Movie Magic Monday: Avatar

I pretty much resolved to go see Avatar after I read a blog post on The Galaxy Express, an awesome sci-fi romance blog. I’ve always liked James Cameron. Titanic remains one of my favorite movies of all time as it was the first movie that made me bawl uncontrollably. The love story was epic and beautiful and memorable. But I’m also a fan of the other spectrum of his work, his earlier more action packed movies. Come on, you all know exactly what I’m talking about. The Terminator series was fascinating. Watching Sarah Connor fight to save her life and the life of her child, the child who would one day be the salvation of humanity against the evil robots. Awesome. And then, after all that madness in part one, to watch poor Sarah locked up in the crazy house (getting all strong and ripped) face the man who was originally sent to kill her, but is now meant to protect her. Talk about drama. It was brilliant. The backstory was intelligent and exciting and although Arnold Schwarzenegger is not what I’d call a talented actor, he had the robot thing down.

Anyway, I digress. The reason I brought up Heather’s post is because she quoted Cameron’s Entertainment Weekly article (Dec. 18th issue) as saying:

EW: Despite the guns and explosions and robots, your movies usually have an element of romance and a strong female protagonist, like Ripley in Aliens or Sarah Connor in the Terminator movies. Where does that impulse come from?

Cameron: First of all, last time I checked, women were 50 percent of the population. And when you’re making a movie that costs over $200 million, you don’t want to have a target audience. Your target audience is people with a pulse and $15–or even just $15. [Laughs] Secondly, I like women. I like how they think. I like how they see the world. The funny thing is, with Avatar I set out to do a pretty male adventure movie: a stranger in a strange land encountering this other culture. But in the back of my mind, I’m thinking, ‘Well, in my life, the way I’ve learned the most is through relationships.’ I’ve always found that lovers tend to be teachers. So I took that idea and made the story. What we found as we were editing the film was that the emotion was so strong, we just said, ‘F– it, it’s a love story.'”

(pgs. 49-50)

His potty mouth aside, those words thrilled me. I mean, he really GETS it. He knows that what really cuts to the core of a movie, be it a good fantasy or scifi or even contemporary is something that will move the heart. And romance is what does that.

So I saw Avatar in 3D (it wasn’t necessary but it was fun) and I was not disappointed. What a fantastic story. The hero was conflicted and impulsive. The aliens’ culture was well thought out and felt genuine, as though it existed far longer than our knowledge of it.

Their physical world was beyond the imagination- visually breathtaking. The CGI was amazing. There was no doubt in my mind Cameron had really lived and breathed there because I believed every moment I spent among them. The science behind the avatars was interesting and plausible, in so far fictional hybrids are concerned and in the end the entire package just really impressed me. Of course, the love story at the core really held the rest of the movie together and it was the perfect stranger in a new land scenario. Yes, that’s been done before, but Cameron’s vision was so unique it didn’t matter. He brought us on a unique journey, all his own. Score: A

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About Isabelle

Isabelle is a multi-published author who dabbles in 1950s romance, speculative science fiction, and more recently fantasy and YA. A twenty something dreamer who loves chocolate, romance novels, and heart wrenching movies, Isabelle is most comfortable on stage behind a microphone belting out her favorite karaoke tunes, or curled up in bed with a book and a cup of cocoa on a rainy night. View all posts by Isabelle

One response to “Movie Magic Monday: Avatar

  • Lisa

    The culture felt true because it was basically a lot of Native American stuff mixed in with the occasional tribal African rote—I found it kind of amusing/off-putting that Cameron (as a white male) presented a “wholly original” culture by basically sampling cultures that the Caucasian population has oppressed at one time or another… so I wasn’t super impressed by that… but that’s mostly jaded college courses talking through me, so…

    I think I liked this movie because the main actor was so not a hero… he wasn’t even faulted in the ways that you expect… he’s just a regular guy… and the bits where he was able to run and experience a lot of freedom in his avatar body was really hard-hitting for me. But gah, that army general guy… I just hated his existence. He wasn’t even enjoyable to dislike, just blah.

    It was pretty, though. Then again… I don’t know that it had more of a “wow” effect on me than like… Fantasia 2000 or something. Which cost a whole heck of a lot less…. I dunno.

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