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Christmas 2009 and my review of 'Avatar'

There is something strange about having Christmas Day on a Friday.  Oh, it's a nice long weekend, if you don't have to work Saturday, but that's the odd bit...  Lots of shops open pretty much as usual today, inspite of being Boxing Day.  i did forget that there wouldn't be any buses today and by the time i was half way to the bus stop, it kinda hit me on the head that it was Boxing Day.  So i had to get on the mobile and call up a cab.  i wouldn't have bothered but i had to go pick up my pills.

It's been quiet as usual and a bit of a swings & roundabouts kinda week, starting last Monday when i went up to Argos to take advantage of the Christmas sale.  i'd been on the lookout for a new microwave with a grill and they had one half-price just under £40, just about perfect, as even with product insurance and a taxi there and back, the whole shebang only cost me about £60.  Merry Christmas to me!  My old one is still working even if it is getting a little noisy, so offered it to one of my neighbours.  He had no hesitation saying yes.
My birthday present to me was a ticket to see Cirque du Soleil's 'Varekai' in a couple of weeks and that cost me a LOT more, go figure!
*pets microwave*
But as i said to Ditto, on Christmas Day, being a quiet time, it actually gave free rein on our shared laundry!  i did a humungous 3 load wash, so that pleased me... small things please small minds obviously :)  i even had a present to open - i have a parcel in the post from Char that we have no idea when it will get here! 
My sweet friend Jan & husband Ed send me something for my birthday [blue dangly earrings, lovely black dragon pendant & pretty scarf] and Christmas every year, bless 'em and this year was no exception.  This years Chritmas gift was the most beautiful beaded red heart, about 4" across with a long beaded tail, just gorgeous.  i've hung it up next to my Chinese temple bell in the doorway into the kitchen, so i can see it every time i go in there.  *hugs & kisses to you guys*  Isn't it lovely?

Oh yes, i almost forgot i had a present from the IRS too, a bill for £83 income tax; pay by end of Jan, please!  Nothing has changed from my end since last year when i didn't pay anything, being under the limit allowed.  i rang up to find out what had changed and why the short notice and the guy said it was something to do with how the Govt is paying my pension.  No, i had no idea either and no, i hadn't seen it say i had to pay anything when i did the assessment online.  But the good news, he said like i'd come into money, i would only have to pay it for another 3 years!  The Age limit would kick in at 65, he said.  That's good news?? i said.  Um, rock on...  Well, at least i made someone laugh that day!
Someone also generously shared their cold with me.  Not a horrid head cold luckily but one that is making me wheeze as it hits my chest... oh joy. 

i had intended to go see 'Avatar' when i hit my local cineworld as i had two free tickets courtesy of my Tesco clubcard points.  i had intended to go earlier in the week but the weather with all the icy pavements had delayed my outing.  i figured with my bus pass and the ticket, it would cost me nothing for a day out, even if i did have to get two buses there and back.  However, i really didn't want to see 'Avatar' in 3D - i didn't like it back in 50's-60's.  It always made me feel slightly seasick and gave me a headache.  Luckily for me, they were showing it in normal 2D as well - hooray!   They had been showing it in 3D in two cinemas, giving lots of times to see it but only three times a day in 2D.  Picked the 4pm showing, figuring that a] the anklebiters would really only want 3D and it was a good time being close to going home for dinner.  i had to watch out for early bus stoppage and checked it carefully with their Customer Service, a very helpful young lady btw.  We figured that getting there, no problem but while the last bus out of the centre, would get me down to my switch point, the one going up wasn't going to connect in time.  i could be stranded.  So what the hell, i'd take a taxi home from the Leisure Centre, when i was ready.  It also meant i could go have some celebratory Chinese after the film, no bad thing!
All not only went to plan, but rolled on wheels, pun intended!  It's only when you get off the main roads, that trouble really sets in.  i'd left plenty of time for swap-over timing and had enough time to go buy myself an icecream before settling in to watch the film.  The usual adverts and film trailers, more of the former than the latter and half-an-hours-worth now. 
It's always the same stuff you see on TV, never anything new, so doubly boring.  They were pushing the game that inevitably came out at the same time, and a couple of others too, even more boring for a non-gamer.  But eventually, we're good to go.   If you don't want spoliers, STOP READING NOW!!

