle Wainfleet : Matt Gerald

20th Century Fox presents film written and directed by James Cameron. Running time: 163 minutes. MPAA rating: PG-13 (for intense epic battle sequences and warfare, sensuality, language and some smoking).

What are the inner workings of man such that we long for peace with our own natural surroundings? Watching this movie I was, myself, reminded of that natural pull back to a place where we as a people are more in tune with nature instead of having to sacrifice it in order to maintain progress. While the native planet of Pandora is no Garden of Eden, you can almost feel angelic breezes as they drift through the trees. What a peaceful place this would be to live. No credit card bills. No unemployment. Just like the Native American Indian, you live in sync with the “buffalo” who willingly give their lives for your sustenance, knowing full well they will return again to fulfill their destiny.

Anyone who wants to get a real feeling for the position of the native American Indian need only rent the cable series by Steven Spielberg called “In to the West”. The local natives on the far off planet of Pandora are huge blue skinned ectomorphs who live in much the same fashion in their native land. The land “knows” them and they know the land as well. They can leap from giant leaf to giant leaf without a thought of a lack of health insurance. They can “connect” by means of cords in their hair to giant flying lizards who soar in the skies like old west wild mustangs on the open plains.

It’s a very attractive idea, this being able to move about at will within your environment. Of course, it can also be rather perilous with all the quasi rhinos and panthers who are bigger than two story houses. They all seem very familiar in their attitudes also. Despite the Eden like surroundings, Pandora is no place to take the food chain lightly. One can end up as lunch quite easily, so I suppose the Lion and the Lamb aren’t quite ready to lie down together here either. The effects that bring all this to life are the best so far BAR NONE. I had become tired of the bad CGI that tried to create ordinary animals, such as wolves which looked exactly like computer generated wolves. To experience Avatar’s techno is well worth the price of a ticket. It’s plot, however, is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

It’s the year 2154, and a mission by U. S. Armed Forces to the earth-sized moon, called Pandora, in orbit around a massive star, must find a way to extract a valuable resource metal from beneath a huge tree which houses a large number of the planets inhabitants. Watching Avatar, I had to wonder if William Shatner recognized parts of the plot line when he viewed the movie, if he did. I am sure he did.

Officer Jake Sully is a U.S. Marine who must take his brother’s place in a diplomatic experiment to infiltrate the locals, called Na’vi, whose “tree of life” sits over rich deposits of much needed metal that the military is there to take back with them one way or another. In one sequence, Jake avatar tells the Na’vi people that the “aliens”, that’s you and me, killed their mother, there is no more green where they come from. Okay, that’s a bit hard to believe for anyone who knows how the ecosystem works. For one thing, the Earth itself would never allow it, and as we sit in theaters watching this obvious political statement, the Earth is already fighting back. But I don’t want to anthropomorphize the planet. Just think about how much oxygen the green on earth produces to support the planet. Do you think any man made thing in existence could create this much oxygen on a regular basis? No oxygen, no military flying to far off planets.

But I digress.

Among the absolutely breathtaking scenery of the contrived planet Pandora takes place a love story. You and I have seen this love story. I specifically remember it from an old episode of Star Trek involving the American Indian types of a far off planet. I mention William Shatner for this reason, since he and Scully are practically in the same boat with only a few plot deviations. Once beyond those deviations the movie becomes “A Man Called Horse”.

But, you know what, a story is a story, and this one was not too bad. I especially liked the signalling between the leads which was magnified by the CGI effects. Zoe Saldana plays Neytiri, the yellow eyed heroine, daughter of the tribe chief, who is everything you want in a modern woman who can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan. She is the only one with the huge yellow eyes in the angular head, on purpose of course, since she will be signalling psychological attractiveness to all the males in the audience. Every other Na’vi seems to be reasonably proportioned with eyes. And just so you don’t lose your place, they all have thick lips like natives of another country except for the Avatar that is created from a tube for the hero Jake Sully. His thin lips are a dead giveaway.

They all fly around the planet like you wish you could have when you were a kid, providing everything you need to graze like cattle while battling giant beasts, never having to come in and have dinner because it’s getting too dark outside and you haven’t done your homework yet. Unfortunately, all this living by the seat of your pants with no progression is exactly the kind of thing that made the native Americans Indians sitting ducks for the higher advanced Europeans who took their land away. Without a concentration on furthering one’s education, you just float. Whether you are an individual or an entire nation of Polynesians living in the south sea pacific islands.

Advancement in education and a minimizing of concentration on the visceral qualities of our lives is what moves societies forward, unfortunately those societies become too big and move in to other areas, taking the land of those who do not progress. It’s just the way it happens. And conversely also, as advanced societies crumble, a major faction of the society heads toward a concentration of the visceral, even wanting government help to maintain something that could well be a cancer to their own existence. For without the practical, and the industrial, the arts and the visceral cannot survive. A colony of artists would starve to death without the surrounding industrial complex. Of course, competition plays a major role in this too.

But understand, if indeed the Earth people are as advanced as the military in Avatar and the Earth is indeed in DEEP dire straights, they will be back. This time though, there will be NO dialog. There will be no diplomatic attempts to work out a deal. They will simply hang in the air with their weapons of destruction helicopters from a mile away and bomb the natives out of existence. Try and shoot an arrow from a mile away this time, blue boy!

I also have to say that giving the military a short shrift in the movies is becoming a cliche’. Really, if the military doesn’t do it’s job, you and I are goose-stepping in kimonos today. Just watching the expressions of the actors who are the soldiers, I had to wonder if anyone walked off of the set refusing to smile and nod as they were instructed to destroy thousands of years of racial memory in the inhabitants. You think the military is really like this? Those are people too, and it would be more of an inner organizational struggle than one lone rouge chopper pilot who defects. (Believe me, in real life, the next move is invasion not just mineral extraction.)

Anyhow, I think Avatar is indeed a must see for the big screen, small DVD TV screens just won’t take you to Pandora the way an IMAX will, and since you WILL enjoy the time well spent during all of the events, even those that seem to be repeated a second time only on a grander scale, it’s by no means a loss to you as many movies are these days. I say that because there is more than enough story to go all the way to the end, instead of just quitting on the narration 3/4 ths of the way through and giving you action scenes for 45 minuets, like say, Transformers did.

Go See it! 4.5 out of 5

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