Avatar: A Capsule Review by Dr. Charlie Starr

Charlie W. Starr
Charlie W. Starr's picture

Avatar on big screen in 3D lives up to the hype. Stunningly beautiful. Cameron succeeds in bringing film to a new level. Will be interesting to see what reaction the film evokes on the small screen (i.e. DVD). As a big screen blockbuster, however, it achieves its goals. The movie is beautiful. Its archetypal motifs are familiar (but then that's what archetypes are). It acheives the effects of mythopoeisis which Lewis and Tolkien wrote so much about--Cameron creates an entire universe, through which the audience gets to walk. The plot is a blend of "that's been done" and creative invention--something I always consider a perfect blend. In fact the experience was bitter sweet for me as several ideas, elements, images, even a phrase ("I see you") are ones I used my self in my little known 2004 sci-fi novel, The Heart of Light, a project of love which I started writing in 1985 and finished in the early 90's. The sweetness is that I tapped into these archetypal ideas in my own creative activity. The bitterness is that Cameron has now done it on a massive scale, and I walked away thinking that trying to do anymore with my novel feels redundant. Yes it's massively different, but now I imagine that, when my comp students read the novel next semester, some of them will say, "Did you get that idea from Avatar?" and I'll have to point out the copyright date and say, "He just did it bigger and with greater beauty."