Like many of us relegated to our various secluded enclaves scattered throughout the United States and beyond, I have taken this time to explore hobbies I usually find tedious and boring. Examples include making gnocchi, needlepoint, shaving my legs past my knee, and needle point. I have also taken this time to dive into the world of cinema. Although I usually stick strictly to Barbie Princess Movies, Ratatouille, and Tik Toks on repeat, I thought that this extended period of rest would be a great time to expand my horizons.
My family has an absurd amount of streaming platforms, so many that I usually get overwhelmed trying to pick anything and pass out into a long night’s slumber from the stress. Preparing for such an event and perusing through the new Disney Plus Platform (DPP for short), I came across a film that caught my eye. A blue creature stared at me with a piercing green eye from the poster, with the title Avatar. This 2009 film directed by James Cameron was one I was unfamiliar with (this is satire), but it looked intriguing. Being a fan of science fiction myself, I thought I should explore.
Settling back comfortably in my family den, which I have overtaken since being home by posting “KEEP OUT DANGER” signs on every entrance and burning 17 different Yankee candles to ward off other family members and their awful scents, I thought this seemingly low-grade and low production movie would be a good and simple transition into the world of film.
My first surprise and question for the film came early on: For such a low budget movie, how did they obtain so many famous actors? Sigourney Weaver, who I know from voicing the aquarium in “Finding Dory” with Ellen Degeneres, was a main character, as well as Zoe Saldana who plays Gamora in the Marvel series Guardians of the Galaxy and other such film adventures. “Wow,” I whispered to myself, “I wonder how they got so many famous actors. It doesn’t seem like this film is a very big deal.”
Presssing on, what most surprised me about this film was the use of CGI. For those unfamiliar with this term, CGI stands for “Computer Generated Image,” and boy was this film full of them. In 2009, this must have been revolutionary technology, and I can’t believe it did not receive more attention for its visual effects. Creating a whole new world was a feat unto itself, and naming it “Pandora,” wow what a reference. Since I studied mythology in the 5th grade and read Percy Jackson, I know everything about Greek mythology and immediately made the connection between the name of this world and the Olympian world. “You’re a film critic already,” I hummed to myself. The story itself portrays human invasion into this unknown, natural, and pure world, which they eventually destroy for monetary purposes. For the green efforts of our world, it makes a comment on human destruction, which, had this movie been more highbrow, would have likely touched thousands of hearts and minds.
By the end, I was enraptured. I thought to myself, “Why did this not get more attention when it came out?” The visual effects are stunning, and the emotional connection I felt to the characters was astounding. My one critique would be that the Avatars seemed too tall — tall things are scary sometimes, but that’s just a personal opinion.
In essence, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and would highly recommend it to my friends and family, or even people who aren’t my friends. I only feel bad that I could not write this amazing review sooner, so Avatar could get the recognition it deserves. This one’s for you, Avatar.