Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Avatar Review: Part 5 "The Final Wrap-up"

Once again, my apologies for the delay of this last part review of this film. I’ve been busy with class preparation and projects at work and abroad.

Well with all that we have discussed about the Avatar film, we seem to have a more profound understanding about its impact in the entertainment industry and influence on society both locally and worldwide. We also explored the various themes found in film, some more obvious than others, while others did raise some interesting discussions and even a few debates.

We explored themes such as the military aspect of film, and how it closely relates to certain controversial current events. We also discussed about the spiritual and religious themes in Avatar, including the opinions of known religious reviewers, skeptics, and general moviegoers. The comparison of Panentheism and Pantheism in particular brought up some interesting discussions, as well as the freedom of showing all aspects of different religions (since that can become a double edged sword; see commentary section for more details).

Lastly, we also talked about the themes of culture and race found in this film, particularly how Hollywood even to this day still stem to lesser and (often) more obvious themes depicting certain actors of various races in stereotypical roles. This last one did present some very interesting discussions, and comparisons to other movies that show this depiction of races, some reenacting various and somewhat controversial points in our history, (like colonialism, apartheid, the Holocaust, etc). One interesting counterpoint that was mentioned in this one was the fact in certain films that do call for cast of a certain race or ethnicity (usually of visible minorities), would instead use more Anglo-Saxon races for the main characters, possibly for the benefit of the mainstream audience’s sake.

So what have we learned from all of this? That perhaps this film while following many of the usual Hollywood typical methods of regurgitated story depiction and structure, still are able to come up with uniquely different film, with cutting edge CGI technology and half a dozen of themes purposely (or possibly by accident) for those that are keen to see them. Many of the themes alone have causes worldwide appraisal, to critical disapproval, to politically charged implications in the film that have been both positive and negative for the film. Ironically, some of those same political themes that were brought up my critics have been addressed and challenged by James Cameron himself as to being “misplaced”.

In any case, as we wrap up this 5 part critique, we come back to the initial question brought up in the first section, Is this movie considered to be one of the iconic films for its time? Originally I said yes, after this lengthy review, I still say yes, but for slightly different reasons. Aside from the fact that its gross earnings overall are still the highest of all time to this day, could be one reason, yet that shouldn't’t be the only one unless you look at gross income of a film alone to measure its worth (just like certain Hollywood companies). I feel that this film has caught a lot of buzz in conversations, quotations and debate, and not just with the usual sci-fi movie fans either. Considering the total amount of people worldwide that have sent his film in the theatre since its debut is pretty much unprecedented, especially considering at the time of a near global recession. Yes many saw it due to the cutting edge CGI and the 3-D bonus. Many more from word of mouth and others still just from seeing enough trailer highlights of it to see that this was NOT going to be a regular flash-in-the-pan film, plus didn’t hurt to have James Cameron as the director and producer of this film, another reason why many flocked to check it out.

With all that this film has done isn’t the main reason why I think it’s iconic, the fact that even after 7 months since its official release, on a small yet growing movie review blog site, we can have such in-depth discussions on this one film spanning 4 (of many) themes found in it, its to say the least, impressive. Then again it’s not like the only film we have reviewed and discussed here, and it won’t be the last. Still, it goes back to my first entry on this site, in regards to not limiting your POV of films due to what your parents said, your older siblings, your elder relatives, or (dare I say) those you know in church, based on their opinions. And No, I don’t mean be defiant towards them in making your own decisions, but instead, making your own decision for the sake of discovering these things for yourselves, rather that just relying on someone else’s word. It’s no different from looking at certain scriptures in the Bible in your own way, rather than relying on what others interpret from it. In any case let’s not get too sidetracked.

In conclusion, I feel it’s safe to say that Avatar is most certainly a one of a kind film, one that will be one remembered in years to come, in both good and not so good ways. In either case it will me memorable, and with this wrap up I pose this question, What was it about this film (or discussions about this film) that stood out the most, if any?

Oh and one last thing, apparently the deluxe DVD release of this film will be out in late October 2010 and the re-release of the film (with additional footage) in the theatres will be August 27. More details about it here:


  1. Hey M. Wanderer,

    It's been an interesting journey exploring Avatar with you, thanks for being a great guide.

    Sure, a lot of tickets were sold, a lot of money was made. Is Avatar iconic? Important? Game-changing? Time will tell, but I suspect the answer is still no. I personally and frankly do not find any intriguing character arc to compel me to watch this movie even one more time.

    Avatar is, as has been discussed, a story that's been told before - medium may have been different; setting may have been different, but the story remains essentially the same, and the special effects simply do not compensate for the lack of a compelling story.

    As I typed that, I thought "maybe I'm being too harsh." Perhaps the "same story" has been told multiple times because it is indeed compelling. Perhaps, then, I'm rebelling against the special effects and creative differences that, to me, were neither all that special nor creative...?

    At the end of the day, the ambiguity itself suggests that, for me, it was not moving enough to offset the disdain for "more sizzle than steak" - ultimately, like a favourite color or food choice, you either like something or you don't.

    It had us engaged in a fair amount of discussion, and that's all good, but the bottom line for me - not an enjoyable enough film to revisit.

    All this seems like a whole lotta talk from a guy who still laughs at Police Academy, huh? (well, the first one, anyways).


  2. BTW, the gifs are a slick touch, nice!

  3. Yeah, in the end, its just a movie...its just thats its been a while since there was so much hype, and overall talk over one movie. Though its pretty certian most of that was due to the super slick CGI (as you mentioned) that was so ground breaking. That and perahps James Camerons title to the film as well. Still I think my review was pretty interesting.

    Oh and thanks about the gifs...thought I would try something diffrent..:)

  4. I absolutely enjoyed your reviews - plenty more than the movie itself!


What do you think?!