The “Avatar” experience

Shri, Shefali and I saw this film at the Les Arcades theater in Cannes yesterday (while Vishal baby-sat the 4 kids, very gamely, since he’d seen the film already).

As I had expected – the mixed reviews I had seen before-hand indicated a thin plot  – I came away somewhat underwhelmed.

For, a compelling or engaging story this was not, notwithstanding the visual spectacle that the film is.  The special effects and visuals- especially of Pandoran fauna – were beautiful, mostly, but I could not connect with the plot, except the one scene where the hero – an ex-marine who is confined to a wheelchair having lost the use of his legs – discovers that his avtar is able to feel his feet and can actually run. That, for me, was the one poignant moment in the film.

I found myself impatient with the many stereotypes in the film, such as the all-too predictable love story and the shamanist rituals of the native Na’vi people on Pandora. Why does the idea that the natives – again, predictably less evolved than the human race – are spiritual or that they hold sacred certain things in their culture and environment need all that primitive sort of group-chanting and ceremony to prove the point?

This may well become the biggest movie of all time, but what stayed with me the rest of the evening was a headache, thanks to those 3-D glasses!

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