Cameron’s alien epic

2009-12-18 00:00

“AVATAR is the most challenging film I’ve ever made,” says writer­director James Cameron, quite a declaration given that Cameron’s previous work includes Titanic, The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Aliens and The Abyss.

Avatar’s central figure, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), is a relatable everyman who unexpectedly rises to become a hero as he is drawn into a clash of civilisations between the Earth corporations bent on “developing” Pandora and the indigenous Na’vi.

“I wanted to create a familiar type of adventure in an unfamiliar environment, by setting the classic tale of a newcomer to a foreign land and culture on an alien planet,” Cameron explains.

“The story is by design classic in its broad strokes, but we have plenty of twists and turns in store for the audience. I’ve dreamed of creating a film like this, set on another world of great danger and beauty, since I was a child reading pulp science fiction and comic books by the truckload, and sitting in maths class drawing creatures and aliens behind my propped up textbook. With Avatar, I finally got my chance.”

All the action takes place on ­Pandora, a moon with an Earthlike environment that orbits a gas-giant planet called Polyphemus in the ­Alpha Centauri-A star system.

At 4,4 light years away, Alpha ­Centauri is our nearest stellar neighbour, and when it is discovered that Pandora is rich in a rare-earth ­mineral called Unobtainium, the ­Resources Development Administration (RDA) spends hundreds of billions of dollars to mine the distant world.

The film’s story takes place in 2154, three decades after a mining colony was established on Pandora. The encroachment by human activities into the territory of the indigenous Na’vi has created increasing tension between the two species and set them down a path to war.

Jake is thrust into the middle of this tense situation when he is ­recruited to be the newest “driver” for the Avatar programme, an ­attempt by human scientists to ­create a “bridge of trust” with the Na’vi by using genetically engineered avatar bodies to walk among these alien giants in a familiar form.

When he finds himself torn ­between the Na’vi and the RDA forces that are bent on destroying the Na’vi’s home of 10 000 years, Jake takes action. And all hell breaks loose.

Avatar is showing at Midlands ­CineCentre at Liberty Midlands Mall. Also on screen at the cinema are: Old Dogs, Invictus, 2012, Astroboy, Bandslam, Couple’s Retreat and The Twilight Saga: New Moon.

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