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Movie Roundup: 15/03/2010 March 15, 2010

Posted by Shujath in Articles, English, Movies, Reviews.
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After The Hurt Locker trumped Avatar at the Oscars, quite a few people celebrated its win as a triumph of substance over style. I don’t quite get it – The Hurt Locker has been acclaimed as the best drama about the Iraq war but I actually thought Avatar had a lot more things to say about “war”. For me The Hurt Locker was just a gritty thriller set around the activities of bomb defusing squads – a group you generally don’t encounter in a “war film”. If the film actually tried to say something about the war – it just didn’t get through to me.

The movie begins with a quote “War is a Drug” which is supposed to be the underlying thought of the whole enterprise – yet the tone of the movie comes across as being so blatantly pro-war. Even with the most generous interpretations, I couldn’t really figure out what the film was trying to convey and that’s why I can’t think of it beyond a “gritty thriller”. Do check it out – for it’s a film which is so open to interpretation that it could mean something completely opposite to what I expressed – and isn’t that exactly why it has received so many accolades!

Talking about the Oscars, until a couple of weeks back I wouldn’t have imagined any other film except ‘Up‘ (though I admit I haven’t seen a few of the other acclaimed films in the list) taking home the award for the Best Animated Feature – also given the fact that it was nominated for Best Picture too! Yet, once I saw Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, it was impossible for me to choose one. The film works purely because Anderson’s quirkiness translates so well to an animated-film setting. No doubt Pixar’s films work for adults but I wonder if Fantastic Mr. Fox would hold appeal for anyone else except adults – and no…. it isn’t because it has risque jokes or anything like that. Don’t miss this if you haven’t seen it yet. It’s unfortunate that the film grossed a measly 20 million despite the overall acclaim.

Avatar 3D December 19, 2009

Posted by Sai in English, Movies, Reviews.
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Cinema means different things to different people. For some, it is about the story. For some, it is about entertainment. For some, it is about technique. For me, it is about the imagination. It is about the effective translation of a vision. And ultimately, it is about the experience.

As far as imagination and experience goes, Avatar is an unparalleled accomplishment. Writer-Director James Cameron (Titanic, Terminator 2) creates a new world that makes the best use of the new technology that he has helped pioneer over the last decade. Pandora (the alien world created for this film) is a masterpiece that sells 3D like nothing ever has in the past.

After Titanic, Cameron once again takes a story with universal appeal  (not to mention the social relevance) and mounts it on a gigantic scale. Cameron immerses you in this new world and the technology is never really at the forefront (except in the logical part of your brain that might tell you it is make-believe). I didn’t really know how involved I was in the film till Pandora was attacked and the pain felt almost tangible.

With motion capture, it is always hard to assess an actor’s performance but it seems much easier with Avatar. Zoe Saldaña (Star Trek) is only seen in her Na’vi (the inhabitants of Pandora) form and stands out as Neytiri. Sam Worthington (Terminator Salvation) plays an able Jake Sully.

It goes without saying that this is an experience that no one should miss. If you are planning to watch this and you are not aware of the technology behind it, my sincere request would be to read a little bit about it to allow yourself to really appreciate a mammoth achievement in filmmaking. And try your best to watch it in IMAX 3D.