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Pandora's box



James Cameron's sci-fi epic Avatar premiered on 16 December to much acclaim. The film, which has been 12 years in the making, cost a reported $300 million and boasts unprecedented CG effects. Not unreasonably, then, it was one of the most anticipated releases of the year.

Sadly, the movie's something of a letdown for everyone but CG aficionados. While the performances are believable, the plot is hackneyed and, at points, mawkish. Cameron also directed the tearjerker Titanic so Avatar's melodrama comes as no surprise.?

But first, here's a quick synopsis: it's the year 2154, and a team of marines and scientists from resource-starved Earth venture out to Pandora, a distant planet, which holds vast deposits of an energy-rich mineral called Unobtanium. However, the deposits are within territory inhabited by the Na'vi, an indigenous race of 9-10 feet tall, blue, cat-like bipeds. So the team first plans a diplomatic tack: using a machine to zap human minds into alien bodies, or avatars (hence the title), which they hope can win the trust of the Na'vi and convince them to move elsewhere.?

The effort on the ground is spearheaded by a paraplegic marine named Jake (Sam Worthington), who transports in and out of the Na'vi world, relaying valuable information about the locations of the deposits and viability of a military strike. On an early reconnaissance mission, Jake meets and eventually falls in love with Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), a young Na'vi leader who initiates him into their lifestyle.

Meanwhile, rifts appear within the human ranks, as the belligerent marines attempt to abort the diplomacy, led by the team of scientists, in favour of a military approach. The scientists and Jake, won over by the Na'vi's charms, jump to their defense and a full-blown war erupts. When the dust settles, Jake must answer for himself a question that tugs at the plot all along: is it better to be Na'vi or human?

The CG graphics and the thumping background score are indisputable winners. Cameron reportedly had to create new cameras to shoot the movie, and the results are spectacular. The Na'vi religion, also Cameron's brainchild, is internally coherent, not the usual New Age mish-mash of fantasy movies about alien cultures. Indeed, the movie can't help but remind one of an utterly worldly problem: the sufferings indigenous groups have had to endure at the hands of colonisers.

However, we've seen this plot too many times before, most recently in District 9. Besides, the romantic subplot develops far too quickly and is scarcely believable. The two protagonists are different species, after all. But weak plot or no, Avatar is definitely worth your time. The 3-D version of the movie is due to be released in Kathmandu soon.

Suvayu Dev Pant



1. sheritraes
how come Nepalitimes publishes a review of a film which is yet to be released it Nepal? Avatar is a must watch for all cine-lovers, once in a lifetime cinematic experience...highly recommended in 3-d ( imax even better)

2. deep
Notwithstanding the critics in the above review, the movie is spectacular. I watched it in an IMAX-3D and it was simply breathtaking. The unusually long (by the Hollywood standard) duration of 2:30 hour goes in a blink. As it is a sci-fi there are many "imagination" that are in created. The question is not how realistic it is, it is merely how engrossing it can be. A need to watch Hollywood blockbuster, my suggestion is wait a while if 3D version is coming soon. The 3D version of Avatar is the one you should watch.

3. GyaRel
You told the whole story without keeping anything in mystry: "what next" for the movie lovers. Thanks god, I saw movie before this outline of the movie was released in this weekly. As the reviewer leaves no space for surprises for the first time viewer. I don't think a real reviewer would have revealed everything. You can not be a reviewer, you have disobeyed the ethics and moral of real movie reivewers. Shame on you. GyaRel

4. pwelad
and the amrikan right wing is already denouncing it for showing liberal agenda.

5. sisir
Suvayu ji! the film didnt cost $500 million dollar at all. it didn't even cost half of that one. (a serious blunder, and a stupid mistake) I do not know whether it was misinformation or misinterpretation but please correct that mistake. It cost approximately not more that $237 million dollar making it most expensive movie ever breaking the record of titanic which cost approximately $200 million dollar.

6. AtiJanneSunne
Even if I refrain from being too harsh on the reviewer, I must say that you have taken way to much liberty in generalizing and drawing conclusions about the movie. More importantly, this critical review is full of incoherent arguments, seems forceful and is not very convincing. Few things here,"

7. halfnelson
@sheritraes this movie was released in nepal on 18 december, the same say it was released worldwide. quest entertainment is bringing the 3d version. and yes, there should be a 'spoiler alert' somewhere along the third para. its a summary more than a review.

8. ARSENAL
"Sadly, the movie's something of a letdown for everyone but CG aficionados. " I dont read reviews often and definitely I hadn't read one at Nepali TImes... As I watched the movie few days ago, I have to tell you people that it is a lovely movie, it is an ART... And sadly, this review/ critic is one of the worst pieces that I've read at Nepali Times... Mr Suvayu Dev Pant, can you tell us what your best movie is?

9. Rasi
"Sadly, the movie's something of a letdown for everyone but CG aficionados. " What movie were you watching Suvayu?? Avatar is a brilliant movie. I watched it in imax 3D and well the graphics is awesome, but after some time I forgot about the 3D effect.. that's how captivating the movie itself is. In the end I ended up falling in love with Neytiri..

10. Sushil
Interesting review.. says a let-down, but gives no reason. Goes on praising about the movie in 6 paragraphs, and then says one line --oh, the plot is like District 9. Did the reviewer even understand these two movies? The only let-down is the reviewer's review. I would recommend that the reviewer go back and see the movie again. This time no cliche please.

11. jeypayetai
Suvayu is entitled to his opinion. Just because it differs from your view does not make him wrong.

12. isudbsleepin
I THINK THE REVIEWER IS SPOT ON WHEN CRITICIZING AS WELL AS ACCOLADING THE VARIOUS ASPECTS OF 'AVATAR'. THE PLOT IS DOWNRIGHT TRITE AND THE AUSTRALIAN ACCENT OF THAT ACTOR, WHO IS SUPPOSED TO SOUND LIKE AN AMERICAN, RUINED THE FILM FOR ME. IF ONLY HEATH LEDGER WAS ALIVE! YOU IGNORANT FOLKS WHO ENJOY WATCHING CRAPPY BOLLYWOOD FILMS ARE BOUND TO BE SPELL-BOUND BY MEDIOCRE 'AVATAR'

LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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