Avatar (and Sherlock Holmes) Film Review


We went to see Avatar tonight. This was our third attempt to see the film. The first time we were snowed out, the second time it was full and we had to go and see Sherlock Homes instead.

Sherlock Homes is a blast. Just don’t go expecting to see anything which will stretch you intellectually (although it will stretch your credibility quite a lot). It has a lot in common with the Dan Brown novels. There are sinister cartels, strange goings on in high places and maps with lines drawn on them that point to the most obvious places - An attack on the Houses of Parliament? And not the whelk stall next door to it? How surprising.

Anyhoo, I found the Sherlock served up by Robert Downey Jr. much more fun than Robert Langton and Victorian London was very well realised.  If you have any pre-conceived ideas about Homes or Watson I suggest you leave them at the door though, along with a big chunk of your brain…

Avatar is a bit deeper. but only just. It was a story of  attempts by an evil company to subjugate the population of a planet made up entirely of scenes from old Yes and Ossibiza album covers (Note this is a very old reference, but if you are as old as me you can remember the art of Roger Dean). They - The Evil Company (tm)  that is – hire a crippled marine who is the genetically identical twin of his much more useful scientist brother, who was killed before the start of the film for reasons of plot.  Their Evil Plan (tm) is to gain the confidence of the natives and get intelligence by using a remote controlled Avatar which is bonded to our marine. Unfortunately (for the company) he goes native in a rather spectacular way, by falling for the Chief’s daughter (Who’d have thought?) and then things get explosively nasty.

The film is in 3D and this part works very well. At the start I was surprised by things that appeared to come out of the screen but by the end I was just watching a movie in 3D. And very impressive it was too.

As you would expect from a James Cameron film, the action sequences are great, but if you want deep philosophical content then you will have to look somewhere else. I think for me the most important aspect was the way that the computer generated elements were so well fused with the real actors and how the computer produced characters were both non-cartoonish and on the right side of the uncanny valley. Pretty soon we won’t need actors I reckon.