Life as I know it… plus commentary

Avatar vs Invictus

with 7 comments

Been a long while since I’ve been to the movies and in the last few days I’ve seen two.

Normally I’m pretty skeptical when people rave on and on about movies… rarely does one ever match up to the level of expectation that people set.  For me, Avatar delivers, and in a big way.

I like movies a lot, good ones any way, and the good ones stick with me.  It’s no surprise then when one movie evokes scenes and stories from another to me.  The plot of Avatar is a simple one (you can’t get all this from the trailers.. no spoilers here)… A man is called in to run an avatar, a physical body that looks like the people they’re trying to infiltrate.  They have something the humans want and the humans want them to move. Ah, but complications arise.  The plot reminded me a lot of Dances With Wolves.  The outsider joins the tribe, grows a respect and love for their ways and ultimately takes their side against threats.

Visually there were many scenes that evoked memories from Lord of the Rings… the thunder of horses riding through the forest, the ride to outlying clans to raise support, and the Boromir’s demise find echos in Avatar.

The real star of the movie is the CGI.  To me it seemed seamless, the shots between what was physical and what was computer generated.  Only once, when a character jumps from a low spot to a high spot, did gravity seem wrong.  Everything else… the way the characters moved, jumped, ran, flew seemed very naturalistic.  The Na’vi world seemed very much a real and intriguing place.

Watching the movie, I could tell Cameron had done his homework.  He didn’t just write a story.  Before the story was written, the social customs of the Na’vi were fleshed out.  The hierarchies, the history, the religion.. all feel well thought out and cohesive.

I highly recommend this movie and will surely pick up the BluRay version when it comes out.  Oh.. and watch for Cameron’s ideas on ecology, pan theism, corporate morals and the Bush doctrine.

I also saw Invictus, the movie on Nelson Mandela’s attempt to unite his country through love of sport.   I decided that watching Invictus was like eating at Twin Palms Restaurant.  You leave thinking you’ve just had a great meal.  Then, as time passes,  you think of it some more and realize you’ve just had shrimp and risotto and a couple bites of dessert.  Invictus is the same way.

Morgan Freeman does a great Mandela but Matt Damon’s Pinaar seems under utilized.  Clint Eastwood, of course, does a great job of actually telling the story.  I think he could make a description of how they make bread interesting, but I wish he had done more with Francois Pinaar.  He’d already taken some liberties with actual history…  a little injection of actual inspirational leadership might have been a welcome addition.  Pinaar seems less the transformative leader and he does the transformed one.

My take… if you like Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon or “Remember the Titans” you’ll like this movie. Otherwise, wait til it’s on Netflix.


Written by arnold

December 31, 2009 at 1:01 pm

Posted in Movie Reviews

7 Responses

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  1. Hmmm. Duly noted.


    January 2, 2010 at 12:53 am

  2. Hi,

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    7tavern admin

    January 2, 2010 at 1:02 pm

  3. Hey, I’ve browsed through your reviews too, and I’ve often thought you have an “original and interesting” take on things. I just don’t have anything bogus to try to hook you into. 😛

    Peggy C

    January 2, 2010 at 3:11 pm

  4. LOL!! My thoughts exactly! 😉


    January 3, 2010 at 1:11 am

  5. The plot of Avatar ‘reminded’ you of Dances With Wolves? C’mon, Arnold, let’s be honest – it was a complete re-do of Dances with Wolves! Not just the main plot (man from a more technologically advanced society ends up joining sides with the less technological society) but also even in the details. Both groups that the protagonist joined called themselves “the people”. Both groups were portrayed as worshipping nature and respecting the animals they killed for food. In both cases, a member of the tribe is, at first, very hesitant to trust the protagonist but ends up being a friend. I’m just surprised that Jake’s last name was Sully and not Dunbar….

    After all, if I told you that a movie described a tribe of people who rode bareback, shot arrows from bows, made whooping sounds when excited, worshipped nature, painted their faces and were less technologically advanced than their adversaries, would you immediately think “Science Fiction” or “John Wayne movie”?

    – Kramer


    January 4, 2010 at 6:16 pm

  6. Jeff…

    1. How nice to hear from you again.

    2. We’re both wrong apparently:

    the arnold

    January 4, 2010 at 7:51 pm

  7. of course avatar .
    invictus is nothing beside avatar


    May 25, 2011 at 8:34 am

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