It is always interesting to see someone's idea of a new world and James Cameron's Pandora doesn't disappoint.  First, it is really a beautiful film, of a beautiful planet.  A planet, or was it an attendant moon? not that easy to work out, that is totally toxic to humans, although the gravity appears to be the same as Earth's.  Inhabited by 10 foot tall blue humanoids called the Na'vi, with ears and tail like a cat.  But what a tail!  The Na'vi are only at the bows & arrows stage on a level with the native North American Indians, whom they resemble very closely in manner.   But they have some mystical yet real connection to their planet that the investigating scientists have only guessed about before the film begins. 
They wear some modesty gear around genital areas but we are never permitted even a discreet bulge on our hero, due to his loincloth.  You get glimpses of female breasts and although none of them are exactly generously endowed, none of them were overly modest either or made any overt references to sex or any sexual taboos.  Both were warriors when needed and a female is instructed to teach our main character the ways of the
Na'vi, not a male,but rather as punishment for taking him into their home camp. 
i read one review that blandly stated that there were no gentialia or vaginas, but i fail to see how he came to that conclusion.  Children were well represented in the society and there was no mention of a common nursery, no suggestion of any other way of giving birth from what we consider normal.   Also if the Na'vi had no genitals, there would have been a lot reference to it from the Marines, in the usual way of soldiers, but there is none.
Jake Sully is a paraplegic from a war injury while in the Marines, who is given an opportunity to take his identical twin brother's place on the Pandora mission, when his brother dies.  Naturally, he jumps at the chance and nearly six years
in suspended animation later, he arrives on Pandora.  The main mission is to protect and aid the mining company there - shades of 'Aliens' and if the computer had been called Mother, i would have headed for the hills myself!  It was close enough with Sigourney Weaver being the head scientific honcho, complete with her own Avatar, as it was.  There thankfully, the resemblance ends and very few of the other actors will be known by name to most of the audience, including me - though i recognised the names of a couple who appear only as Avatars, Wes Studi [think 'Last of the Mohicans'] and CCH Pounder [way too many roles to mention!].  These Aliens are peaceful and non-hostile as long as they are left to themselves.  They allowed contact and even a school to learn the mutual languages, until they realise very few of the visitors are really interested in what they think and they suspend contact as much as they can.  
i found it unbelievable that the
Na'vi allowed the visitors to start mining at all, as it is so counter to what they believe in, never mind when the strip mining gets much bigger.  The Na'vi don't appreciate just how much we/they are going to strip out of the planet for sure or that they're going to be forced out of their main home, if they won't move peacefully.
What is really worth price of admission, are the visual details of Pandora.  Totally alien plants and animals, rather resembling our era of dinosauers and some fantastic frond plants, with some of the most spectacular flying sequences it has been my pleasure to watch.  i'm damned glad i didn't see it in 3D, as a couple of the scences made me feel slightly seasick as it was!!  It's always the same, if i drive i'm fine but if i'm being driven, it's quite another story.  i loved the 'horses' and the flying animals.  There's lots of colour and so much movement sometimes it's almost a blur but there are plenty of quieter parts.
Two thirds of the way through, i found myself thinking, what is Jake going to do at the end of this?  Will he die being noble in a good cause and solve the problem of having to leave the Avatar body and go on in his crippled state or will they figure out a way to meld or merge the two.  That would really only be the way to a happy ending, even if the Na'vi win the war. 

The climatic battle is a doosey and while 'Star Wars' was modeled on WWII aerial dogfights to make it authentic, Avatar makes it's own rules in the air and on the ground.  i recommend you try go see it in a real cinema as i did, so you appreciate the scale and sound of this film - don't wait for TV or DVD, it really won't do it justice.  Do watch it again when you get either, but as a reminder of what you saw before and to savour the delights of Pandora.

later, guys!


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Dec. 27th, 2009 12:05 am (UTC)
The heart is really lovely. I'd like that in my room! I have magpie tendencies. :D

I didn't fancy Avatar at all, but after reading this I shall try and give it a whirl at the cinema.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )