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Film Reviews

Avatar 3D Review - "More Polished Than Hugh Hefner's Cock"
Dan Curley , December 22nd, 2009 13:04

Turn your brain off. You'll need to if you want to enjoy the jaw vapourising effects, says Dan Curley

It’s been a long time since James Cameron directed a feature film - 12 years, in fact, since he told Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet to shag on a sinking ship. Which makes it all the more astonishing that he’s not only managed to rebuke the sabbatical rust, but has taken special effects to a whole new level of “fuck me!”ishness. In 3D, Avatar is a glistening, ultra-sleek, monolith of cinema achievement that’s more polished than Hugh Heffner’s cock. Filmed using Cameron’s all new spectroscopic technique in which multiple cameras are used to create a 3D field, your eyes will pop out on stalks, pressing them against the inside of the horrifying Roy Orbison specs you're handed in the queue.

For a film that Cameron’s spent years planning out, it’s surprising to see that so little time and effort was pumped into the plot which lacks any intelligent subtext and stinks of 90s PlayStation games.

Set 150 years in the future, mankind pitches camp on an alien planet called Pandora, a steaming, tropical orb-of-death filled with chewing teeth and tribal spears. A private corporation, backed up with mercenary muscle led by colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang), has discovered a mineral called “Unobtainium”, an energy rich rock that will solve all the energy problems back on earth. But there’s one problem - a native tribe of lanky blue humanoids called the Na’vi. They have a spiritual connection with a huge tree which is covering loads of Unobtainium, so, obviously, they jump up and down, roll their sleeves up and put their dukes up when man shows up with grabby intent.

The Avatar program is a scientific hearts and minds mission led by Dr Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver). An avatar is a genetically engineered Na’vi body that humans can possess and control from a distance, so humans can go and meet the natives and talk to them blue-on-blue. It’s an atrocious idea, the sci-fi equivalent of Captain Cook trying to make friends with the Australian Aborigines by sending in minstrels to help diplomatic relations, and it’s even more illogical in that the Na’vi know about the program and consider Avatars to be “demons”.

This doesn’t stop wheelchair-bound Marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) taking the reigns of an Avatar, heading into the jungle, falling in love with the tribal head’s daughter and being accepted into the tribe in which he spends three months learning everything about their culture, all the time feeding information back to the corporation about Unobtainium spots and the Na’vi’s military strengths and weaknesses.

The story is so lame you end up switching your brain off so you no longer have to follow this weird, nonsensical yarn and just sit there ogling the effects. Even towards the end of the near three hours run time you still can’t quite believe just how magnificent the world of Pandora looks as the alien landscape pours out of the screen and onto your lap. The 3D is so realistic it really does feel like you can walk up to the screen and climb into the picture – it’ll make your teeth-shatter and is so far ahead of any other effects-lead film there is literally nothing to compare it to. And when things turn nasty between the mercenaries and the Na’vi and trees falls, helicopters explode and dragons start swooping in and out of the screen, it’s entirely possible you’ll forgive the foamy-mouthed story and just consider the visual experience to be worth the entrance fee alone.

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