|by Chooch on December 19, 2009, 09:20:00 PM
James Cameron's Avatar is perhaps the most beautiful movie ever made. It's also a heaping mound of shit. Spoilers ahoy.
People are bad. Trees are good. If you haven't already seen the most ham-fisted morality tale since the bible, I just saved you $11, 2 hours, and 45 minutes of your life. James Cameron's first theatrical release since he collectively made pre-teen girls wet enough to float the Titanic in 1997 has been called "Aliens meets Star Wars." It is if you count the presence of Sigourney Weaver teaming up with a tough-talking Latina and a planet full of Native American analogues that fight like Ewoks as "close enough".
Surely everyone with an internet connection has been bombarded with trailers for this movie since seemingly the dawn of existence, but in case you live under a rock and someone copied this onto a stone tablet for you, the premise is that in the near future humanity has destroyed all of the "green" on Earth and has to go to distant planets to mine unobtanium. Note that unobtanium is not in quotes. They seriously called it that. Shouldn't they be mining oxygen since no one on Earth has any left? I suppose Cameron felt Spaceballs already had that covered.
So ex-marine Jake Sully (played by Sam Worthington), who lost the use of his legs in an unspecified spinal injury, goes to the planet Pandora (again, no quotes) because it turns out he's the identical twin of a super-smart scientist who had an alien body made that only someone with his genetic match could put his consciousness into. Conveniently, the brother died. Also conveniently, Sam Worthington cannot play a character that is completely human (see Terminator Salvation and upcoming Clash of the Titans). So Jake Sully arrives on the planet only to find that Sigourney Weaver, head scientist on Pandora and the only person that still smokes in the future, doesn't need him. She already has a bunch of people, including herself, that can put their consciousnesses into other "Avatars" and run around with the natives.
But wait! The evil corporation is headed up by a slumming Giovanni Ribisi (who you know is evil because he's the only person that still golfs in the future) likes the idea of having a marine on escort duty with the eggheads. Also, the head mercenary guarding corporate interests, played by Stephen Lang (last seen running into a wall in The Men Who Stare at Goats) likes the idea of a marine getting to the know the weaknesses of the natives from the inside. You see, the natives live in a tree (yes, one big-ass tree) that sits atop the largest deposit of unobtanium "within 200 kilometers." Interstellar travel? No problem. Going more than 200 kilometers to mine unobtanium? Impossible!
At first Jake goes along with this like a good soldier. Then he gets stranded out in the wilderness because of the three Avatars on this science mission, only he, the one with the gun, can't make it back to the future-chopper in the LZ. Even Joel Moore (the guy who has such a dopey look about him that he can be called the dumb one in Dodgeball, which is saying something) makes it back okay. Stranded Jake is rescued by a native girl. We then get two hours of Jake going native. During the longest training montage of all time, we find out that Pandora is a giant biological network and all of the inhabitants have bio-USB ports that let them plug themselves into the plaent and various animals that they can ride around in. So, eventually Jake gets accepted into the tribe and bangs his rescuer (sadly, Cameron missed the opportunity to have them mate by hooking up their USB ports), who happens to be the chief's daughter, fated to mate with the next chief, a dude that instantly hates Jake. But don't worry, they become buddies.
So Jake spends his three months (the time it takes a future bulldozer to go 200 kilometers through an alien jungle, despite that fact that they have lots and lots of flying vehicles) being converted to the aliens' tree-hugging ways and tries to stop the bulldozers with a rock. It doesn't work so well though as the mercs fly over and blow up the tree, routing the aliens. So problem solved, the humans can continue mining and the aliens move somewhere else. Nope, Jake rallies the aliens and all of the other alien clans we didn't know anything about until now by hooking up his USB port to the biggest bird in the sky. Plus, we still have 45 minutes to fill. Jake also ports into the planet to ask for its backup in the coming fight. He'll stick his port into anything apparently. With the troops massing, the mercs decide their only defense from a few thousand guys with bows and arrows is to "strike pre-empitvely against terrorism." Yes, thankfully Cameron is here to reinforce the mistakes made ten years ago by people less than half the country voted for.
So, Jake leads the aliens to a rousing victory and force all of the humans off planet. Who then presumably come back in greater numbers, nuke the planet from orbit, and take the unobtanium anyway. I assume that's what happened after the credits, I didn't stay to find out.
So yeah, feel bad about being a member of an imperialistic country and/or race, whatever your guilt of choice happens to be. James Cameron says so.
Talk about it here!