Sunday 10 January 2010

Avatar: Style over Substance?

Despite the weather I finally got to see this film and was pretty impressed overall. The special effects and 3d was awesome to behold and the combat scenes were very impressive. The soundtrack was suitably 'mystical' sounding when dealing with the indigenous Na'vi - although the Leona Lewis effort over the closing credits was an odd choice I feel!

The military hardware was very good and looked suitably near future - probably no surprise given James Cameron's work on Aliens and Terminator 2 and for me the only thing missing from the gunship attack on the holy tree was Wagner's 'Ride of the Valkyries'! The infantry mechanical walkers were very good and the gunships suitably intimidating - it would be nice to see some these produced for wargames use although I suspect that issues of expensive licenses would probably rear its ugly head!

I was really taken with the Na'vi tribal ethos - very reminiscent of the various Native American groupings across the old west.

After all that how would I rate the film overall? To be honest, it felt a little like having a Chinese meal - great at the time but you always want something else later on. The story for me was a little on the light side and some more technical detail about the whole Avatar project would have been nice. Some of the forest scenes were a little too colourful and overdone - almost as though it was done that way because it could be and at a budget of USD 300 Million the envelope could really be pushed. That said, visually the Star Wars prequel trilogy fell into the same trap in my opinion - sometimes less is more and special effects should never be used to disguise or replace any plot shortcomings.

So despite my observations and opinions I thoroughly enjoyed the film and rumours of a sequel are abounding which would be great to see. The soundtrack CD will be on my 'to get' list as will the inevitable DVD purchase in due course - not that I have a 3d TV to fully benefit from it but you can't have everything I suppose!

It would make for fantastic wargame although modelling floating mountains may be a challenge!


CWT said...

If you do go for it, good luck with modelling the floating mountains. Perhaps a hanging basket from the garden centre, swinging over the tabletop? :-)

David Crook said...

Now thats a thought but I think I will pass! It looked great though and the funny things is if you used mountain shaped pieces of polystyrene foam mounted on large flying bases you might get close - it would have to be 6 or possbily 10mm figures though - anything larger and the terrain would be way too big!

Paul O'G said...

but it would also be great to fly Aeronefs around it too! Flying Mountains of Venus perhaps?

Managed to take the family to see the movie before we moved and we all loved it. individually, the Navi reminded me of native Americans too, then more like African tribe/Zul style when they all got together and chanted. Overall a great flick I enjoyed with some great themes for the kids.

David Crook said...

Yup, I really enjoyed it and guess I was being a little on the picky side but I did feel perhaps a little let down with the lightness of the storyline.

Any Sci Fi/Fantasy gamer worth his salt should be able to extract a whole pile of ideas from it though!