Avatar in Havana?

February 14, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments


The Chinese government prohibited the exhibition of the latest film by James Cameron, for they fear that the allegories of the Avatar may stimulate the revolt of millions of people against the successors of Mao Tse Tung.  The Havana mandarins did not see similar ghosts in the spectacular narration from the creator of Terminator and Titanic; we already enjoyed it on television and dozens of digital copies circulate throughout the country from hand to hand.

And that is how I just saw it, without 3D glasses like New York or Beijing- thanks to a pirated copy that circulates on a CD.  My first impression was fascination.  The second was more quiet.  Here goes my review.

It is a sci-fi thriller, a super-production with spectacular special effects, about encounters between humans and aliens from the planet Pandora, where a group of scientists are investigating the natives, while the military aboard the expedition are occupying the territory after the results.  One doctor (Grace), a mutilated sergeant (Jack), and a colonel are the foreign protagonists.  The daughter of the tribal chief and her relatives complete the rest of the plot.  Its development depends on a virtual passage by means of a team that produces the avatar — a living being that is made to act by another and interacts with the natives.

Avatar is a visual story that is entertaining and pleasant, with beautiful scenery and pyrotechnical editing that revive certain myths of the past and certain anxieties of present time, like the issue of the environment, energy sources, and space exploration.  The terrestrial machinery that works against the tribe from Na’vi, blue and athletic beings who live in harmony with nature, evokes the “Noble Savage” of JJ. Rousseau and resurfaces the notion of “our fault” of human advancement that destroyed prior civilizations.

But the script of James Cameron, friend of ambiguity, accomplishes a conciliatory solution.  The love between the avatar and the young Na’vi girl changes his mission, which then takes sides with the tribe and confronts the troops that are attempting to take over the allusive blue planet.  In the last moment of the film, the young Jack wins over the trust of Toruk (God of the Sky) and unites other clans of Pandora that eventually help achieve liberation.

Despite some rehashing of old themes, the movie is full of creativity and generates controversies of political, religious, and social interest.  The usage of special High Definition cameras, capable of various filming techniques in unison, lends to a sensation of profound images and of spectacular actions, generating more than 50% of the $237,000,000 it cost, which was recuperated during the first days of exhibition throughout theaters in the US.

It’s worth watching and enjoying Avatar — another gift from the North American film industry.  We don’t know if it will ever reach the dark theaters of our island, but the new project by James Cameron is already going around in videos and computers.  A little bit of art does a lot of good in this insular Pandora.

Translated by Raul G.

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