Jake Sully: All I ever wanted was a single thing worth fighting for.
Review by Elliott
Avatar, not to be confused with Avatar: The Last Air Bender(The best animated series ever made), is one of if not my favorite movie of 2009. That’s saying a lot consider there were a bunch of great movies that year, like; Up, Sherlock Holmes, and Zombieland just to name a few. Apparently I wasn’t the only one that liked it, because it ended up grossing 2.8 billion worldwide, which dwarfed its whopping $280 Million production budget. However, the amount of money a movie makes certainly doesn’t correlate with how good it actually is. For the many that loved it, there was a comparable number who didn’t and were very vocal about it. Despite its polarizing effect, everyone recognized that it was one of the most breathtaking films ever made, which resulted in it winning 3 Oscars. Regardless of whether or not you liked it, I think it has a number of good messages, which is why I decided to review it.
- Sam Worthington as Jake Sully
- Zoe Saldana as Neytiri
- Sigourney Weaver as Dr. Grace Augustine
- Stephen Lang as Colonel Miles Quaritch
- Michelle Rodriguez as Trudy Chacón
- The Na’vi language was created entirely from scratch by linguist Dr. Paul R. Frommer.James Cameron hired him to construct a language that the actors could pronounce easily, but did not resemble any single human language. Frommer created about 1000 words.
- Each frame (1/24 of a second) of the CGI scenes took an average of 47 hours to render.
- The cigarette that Sigourney Weaver‘s character ‘smokes’ is computer generated.
- The book Grace picks up in the abandoned school is called ‘The Lorax’ by Dr. Seuss. Like the plot of the film the book is about a mystical forest full of beautiful trees and mystical creatures that are destroyed by man’s lust for ever growing industry.
- The movie is 40% live action and 60% photo-realistic CGI. A lot of motion capture technology was used for the CGI scenes.
- The word “na’vi” in Hebrew means prophet. A na’vi is a visionary or someone who communicates directly with God. Its plural, nevi’im, also refers to the prophetic books of the bible, which include “Daniel,” “Micah,” and “Isaiah.”
- Ey’wa, the deity of the Na’vi people, is a mixed-up pronunciation of “Yahweh”, the God of the Hebrews. It also means “yes” in Arabic.
When his brother is killed in a robbery, paraplegic Marine Jake Sully decides to take his place in a mission on the distant world of Pandora. There he learns of greedy corporate figurehead Parker Selfridge’s intentions of driving off the native humanoid “Na’vi” in order to mine for the precious material scattered throughout their rich woodland. In exchange for the spinal surgery that will fix his legs, Jake gathers intel for the cooperating military unit spearheaded by gung-ho Colonel Quaritch, while simultaneously attempting to infiltrate the Na’vi people with the use of an “avatar” identity. While Jake begins to bond with the native tribe and quickly falls in love with the beautiful alien Neytiri, the restless Colonel moves forward with his ruthless extermination tactics, forcing the soldier to take a stand and fight back in an epic battle for the fate of Pandora.
– Written by The Massie Twins (IMDB)
A lot of the application I see in the movie comes from when Neytiri is teaching Jake about the world of Pandora. She tells him that all energy is borrowed and that one day it must be given back. This world is just the same, we are born with nothing and we die with nothing. Everything that we have during our life is the Lords and we are just stewards of it.
Leviticus 25:23 — “The land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants.”
Matt. 25:21 – His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[e] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much.
From the beginning God made this world for our use, however that doesn’t mean we should be negligent or destructive. The very first task God gives man is to take care of the Garden.
Genesis 2:15 – The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
Throughout Neytiri’s teaching, the big things I noticed were respect for all living things and thankfulness for the sacrifice of others. Lastly we see when all hope is lost the people of Pandora retreat to a holy place and pray to there God (Ey’wa) for deliverance. During the final battle, it’s not the Na’vi that defeat there enemy; it’s Ey’wa. In times of trial, we need to seek God as He is our deliverer, we must put our trust and faith in Him.
Lot’s of movies try to be epic, but more often than not they fail . In order for a movie to succeed at this they have to bring their world to life and give it depth. They have to make you feel like this world exists somewhere. Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings do this amazingly, as does Avatar. In the movie we see many different locations, the variety of wildlife, how the people live and what they believe. If they hadn’t done as good a job of making this feel epic I wouldn’t have liked it as much as I do. Some people complain about movies being to long, but I think that often times goes hand in hand with getting that epic feel.
This is quite possibly the most beautiful movie you’ll ever see, at least until the second one comes out in 2017. I’ve been playing video games for around 25 years and during that time it has been exciting to see how much further they could push computer graphics. This movie pushed CG to the max, even 6 years later it looks great and in my opinion it was the first movie to make 3D worth seeing. I love the bright colors, the massively epic landscapes, and the crazy plant and animal life. It is all incredibly creative and beautiful and well deserving of all the praise it has received.
One potential negative is that the story is not original. James Cameron has admitted to pulling ideas from Dances with Wolves, At Play in the Fields of the Lord, Pocahontas, FernGully: The Last Rainforest and The Last Samurai, which is pretty apparent if you’ve seen any of them. For those who love original stories, this could be a big negative, but for me, I can ignore plot if they do everything else right. As I’ve read other reviews about the movie, many have accused James Cameron of plagiarizing those films, but they have it all wrong. As the famous saying goes “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” (Charles Caleb Colton).
The other day I was listening to The Reel World Theology podcast review Jupiter Ascending. During that review one of the host made the point about how we have this expectation that movies should be realistic and serious and that sometime we forget that it is alright for a movie to just be fun. Why do we expect everything to make complete sense, to be logical? When we made up stories as kids, they rarely made sense, all sorts of things could and did happen and it was lots of fun. Consider the LEGO movie, it was ridiculous and crazy, but it was a lot of fun and reminded me of my childhood. Why do I say all this? Because this isn’t a movie you should expect to be logical or serious and don’t expect it to all make sense. To make a food analogy, this isn’t a sophisticated Italian meal, it’s a giant bowl of Ice cream covered in hot fudge, sprinkles, and blue gummy bears. A movie isn’t just about plot, it’s a combination of plot, visuals, music, acting, and most importantly in this case just having a lot of fun.