Academy Award Challenge: Reviews Avatar, The Hurt Locker, and Up

So here are my initial reviews for my challenge to see and review all of the 2010 Academy Award Nominated Best Pictures:

Avatar

I saw Avatar in the theater though not in IMAX or 3D. I was impressed by the effects and the beautiful scenery of the film. I felt drawn into the world of Pandora and intrigued by the idea of the avatar system where the human mind could link up with and control a biological avatar. The implications of that idea are wide ranging and should be explored more.

I found the concept that medicine has advanced to the point of being able to cure almost anything, but at a cost that was beyond the average person, to be quite topical and thought provoking.

The film doesn’t spend a lot of time exploring the ethical ramifications of the avatar program (mindless biological clones!?!?) But the implication is that society in the age of Pandora is very materialistic, very ethically ambigious, and very driven by profit so perhaps the idea that they didn’t care about the ethics of the avatar program is just part of the theme they were going for.

Ultimately while I found the acting and direction good in the film I think the picture suffers from some serious cliches in its plotting. The materialistic greedy white man subjugating the colored (blue) man to take his resources until the great white hope shows up to stop it has been used too many times before and is a little tired. I would have liked to seen something more nuanced in the dramatic conflict of the story. Overall Score B+

The Hurt Locker

I watched The Hurt Locker via my TiVo and Amazon Unbox. I was impressed with the energy of this film right from the start. The very dramatic opening scenes drew me into the picture within the first five minutes.

While I understand from later research that the dramatic depiction of the explosive units operation doesn’t measure up to reality, I don’t think that takes away from my enjoyment of it. I felt the fear/excitment of the situations which, I think is what they were trying to enduce in the viewer. Giving you an idea of why that life might be attractive to some people, how living your life on the edge can make you feel alive like nothing in the mundane everyday world can. I think in this the film suceeds.

I thought the acting was good and the film does a good job of setting an atmosphere of chaos and uncertainty that I can only imagine pepole living through that period in that place must have felt.

At the end of the flim I found myself feeling more in common with the Sgt. Sanborn’s desire to get as far away from that life as possible, but also completely getting Sgt. James’s inability to give it up. Overall score for this film is A.

Up

We watched Up via dvd. This was the only one of the nominated films we saw prior to the Academy Awards.  Overall this film is a lot of fun and as usual for a Pixar production it didn’t dissapoint.  The only drawback I had with this film is that it is one of the most depressing animated movies I’ve ever seen in the first 20 minutes. It has to be to set up the story and to make the adventure as powerful as it is but I remember sitting there through the early scenes saying wow..it starts like this?  There was a lot of sadness in the film for a Disney picture. Overall though this film is an excellent Pixar accomplishment as usual. A+  and “Squirrel!”

Jerry Sutton

I am, at heart, a software developer though I am currently managing a small Information Technology department for a mid sized company located in my hometown of Jacksonville, FL. When I am not playing with the latest smart-phone or trying to become inspired to write code I read almost anything I can get my hands on from Pulp Era adventures to biographies of world leaders and everything in between.