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For the Love of Blue People Who Look Like Cats

In the last ten years...

  • The movie, Spider-Man, made all my daydreams about superheroes visually plausible.
  • Batman Begins and Dark Knight made real for me the notion that a man with no superhuman abilities could don a costume and will himself to be a force against crime (if you can get past the fact that his billionaire status completely exposes him to be Batman) and that a crazy person (Heath Ledger's Joker) could easily exist in today's times.

  • Daniel Craig returned to the 007 franchise the brutality, swagger without schtick, and fine tailoring that disappeared from under our noses once Sean Connery departed the role of James Bond.

And now there's Avatar...

Now that the Oscars have run their course and everyone who was supposed to win has, I feel comfortable in speaking out about my love for this movie. Is the story one that we've seen or heard before? Yes. Were the Na'vi a very obvious sampling (or celebration) of all the indigenous and aboriginal Indian peoples of Earth? Yes. Should James Cameron have given credit where credit was due? Where? In the credits? For all who were up in arms about this movie I have one thing to say...Sci-Fi. Other than the Western European ideology of Eminent Domain and the violence it breeds and the classic science might vs. military might clashes, there was very little that was real about this movie --- from the Robotech derived military exo-suits, to the impossibly large gunship, to the blue (translucent at night) people who were described as being ten feet tall but looked closer to fifteen in most of the scenes with humans, to all that beautiful scenery and all those ugly, UGLY animals.

This movie was so unreal that while watching it the first time, it took me nearly a quarter of the movie for my mind to accept what it was seeing. Suspension of disbelief at the movies has never taken me so long. But then there was the love. And the love was real.

I absolutely loved this movie. I loved everything about it. I loved the celebration of simple living. I loved the visually stunning landscapes and airscapes (if there is such a thing). I loved the love story that evolved between Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), even though it was totally obvious from the very beginning. I LOVED watching her fight for her man. I LOVED that she loved him fiercely and with no drama.

Was the dialog complex? No. But I don't know how complex a conversation can be between people who speak different languages, let alone aliens. (Some of my best conversations ever were had in Brazil when I could barely put a sentence together in Portuguese).

For me, Avatar was a movie that allowed me to escape into a life of simplicity I'm not sure I'll ever know and see through the eyes of someone else. Kind of like an Avatar. I recently saw it again after having seen it just two weeks earlier. It was like watching it the first time. It didn't drag for a second and I didn't sit though a single scene haughty because I knew what was going to happen next. It was like seeing it brand new all over again. And amazingly, I want to see it again. Something I never want to do while a movie is still in theaters. I simply can't get enough of it.

For being able to do that writer and director, James Cameron nailed it. Without seeing or reading about it, it was obvious to me that this was the story he had in his heart, the one that had to wait for all his other movies to be made first. There's a story like that inside of me. It's been in my head since 1985. At the end of this blog and all the other projects cooking in my head I hope and pray I get to share it one day.

But despite all this and maybe because of it, Avatar was no Hurt Locker. There is no comparison whatsoever, nor should there be. Why we force creative forces to compete alongside one another will never make sense to me. Nor will making real world arguments against sci-fi/fantasy movies that are about as real as a teenage boy getting bitten by a radioactive spider and instead of dropping dead instantly, he wakes up the next day and transforms himself into the one of the most powerful superheroes ever.

For a great take on all that was Oscar please visit the craziest dad I know, Jason Mayo is Outnumbered for his Oscars Through Interpretive Dance.

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