Movie Review

Nectar of Life

Incredible!  I came out of the theater and said, “I want to be blue and fly those dragons”; the freedom.

I have not seen a movie this great in years.  I am sure there will be plenty of naysayers because face it, the movie involves animated blue people that sparkle in different lights and yes, they fly dragons.

This will be one of those movies that will be picked apart for years with people having different takes on so many different scene.

To begin the movie is long but you come out wanting more so to me the movie could have been longer and I would never have noticed.

The movie is set in the year 2154.  Big business is expoiting the planet “Pandora”, a beautiful Shangra La that deserves to remain untouched.  ”The company” wants the natural resource of the planet that is found under the “Tree” of the Na’vi, an alien civilization.  The tree is holy, the tree is life for the Na’vi and business wants its material wealth, although the trees spiritual wealth is its greater asset.

The company is portrayed as evil, out to get what it wants, whatever the cost including the lives of the Na’vi.  There is no concious only the “Goloms of the universe after their Precious”.

Scientists (Sigourney Weaver) have spent their lives trying to understand the planet and the Na’vi.  They have developed the ability to grow the bodies of Avatar in a mechanical womb and have the mind of a human bond with the Avatar’s body in an effort to become one of the Na’vi and learn their ways.  The scientists are being funded by big business and unknowingly become their pawns.

Jake Sully is the droid of big business, a disabled former marine who is promised the ability to walk again if he infiltrates the Na’vi as an Avatar via the “science project” and brings back information.  He doesn’t know the Na’vi or their world but as he tries to infiltrate them he understands the beauty of their “peace”, their world; on many levels he discovers the meaning of life.  He becomes a turn coat to “the company” who now want him dead.  The movie continues with the conflict of good and evil, love and hate on all levels with the ultimate winner being “Peace”.

The movie has incredible scenery with the floating mountains and their waterfalls, the gardens of the Na’vi and the flight of the dragons.  It is a movie not to be missed only if to heighten the sense of your own self awareness and your place in this world.

It has been tradition since the movie “Michael” for our family to go to the movies Christmas Day.  Every year starting just after Halloween, the e-mail suggestions from everyone in the family start pouring in.  We all get a vote and obviously the movie with the most votes wins as “The Christmas Movie”.

My prowess as a movie “picker” has been in question ever since I picked “Will Smith’s – In Pursuit of Happiness”. Unfortunately my vote has been considerably downgraded since that unfortunate recommendation.  Sorry Will but that movie put a real downer on Christmas dinner.

This year as the e-mails arrived, it appeared the pick was a toss up between Avatar and Sherlock Holmes. I was desperately rooting for Sherlock.  The trailers all looked great and how could animation possibly be superior to the acting abilities of -Robert Downey Jr.  Yes he has had “personal problems” but when I watch him on the big screen, he is magical.

I was in luck because I had a number of other family members who felt the same way!  So yes, Sherlock was the pick!

That is about as happy as it gets.  The after movie reviews were mixed.  Half really liked it and like myself, some fell asleep.  As in the movie “Amadeus”, this movie had too many notes.  I am sure all of the producers of Hollywood think us mad but yes, it was a bit long and had a few unneeded scenes.

What do we know.  We are a group of country bumpkins who simply “watch” the movies and fork over the money that makes the movie either a success or a failure.

I felt that a degree in Chemistry was desperately needed to follow the plots.  Since I don’t have one I had to depend on the big picture of “Oh, so that’s why they died….OK, that makes sense but what difference does it make if the flame turns pink or green”.  You get the picture.

I also hate to have a narrator.  I don’t like it when someone has to tell me what is happening in a movie.  It makes me feel dumb or worse it makes me realize you think the audience won’t “get it”.   Now why would I want to go to a movie that makes me feel dumb?

As for the “too many scenes”…what was that boat scene about?  Did it serve a purpose?  We are talking about Sherlock Holme’s ability to solve crimes not outsmart a neandrathal who is trying to knock a ship over.  This is where I started to fall asleep and as in “Amadeus” – the Emperor yawns.  It was the kiss of death.

As for the characters, I found Watson’s fiancee the most miscast.  Sorry, I am sure she is a fine actress but she didn’t fit the character.  Maybe it was her occasional arched eyebrow.   I kept expecting her to be “the bad guy”; trying to get to Holmes via Watson.  But that’s not how it ended so I don’t think that’s what was intended.

To summarize, I liked the second half better than the first half; some scenes were great and others – not so great; and I would have changed a few people in the cast.

The door was left open for a sequel and a new cast member, Professor Moriarty.  My vote would be for “Jason Isaacs”.  What a lovely villain and a great opponent and equal for Robert Downey Jr.