I admit it, I went to see Avatar. And I enjoyed it. Very much. Not as much as I enjoyed Friday night's episodes of Dollhouse, but they aren't the same. Or maybe they are.
Unlike some people who can't enjoy a movie and appreciate it as a chance to escape and lose oneself in another world without overthinking it, It never crossed my mind to see the movie as an expression of white man's guilt. Really? Some people need to get a life. What I saw were arrogant humans and a corporation that believed they were superior to all life forms that weren't them. Because they had money and what they perceived as the might. Not everything is about race, usually it's about money and who has it and who wants it. Who cares if the Na'Vi are blue and they believe that a Force runs through everything, it's not like this was the first time, is it ? After a few minutes they looked normal and "real life" looked rough and evil. From an acting standpoint Sam Worthington was more believable as an avatar than he was as a human being.
James Cameron has always been a visionary. Terminator rocked, The Abyss was tolerable, didn't bother with Titanic because I don't really enjoy watching stories I know the end (the boat sank with more victims than survivors, what more did you need to know?), but Avatar was the most visually stunning movie I have ever seen. It felt like being in an acrylic tunnel at an underwater zoo. Extremely pleasing and worth seeing more than once. Even with the 3D glasses, which thankfully were nothing like the days of yore. Besides, New Zealand always looks good.
Dollhouse, on the other hand, has the Rossum Corporation, a most evil group of people who believe they are entitled to whatever fantasy they desire. Like the politicians we currently have "representing" us, it's all about the bottom line. For them and whoever is pulling their strings. No matter what the cost, even if it's the end of civilization. At least for those humans who aren't worthy.
Eliza Dushku (who's come a long way as an actress since James Cameron's only comedy, True Lies) has been putting in much better performances since the beginning of the glacially slow first season and is as believable as Sam Worthington as a hero (every time I heard him do a voice over all I could think of was T4 and the disaster I thankfully never saw) fighting a much more likely scenario. Saving my ass from a corporation that views average people as means to an end. Which is becoming all too likely in today's political climate of making rich people happy.
As with Firefly, Joss Whedon is attacking a culture that is obsessed with obedience to the corporate mantra to the exclusion of all else. Including survival of a species. Ours. Happiness isn't big component.
The special effects in Avatar are absolutely spectacular, the best I have ever seen and well worth the price of admission. Twice. Dollhouse has a frightening premise and one we are much more likely to encounter given today's paranoia and disregard of personal privacy. Unfortunately this does not bode well for the human race. No matter who you think you are.
Yup, I'm a geek.