The Avatar Movie

Game Writer Thoughts on Cameron’s Avatar Movie

The Avatar movie is all the rage right now, and with good reason. Here are my quick, spoiler-free thoughts.

  • Gorgeous. The Avatar movie is simply gorgeous. It feels real, although it does have a heavy Halo texture to it too. To be fair, Cameron’s already trod this territory very well before in Alien, and much of the hardware here echoes that ouvre as well. But a lot of the alien flora and fauna packs a palette punch rich in neons and hard primaries, which Halo did too. But I’m not complaining, and Halo didn’t have anywhere near the same detail and richness. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, you’ll fall in love with the world too, and soon stop wondering where the scenes were shot, accepting the constructed reality of a world far from our own.
  • Blue is beautiful. Actually, it’s too beautiful. Avatar proposes a new body beautiful, and it’s even more heroin-chic than Kate Moss. Now the ladies have got to be 60% leg, 150 pounds… and ten feet tall. Where are the broad-hipped Earth mother aliens? Not on Planet Pandora, apparently.
  • The Avatar movie has soul, but not much of a conscience. I’m as eco-friendly as the next guy, and I genuinely enjoyed the lush, vibrant world that the Avatar creators laid before me. But I felt like our hero in Avatar didn’t really struggle much with his decisions. Without spoiling any movie twists, let’s just say he’s not necessarily the master battle strategist I’d want leading me into war.
  • The other interesting body proposition is still tripping my mind up. It’s the idea that your mind can continue to serve long after your body has failed. No, not in the fictional world, my friend! The new ageless, genderless, bodiless era of movie-making has arrived. Want Clint Eastwood to play a preteen kickboxer? No problem. Want Angelina Jolie to play a 300-pound 70-year-old man? Sure. Like Sigourney Weaver in the Avatar movie, actors soon will be able to lend their skills and voices to parts irrespective of the actual limitations of body and voice. Sure, there’s still an uncanny valley, but it’s closing fast.

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  1. It’s open to your interpretation, of course. I believe that despite some well-intentioned eco-awareness, which I fully endorse, it’s simply an entertainment vehicle. I suspect when we look back at it in 5 years, we’ll see it purely as a technical milestone.

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