Sunday, January 17, 2010

Avatar and District Nine

So the Big Freeze - not so much. Almost no yellowing lower leaves on the vandas, almost no cold burn. The grass looked pretty browned off, though, and suddenly a lot of leaves are falling. But then the Fall in South Florida is the Spring: that's when the trees shed their leaves. The monstera has suffered too - those big, floppy tropical Avatar leaves withered and brown.

We went to see Avatar in 3D last week when it was still too cold to do much. I think how much more exotic it would have seemed if I were still in England. Now we have towering bamboo outside the kitchen door, big, flapping banana plants, crawling, broad predatory vines and monstera leaves rearing up along the paths. Dr. Motes thought Avatar "very botanical." I thought the colors too Disney and hunkered down expecting to be Lord of the Rings bored: how many times can these guys trudge up and down mountain paths? How stupid do trees on the move look? But three hours later I could not believe it was three hours later.

Then two nights on,we watched District Nine. And like Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh, I started to see a pattern emerging.

1. The Indians are allowed to win. (Pssst! Finally!)
Well, in District Nine, only two prawn-aliens really make it out of there but the white man dies! Sort of. He becomes a battered street alien, too.
In Avatar, though many Na'vi die, they beat the white man, the military machine, in one of the most thrilling battles since old World War Two movies.

2. Both heroes are ordinary, decent guys who just follow orders.....until...they follow their better nature. (Fox - They Betray Their Own People! )

3. Both are against the merciless, corporate world. Each An Army Of One. Both "go native," the thing most feared by imperial rulers. The disabled marine in Avatar, and the South African white who is forced to go native with the prawns. In both movies the police, the army, the marines, the tough officers and their incredible machines of war explode and die and, in District Nine, the hero prawn and son not only escape to their superior mother-ship - they leave many South Africans below wondering whether they might even return and invade.

This would not have happened under the Republicans. People want their country, or at least their movies, back!
On the other hand, the Greenies and the liberals will ask: why do you always need white men to be the saviours - the great white hope, as it were?
Well, even us liberals, we have to identify with someone. Hard, at the start, to identify with a large prawn-like creature or a towering blue creation with a tail. Though, by the end of District Nine we are all rooting for Christopher the brave and smart prawn and ready to adopt his incredibly cute and smart son.

The design of the Na'vi in Avatar and the prawns in District Nine are surprisingly similar: same basic shape- tall, imposing, long-waisted, small-bottomed, very light and springy on their feet.
The Na'vi of course, are the pretty ones. Ah, those cheekbones. Everyone a Cameron Diaz. Can't beat that. On the other hand - where do those cheekbones come from? Not from the Pilgrim Fathers or The Daughters of the American Revolution. Sorry, Glenn and Rush, you've lost. You won't get your country back.

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