Although we had begun to discuss the film in class, I think Avatar is a perfect movie to talk about, especially with regard to topics covered in our course. It is actually one of my favorite movies, and probably the most well executed movie I’ve seen, although I may also be biased considering I watched a behind the scenes video about how they created everything in the movie. Witnessing the amazing work and technology that was put into the film was incredibly impressive, and demonstrated the kind of effort required to create such a spectacular piece of art.
During class we have had conversations about alternate worlds created in various forms of media. These worlds allow the viewer or reader to escape into a whole different environment than the one they live in. Obviously we have praised Tolkien for the ways in which he was able to depict Middle Earth as an entirely new place for the reader to experience. However, actually having to take that alternate universe beyond just description and actually create it is an entirely different story (pun not initially intended but I’ll keep it). This is what was needed to make Avatar, and they did so masterfully. Like Tolkien’s Middle Earth, Avatar’s producers borrowed aspects of the real world while clearly bringing in a variety of additions inspired by fantasy and creativity to create an expansive other world.
While the visuals and conceptual presentation of the movie are probably the most impressive aspects, my praise for the film doesn’t end there. Despite having an incredible alternate world created in the movie, it would be nothing if it didn’t also have a good narrative. Although to be fair, it doesn’t really have a good narrative. It has a GREAT narrative. The storyline of the film really draws you in and allows you to feel like one with the protagonist. At first, the main character is just another human, and you follow along with him as you discover what is to come of his life. But soon enough, he steps into a futuristic machine and takes on the body of an unknown creature in an unknown world. The moment he begins living in the world of Avatars, you go there with him. Rather, you almost become him. You don’t just sympathize for him or empathize with him, but you actually feel what he feels as if it were happening to you, and this is something that I don’t think many movies can say other than Avatar.