mrbrown and the Na'vi

By now, most people and their mothers have seen Avatar, James Cameron's latest big budget movie. If you haven't, I suggest you stop reading this column, get out from under that rock you have been living under, and go forth to watcheth the movie. Because after this paragraph, I am going to talk about the movie a lot and you might blame me for giving away the ending that Darth Vader is really Luke's father.

Are all the losers who have yet to see the movie gone yet? Good. Let us begin.

A little recap for those of us who have poor short term memories. Avatar is about humans who want to evict some aliens living on a moon called Pandora, filled with some precious metal, so that they can mine the metal. The humans create Avatars, bodies that look like the alien race, so that by sleeping in some canister (probably bought from Ikea), the humans can walk around looking like Smurf-like Native American Indian Elves. These blue beings are called Na'vi.

In the process, one of the humans decides he likes alien chicks so much, he chooses to fight on the Na'vi' people's side.

When I first watched it, I was pretty blown away. I mean, who wouldn't be, right? All that epic scale, with the epic ships and epic helicopters, in an epic battle with the epic birds and epic horses of the epic Na'vi. You can sense that James Cameron wants you to feel every epic dollar of his epic 237 million US dollar budget.

Then you walked out of the cinema with nausea, your eyes bleeding, your brains like mush, and your head throbbing from enduring almost three hours of a 3D movie wearing 3D glasses that don't fit your face, and you think, damn, that was epic.

But soon, as the vomit starts to dry on your shirt, and the double vision fades, you start to doubt Cameron's God-like Epic-ness. You start to question the greatness of his creation and wonder if Avatar is really more like the Titanic.

Let's start with the world of Pandora. I have seen that place before. It's called World of Warcraft. Floating rocks, giant trees, and animals that have USB ports... it's all so familiar.

Since I am on the topic of USB ports, why do the Banshee birds let the Na'vi bond with them? The bird that tries to kill you is the one who chooses you? Why not the one who nuzzles its beak against you and tries to mate with your leg? Surely that is the Banshee who should be your creature for life?

And then there is the bonding process. The Na'vi love nature and its creatures etc etc etc, right? So their idea of loving nature is to mentally violate a Banshee and force it to fly into dangerous battles?

Our friend, Jake Scully the hero, decides that to win the trust of the race he just did an "Infernal Affairs" on, he will ride his current Banshee, who is his for life, and pounce on a bigger badder bird called the Turok, so that the Na'vi will think that he is The One.

My first thought was, now he has a bigger bird. Great for him. But what happened to his original Banshee? That poor bird (I don't know if it had a name so I shall call it Bob), Bob the Banshee, is now riderless and cannot bond with another Na'vi because Jake had already made Bob his Lifelong Bird Buddy. Thanks Jake!

The other thing that bugs me is, why must the aliens look so noble? The humans keep calling them "savage", but these aliens look way better than the humans do. I mean, they are taller, stronger, faster, and can have sex by connecting their USB cables!

At least with the movie District 9, the director, Neill Blomkamp, made truly unattractive prawn-like aliens and we understand why the humans find them disgusting. And with District 9, Blomkamp managed to make us truly sympathise and side with these ugly aliens.

In Avatar, it is hard to understand why humans would loathe such supermodel-looking aliens. Maybe the humans in the future cannot stand the colour blue.

And how dumb are these humans too? You have a scientist who can create Avatars of aliens you can control in your sleep and yet the soldiers still fight around in Amplified Mobility Platform combat suits?

The Colonel should have just yanked Sigourney Weaver a.k.a Dr. Grace Augustine off her touchy-feely alien studies project and put her on a military project to let his mercenaries control their AMP suits by just sleeping in a chamber! But noooo. Let her prance around with her furry alien friends. We'll stick to our manly way of battle.

Maybe I am being too harsh on the movie. It is, after all, a technological masterpiece. All the CG and special effects should count for something, I suppose. It is nice to know that almost 20 years after Dances With Wolves, we can now watch the same movie in space. Only this time, the Native American Indians win. And oh, their alien arrows can pierce armoured helicopter glass.

About mrbrown
mrbrown aka Mr Kin Mun LEE is the accidental author of the popular Singapore website, mrbrown.com, and has been documenting the dysfunctional side of Singapore life since 1997.

Affectionately known as the Blogfather of Singapore, his readers follow his writings closely, which these days range from current affairs, his family, and even his trips abroad.

Currently, mrbrown also hosts the mrbrown show (mrbrownshow.com), probably Singapore's best known comedy and satire podcast.

mrbrown is married to Ginny, his long-suffering wife for 12 years, and is father to three lovely kids, Faith,  Isaac and Joy.



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