Friday, January 01, 2010

Stranger and Friend

Avatar (2009)
directed by James Cameron
rating: 2 out of 5 cravats
seen in 3D on the screen at AMC Waterfront 22

For everyone who still insists that The New World isn't as bad as Dances with Wolves (now back in the public eye, thanks to Avatar), actor Wes Studi played "Toughest Pawnee" in Costner's liberal apology to Native Americans, Opechancanough in Malick's, and Eytukan in Cameron's. "A work of art that can’t be imagined better" begins with better casting, at least. My favorite Studi, as you know, will always be Magua, eater of delicious human hearts in Last of the Mohicans, which, unlike Avatar, is a great movie because director Michael Mann isn't afraid to kill off his Noble Savages with violent, kinetic, un-Costner-like glee. Cameron, of course, loves the Na'vi's swaying, wailing, one-with-the-earth mourning process because it's the epic ceremonial send-off he expects for himself one day, surrounded by the US Army in Avatar mechs, covered in the first cherry blossoms of spring. And he can have it, as far as I'm concerned. His movie gave me a headache, and I wished I was watching Princess Mononoke in that giant, crowded theater instead.