Racism, Rape, Suicide.
3 of the funniest words in the English language – but why did Avatar make me think of these things? And why is it that, in a film in which (people tell me) the environmental message about why we should care for nature is the over-riding feature, were these 3 points the only ones that really stayed with me? Maybe they were the over-reaching features (Land Law joke. Don’t worry, it’s shit even if you do get it...), but I still want to know why they were so obvious to me, when no one else seems to have spotted them. Or, at least, not obsessed over them as the key points in the film as I have. Am I a sociopath? Probably. Is that the reason I noticed these things? Possibly. Have I set the record for the most questions in a single paragraph on this Blog? I’m not sure. What I can tell you is this: as a study of how the mind of a maniac works, this entry should be good reading. As a movie review... well...
The first thing I want to look at is the rape sequence, because this was so obvious to me on the screen that I can’t believe no-one else has brought it up! And before anyone says that I’m probably just reading way too much into the movie, and that this wasn’t some hidden subtext in there, I would like to point out that I watched “Get Carter” from start to finish without even realizing Carter’s “niece” is actually his daughter – so yeah, nowhere near being a film buff. This is why I was surprised that no-one else seems to have noticed or mentioned this scene, except the one guy who clicked “like” on my Facebook status relating to it.
Though to be fair, he could just as easily be liking that status because he’s a fan of Vin Diesel or getting graphically murdered with crowbars… First one’s more likely.
The scene I am referring to, of course, is the scene in which Sully tries to catch a dragon monster to fly on, and has to attach his weird hair extension thingy to the dragon, against it’s will. Now, whilst the smart-asses amongst you will point out that, under Section 1 of the Sexual offences Act 2003:
A person (A) commits [rape] if:
(a) he intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person (B) with his penis,
(b) B does not consent to the penetration, and
(c) A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
...and therefore Sully is not raping the dragon because he is not using his penis, I would like to point out that the weird thing on Sully’s head is used in reproduction (when he’s boning that Alien chick – more on that later), and if I had something that looks like that forcibly shoved in my arse, I would shout rape without concerning myself with semantics. Even if it isn’t rape, that certainly appears to be a serious sexual assault – and there is clearly no consent on the dragon’s part. What’s more – there is no way that Sully reasonably believes the dragon is consenting. The dragon quite clearly tries to fight Sully off, and even fly away, but he forces himself on the dragon, and shoves his thing in it’s receiving port. That’s “rape-rape”, even by Whoopie Goldberg’s standards! Or maybe not, given she doesn’t think anally penetrating 13 year olds without their consent is “rape-rape” (But bitching about the Polanski case is Sooooo last season!). I mean, the only way I could understand it is if the dragon had been dressed like a slut, and was sleeping with every dude at that party, and Sully had been kind of drunk at the time, and his mate Dan told him that she got off from pretending guys were raping her and would enjoy it. THEN I could understand it... Wait, scratch that. Don’t know where that came from...
Just kidding, people! This was actually from when I got arrested for not being able to do a basic Photoshop, and using Paint instead!
But as it stands, there is no way Sully thought that dragon was consenting. That makes it Dragon rape. Not cool, Sully. Regular rape will get you a beating in prison; child molesters get cut up, or even have their balls cut off. Imagine where a dragon raper lies on that scale! And yes, I know it’s “rapist”. And yes, I know I started the last 2 sentences with a preposition, but Fuck you - Grammar and Vocab ain't important, Bruv! After all, even Dappy got an A* in English...
The next point I wanted to discuss is the bestiality featured in the film that isn’t man-on-dragon action. In the story, Sully goes to this alien world, and takes control of a body that looks like one of the aliens, and then proceeds to bone Neytiri, one of the aliens, right?
At what point does that become weird?
I mean, I get she’s a humanoid, but she’s still 9 feet tall and Blue with cat eyes. Even a monkey’s closer to a human than the Na’vi are, and you wouldn’t have sex with a monkey, would you?
It then occurred to me that, a couple of hundred years ago when the British had invaded and colonised most of Africa, we probably thought the exact same thing about black women. In fact, I’ve heard the term “monkey” used as a racist insult against black people, and this presumably arose because the first white people to see black people actually thought they were a type of monkey (But what’s funnier is trying to figure out what was going through the head of the first black guy to see a white man. He’d be like “Oh, shit! What the fuck is that? It looks like a person, but it’s got weird skin and blue eyes! Blue eyes! Is it diseased? I should go find a doctor... not even animals have Blue eyes. FREEEEAAAAKKKYYYYYY!!!!!!”). So, by saying that humans shouldn’t breed with creatures from another planet that look kind of like us but with different colour skin, am I also saying that white people and black people shouldn’t mix? Of course not. But then, why shouldn’t Sully totally bone that Na’vi chick? I mean, why don’t we have sex with monkeys? Why am I not dating a chimp right now?
