After watching Aamir, a suspense thriller on terrorism, last year I had taken a hiatus from movie watching, not a deliberate one but because no movie really stirred my interest since. I decided to break my film fast with Avatar, the new movie made in 3D technology.
Avatar deals with a problem the world is currently grappling with: a huge corporation trying to displace a tribe to get access to natural wealth. In India, how a handful of mining barons hand in glove with governments are exploiting areas rich in natural resources upsetting environmental balance and displacing and dispossessing the inhabitants of the places – is reported by the media everyday. So it is elsewhere. My friend tells me the Amazon basin, being a delta, is a repository of natural resources with natural wealth from multiple directions flowing into it, and so shares the same plight of encroachment and exploitation.
The story of Avatar goes like this. A large corporation sets its eyes on a slice of land which is brimming with natural bounty and splendor. The only hurdle is a group of tribes, humanoids, inhabiting the place for ages. The corporation has to force their cooperation or submission to find unobstructed access to the natural bounty.
A highly trained marine recruit is found to have identical DNA with the tribes and sent there in disguise to learn their ways, win their trust and then either persuade them to cooperate or coerce them into submission. He succeeds in his mission but oversteps the line: he emotionally identifies with the tribes and switches loyalty. Trouble follows.
It was my first 3D experience, and I was a little skeptical to start with. I had expected every action-oriented event, like trading of blows or firing of a bullet, would give me the tactile feeling of being at the receiving end of the action, and I, mistaking the virtual for the real, would move away from the trajectory of the action. But I didn’t.
Although the 3D technology makes you feel that the characters and props in a scene are touchable, it doesn’t induce a feeling of fear – that you might be hit or hurt. An object hurled at you travels in your direction for a while and before it becomes too close for comfort for you, it disappears. The idea is to make the 3D experience pleasant and not scary.
The members of the humanoids tribe are a cross between humans and monkeys with long stout tails behind them. When the marine recruit (the imposter) in his new avatar as a member of the tribe was appraising the place with his back facing the audience and the tail swishing gleefully – a person sitting behind me told the person next to him: “I expected the tail to come and hit us.” The other person replied: “For those sitting in the balcony of the theatre, the effect is only virtual; the hitting-hurting part is for the people sitting below – because they have paid less for their tickets!”