Basterds and Na'vi and Prawns, oh, my! Serious men, out of body trips, and Wild Things a-plenty.
By now, James Cameron's dream project has been debated, defended, detested, and deconstructed, and it's only been in theaters for three days. For all the talk of the technical side of things (and I'll have a great conversation with Joe Letteri, the FX supervisor on the film, here on HitFix this week), what I love about the movie is the pure sense of wonder and adventure that is evident in every single frame of it. This is epic pulp SF adventure, served up without any detached irony or hipster remove. It is powerfully sincere, and it's obvious that Cameron believes in this world he's created. The Na'vi aren't meant as a stand-in for any single race on Earth; instead, they are our better selves, and Cameron's greatest fear is that we will never allow ourselves to become what we can be, instead insisting on remaining what we already are out of sheer cultural cowardice. I've read a lot of reactions to the film, with people reading in all sorts of subtext, much of it contradictory. The fact that people are pulling so much out of it, and that they can't agree on what the movie is saying about all of the big ideas it engages, is just one more sign that Cameron's accomplishment is built to last.
This may be our first trip to Pandora, but I'm willing to bet it won't be our last.