Damn chimps, always stealing our white Tigers!
I suspect the reason is that we can’t understand them, and they don’t have the same level of intelligence as us. So, doing a smart alien chick that can speak English should be completely fine, right? I mean, if Chimps were as smart as humans, and could speak English, is there any reason we wouldn’t be having sex with them right now?
Well yeah, there is that - we just find human females a lot hotter. Now. But think about it – a hundred years ago, Kelis would have been considered unattractive:
Actually, I just wanted an excuse to post a link to that song. I would have put it in even if the ugliest woman in the world was singing it...
But the intelligence thing also bugs me – because it’s kind of saying “people with special needs should not be loved by humans”. So maybe my theory needs a little more work? Just like how in the Scarface game Tony says “You fucked a 16 year-old crippled bitch? Hey man, I don’t need that shit in my life!” and I thought “well, he didn’t say raped, he just said fucked. What’s wrong with having consensual sex with a 16 year old girl who happens to be handicapped?”. But whatever...
The final thing that Avatar made me think about was suicide. Not because it was so bad that I wanted to kill myself – but because I realised that if I had a body I was in full control of, and felt everything that body did, but knew I would just wake up in my own body if that body died, I totally would have jumped off that massive floating mountain just to experience what falling to certain death would feel like. I’d even put an iPod on my avatar, and listen to Tom Petty’s “Free Falling” as I did (the only way to fall to your death, in my opinion). But maybe that’s just me? That’s something I liked about Groundhog day – if you realised you couldn’t die, you would just do all sorts of things that should kill you. You know, for teh lulz of it.
But insanity out the way – I want to wrap this up with some proper review-type stuff.
Story: has been done a thousand times before, but then again so have most stories. And hell, Chaucer plagiarised most of his Canterbury Tales from other sources, and Shakespeare stole half of what he wrote, so not really a problem there. Sure, it’s exactly the same as The Last Samurai, which was exactly the same as Pocahontas, which was exactly the same as Dances with Wolves, but whatever. It’s cool – as long as people don’t go own about how original and unique it is, I don’t care.
Production Value: The animation I thought was really well done – better than the trailers would have had me believe, and it felt more like watching a live action film than watching an animation for the most part (I watched it in 2D). There were a couple of dodgy bits, but nothing too major. Generally, it was really well done.
Acting: Fairly standard here. I’ve heard a lot of people complain that the Colonel was really over-acting (“chewing the scenery”), but to be honest, Army and Marine Colonels often are that crazy – and the dude fit the role perfectly. It’s amazing how much emotion the Avatars had, too – but that should probably be in the above paragraph.
Quirks: Why was Michelle Rodriguez playing Linda Hamilton playing Sarah Conner in this film? Damn it, Jim! This is Avatar, not Terminator! Stop modelling characters on your ex-wives! We’re lucky Sigourney Weaver didn’t suddenly start shooting a movie about a cop infiltrating a group of Bank Robbing Surfers halfway through the film.
Besides, Sarah Connor wasn't even Linda Hamilton's best role:
Now THAT is what I'm talking about!
And... that’s about it, really. Familiar story – some cool effects, but nothing that has you saying “Oh my God! That was incredible!”, and that’s pretty much it. Decent movie to watch, but nothing ground breaking (I suppose the CGI is, but as far as I’m concerned, it looks real or it doesn’t. Nothing else to it. Then again, I’m not so big on these “effects movies” like 2012 or Transformers or whatever, and haven’t bothered to see any of the recent ones). Probably doesn’t deserve it’s rating on IMDB, but then neither do half the movies in the top 250 list (The Dark Knight is the 10th greatest film of all time? Fuck off!)
This one’s so God damn tough, because I want to give it 50%, completely average – but I promised myself I wouldn’t do that because I give too many movies 5/10. Hence the 5 star rating system I adopt the rest of the time (Saw 6 is another I wanted to give 2 and a half). I suppose given how familiar and clichéd the storyline is, I should really go lower on this one, but at the same time, it’s far better than The Dark Knight, which I also gave 2 stars. So, just this once, I’m going to do it. I’m actually going to award 2 and a half stars to a movie! Putting this film squarely between “The Hurt Locker” and “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” in my books. That sounds about right.
2.5 / 5
I don't know if the 3D makes it any better... but I doubt it.