Avatar Fever

Sena and I just watched the original Avatar movie on TV last night. The new sequel just opened: “Avatar: Totally Under Water Without Snorkel or Scuba.”

I can’t recall when we actually saw the original Avatar, although it was probably not long after it was released in 2009. The CGI effects are still mesmerizing.

Sena found a YouTube with a demo showing how the action sequences were made, which pitted Sam Worthington (who played Jake Sully) against what looked like a rubber dragon yanked around by a few guys while other actors played their parts, all of them wearing what looked like ping pong balls and green dots.

It doesn’t take any of the magic away from the finished product, believe it or not.

However, I’m not totally sold on the avatar concept. I get it that Jake’s consciousness jockeyed back and forth between his human and Pandora bodies. But I can’t pin a specific inconsistency on any particular scene in the movie suggesting sometimes Jake was conscious and interacting during the day on the spaceship during the times when he should have been conscious learning how to be one of The People.

You know, when Jake’s conscious in the spaceship and out of the incubator (so to speak), his blue guy avatar should become limp and lifeless out in the Pandora Forest, maybe at the exact time when Neytiri (ultimately his main squeeze, and played by Zoe Saldana) is trying to teach him how to juggle deadly 3-headed zebra-striped iguanas, whose main diet consists of a certain male Na’vi body part involved in reproduction. This is why many of them look like they have Peyronie’s disease. This is available only in the Director’s cut, of course.

I was astounded by the relative difference in stature between the Na’vi and humans. For example, Jake’s main rival for Neytiri’s affection is a guy named Tsu’tey (played by Laz Alonso) who looks like a shrimpy, homely nerd next to his Pandora comrades. But when he’s on the airborne military transport toward the latter part of the movie, he’s several feet taller than the human soldiers and he tosses them around like garbage bags.

I wasn’t clear on why the head scientist, Dr. Grace Augustine (played by Sigourney Weaver), smokes cigarettes. What’s up with that? Her line early in the movie when they are all in their avatar bodies, some of them for the first time: “Don’t play with that, it’ll make you go blind.” Is that supposed to let the audience know that the Na’vi males have penises? Or do I just have a dirty mind?

Sena read an on-line source that the James Cameron, who wrote, directed, co-produced, and co-edited Avatar, called the main bad guy, Colonel Miles Quaritch (played by Stephen Lang) in the film a “motherf***er.” I guess he’s been reincarnated in the sequel. Evil never dies.

But Good always triumphs in the end-we hope.

Author: James Amos

I'm a retired consult-liaison psychiatrist. I navigated the path in a phased retirement program through the hospital where I was employed. I was fully retired as of June 30, 2020. This blog chronicles my journey.

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