Flicked Off, with Mary HK Choi: 'Avatar'


This movie makes me emo. Thinking about it makes my nose do that chloriney thing you get right before you start crying. I am SO GAY for this movie that I can’t stand it. And you know what? Having finally seen it, I don’t even care what the haters have to say. I am a happy meniscus that your spite sauce slides off of. I’m lifted.

I waited three hours in July San Diego sun to watch 27 minutes of this movie. I had to cross the street from the convention center to where the line serpentined to the water by the Hilton to catch the Cameron panel at Comic Con. I sat ON GRASS next to a very nice but distinctly aromatic 19-year-old quasi Juggalo who worked in human resources at a tech firm and wanted to talk the whole time to get my ass into Hall H and my eyeballs behind some 3D specs and I’ll tell you what, it was worth it.

I have zero idea why they bothered with a trailer. It confounded me that they then rolled out the extended trailer, almost as if they’d anxiously detected the ire with which the first trailer was received. That fools had the gall to even BEGIN to form noisy opinions about the movie based on some analog shitstain smearing across their janky computer screens made me want to smash and kill. I was even mad at the movie for being such a pussy as to question its own awesome.

I can’t even tell you how insane I feel trying to rock up a buncha words to ya’ll in some sufficiently synergistic configuration that’ll convey what makes this movie so rad. I feel ridiculously ill-equipped. It’s a joke. The words don’t have one million motion-capture dots on its face with a squillion teeny cameras trained on just their eyeball areas with the whole thing plunged into a gigantic motion-capture volume set. The words won’t peel their skins off and spazz for you in waves and particles and alchemy and phosphorescent flowermagic and hypercolored superdinosaurs and I feel shameface about it because they’d need to ferry a petabyte of information to properly get my point across. I feel like I’m trying to tell you in mashed potato.

“Avatar” is staggering. It’s seismic. Evolutionarily speaking it is cladogenesis in a thunderclap. Punctuating the balls outta equilibrium. Think about it: You can’t bit torrent this shit. And even if some very industrious pillager cops the glasses and figures out how to do it in the way it was intended to be seen, that person is a hope rapist that should be shot in the face for dream treason because James Cameron and a gang of wizards made this beautiful, beautiful thing for us-in 2009 of all years. We should ALL hold hands about it.

Gun Show. Welcome.

Yes, the Na’vi look like giant Matthew Lillards (and circa “Hackers” too, since there is long hair involved). Sure, the dialog has the subtlety of dubbed German porn and granted, the narrative is basically a cave drawing of a mother and child since it better make sense in Kerala as well as Kansas but here’s why THIS DIRECTOR, your man who sat there in that pulsing convention hall at SDCC with his grown-out silvered skaterdude hair, was the one to make this movie: James Cameron is a fanboy.

A fanboy’s heart is filled with love, enthusiasm, and insecurity. Duly, he flexes the SHIT out of the technology. Cameron waited 15 years to get it right and grabs you by the neck and takes you on an EPIC tour. He starts with the rinkydink usual chicanery-some “Final Destination” shit-making things fly towards you. He moves us through lucite. He shows us holographic computer interfaces where you can just grab something from your screen with your hand to slide-copy it onto a tablet. Whatevs, “Minority Report” OS 2.0 zzzzzzzzzzzz.

King of the world!

But then he shows us Pandora. This planet that he made for us. And it overshadows every suspension bridge, pyramid, and skyscraper all at the same time because I swear to God, THIS is what makes me want to have a kid. And I love bridges. I want to get to be the one who adds this to their source material. I want them to draw from it when figuring out what to love about life. And I want that love to determine their life’s work. THIS IS MOVIES KICKING VIDEO GAMES’ ASS.

As a shit-ton critics have already described there is incandescent flora and a Pantone seizure of fauna. They’re pretty great. You should check them out. It’s an insanely tactile experience that makes me wish they could score it not just with music but a sequence of smells. There are sparkling waterfalls and because Cameron knew we’d love to, he lets us careen through, past, and underneath them on mythic FLYING creatures in this reality where everyone gets their own special one and there are these mountains that have been magically uprooted (though it’s a terrestrial and myopic failing to consider that they’d ever have to be grounded) that are breathtaking to almost crash into when you get to be the hula hoop to the supine floating magician’s assistant and poke around to see if there’s fishing wire.

The locals are awesome. They’re tall and have these spooky braids that have tentacles that curl out and do synaptic axon/dendrite neurotransmitty stuff but like in alien. They do it to animals and plants except they don’t do it to each other which is weird because I’d bet it would feel like sexdrugs. We don’t get to see them actually mate which sucks and we don’t get to see a pregnant one which also sucks because that would’ve been neat. But we do get to see some babies. They’re cute.

They have clear tears but it’s hard to tell and I don’t know what color their blood is. They have a language that the human dorks will adopt. Their eyes emote like ours. It would be hard to break up with one because you can totally tell what they’re feeling. You might have to text message it to them. They have this tree made of souls and light and God and it’s a big deal. There is a battle of dinosaurs vs. robots. I have nothing more to add to that sentence because you’re dead inside if you can’t get what’s cool about that.

Here’s the nut. You know the best part of the superhero narrative? The part where the hero discovers the power and learns to use it and you get to be along for the ride and it’s the funnest thing ever like when Spider-Man first goes flinging himself allover Queens? Well, that’s Queens. This is that, times a billion. It’s on another fucking planet, and the whole thing goes on for almost 3 hours and short circuits your brain because your mind’s eye has NO IDEA what’s happening because this is the glamour of its life. If there was a button that I could push that would agog my brain to the level that I felt first seeing “Avatar” in its entirety and another one for food pellets, I would die of starvation.