Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Google Glitch

I came across this print screen of a Google search. Speechless. I usually appreciate Google correcting my spelling when I'm not 100% sure on something,  but this is too much. What? Is Google all of a sudden a stereotype churner rather than a search engine?  Admitedly, this image made me ell oh ell (LOL) a little bit before actually going straight-faced in disgust. Maybe this indicates something about race relations in America, because, according to Google Insights, 100% of the people searching for "white people stole my car" were from the United States. Some say it's a prank..... sigh.
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Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Black Pearl Review: Avatar (/ˈævətɑː(r)/)

OK, so it's a Monday evening, and I'm free as a bird. "What to do, what do?", I ask myself as I tilt my head at two o'clock.  I know! (lightbulb moment) Go see that movie that's been a trending topic on Twitter for the last week. "Avatar is friggen awsome" wrote one tweeter! Well, if it's friggen awsome, I had better get down to the cinema to check this bitch out!

Now, I haven't been to the movies for like, what, at least six years (don't judge me!) so had no idea how much it cost anymore or even where the nearest one (projecting in 3D) to where I live is. So, as you do, I let Google do the talking and hey presto! Information at my fingertips! I could rant on about my reaction when my eyes beheld the actual price to watch the film (lawd! is that how much they charge these days?) but, that's another blog entry all together. All I will say on the matter is five syllables: day-light-rob-e-ry!

So, I get there, queue up and wait to be served. To my misfortune, rowdy teenagers (I say that as if I'm an old foegey but I'm  really not much older than them) in front of me start giving me a damn headache before I even purchase my tickets.  They started debating about whether they should watch it in 3D or 2D. "2D blud, 2D!" said one attempting to convincingly pull off some swagger. I'd be ashamed to say that out loud. Why on earth they'd want to see it in 2D instead of 3D was beside me (truth be told, the cheapos just didn't want to pay extra!). Why would that even be up for discussion? It's like saying would you like to have your eyes to watch the movie? Erm, yes, please. 'Twould help the viewing experience tremendously, no!? Then: "Wait!", one of the girls proclaimed patting her impressively well gelled down side fringe "We can't go in screen three cos it says 'ere there's no heating in there doe!" Is she being serious? Madame should have put on some clothes rather than taken them off before she left the damn house!

And talk about seeing a Z list celeb. Well, I suppose it's debatable whether he's even a celeb. No, I lie. What am I saying? It's not debatable at all. Queuing up was Victor Ebuwa from Big Brother 5 (don't ask how I remembered that, or him!) I almost didn't recognise him with the extra dozen (OK I'm exaggerating a tad bit) pounds he's put on. He 'aint no celeb...Pahahaha! Ahem...

Finally, I hear the two words my ears were eagerly anticipating: "Next please". About damn time (I'm kidding, I'm actually a very patient person, *coughNOTcough*)! After being corrected by the sternly obstinate guy at the ticket booth on how to pronounce Avatar, I developed somewhat of a dislike for the place:

Can I have two tickets to see Avaiter (that's how I pronounced it) in ther-ree dee, please", I said enthusiastically with an admitedly cheesy smile.

He inched closer to the glass, raising his immaculately plucked right eyebrow (which for some unknown reason,I couldn't take my eyes off as he spoke). "You mean Av-at- ar!", he said

As much as I appreciated him correcting me, my smile disappeared faster than a can of beer left alone in a room with an alcoholic. I replied in an aloof manner: "Oh, OK. Whatever the film's called. You know which one I'm talking about.There's only one that sounds remotely like what I just said".

Well, excuse my ignorance but I'm not really into computer games so I had no idea it was an actual word, like in the actual dictionary:

Avatar /ˈævətɑː(r)/ DJ /'ævəˈtɑr/ KK:

a picture of a person or an animal representing a person on a computer screen, especially in a computer game or chat room.

Of course it all makes perfect sense to me now, 160 minutes and a consumed tub of popcorn later!

After finding a seat and tripping up a lady with my bag (accidentally, of course), who almost flew down the stairs and let out a squeal (Ratatouille is on DVD, love. Wrong movie. Should've stayed at home), I was ready to be sucked in with the masses to enjoy the spectacle (mind you, that lady should have watched where she was going).

And what visit to the cinema would be complete without a latecomer who insists on making you get up so they can sit in the few empty seats in the flipping middle of the row? They must have been eating their carrots because I don't know how they spotted those seats in the dark! "Excuse me, please." One of the pests whispered. "You're excused", I whispered back shooing her away. Fine! I got up. "You gonna give me back- in currency preferably- the 2 minutes I just missed?", I thought. I kissed my teeth as loud as I could to express my disgust with their lack of punctuality but the popcorn in my mouth wasn't having it and it sounded more like a slurp!

Anyway, I digress.... The film, directed by James Cameron (the same guy who directed Titanic), is about an ex-Marine who finds himself thrust into hostilities on an alien planet filled with exotic life forms. It's set in the middle of the 22nd Century on a distant plannet called Pandora. Here, earthlings mine a rare mineral and try to maintain civil relations with the indigenous 10 feet tall, blue skinned people called Na'vi, who are understandably very protective of their sacred lands.

The earthlings have modeled organic avatars on Na'vi DNA which are controlled with a human consciousness. Cue (the ex-marine) Jake Sully (Australian actor Sam Worthington). Out of inquisitivity and sheer luck he gains access into the most suspicious of the local tribes. The earthling feel that  by setting up schools and teaching them English they will win the natives' trust.

If Jake's avatar can persuade the Na'vi into leaving their jungle home, then the situation would be a very amicable one. And so the adventure ensues...

There's a Star Wars meets Lord Of The Rings vibe to the film, which is a good thing if you liked one or both of those films, a bad thing if you liked neither of them.

In all honesty, it took me about 45 minutes to get into it and for my eyes to adjust to the 3D projection. At first I was unconvinced of it's greatness, thinking "Is this what I paid my money for?", but to my delight, I found soon myself immersed .

I loved how at night, Pandora's reinforest seemed to be transformed into a coral reef with phosphorescent glowing plants and the ground beneath their feet lights up as the Na'vi take each step (I couldn't help but think of Michael Jackson's Billie Jean music video). Beautiful, I thought.

The film is jam-packed with the typical binary oppositions of good versus evil, consumer wealth versus spiritual wealth, human versus alien and there's a love story in there too!

The only criticisms I have are that 1) the 3D enhances the viewing but isn't anything spectacular. and  2) The plot is kind of  lightweight, and slightly clishé. It's typical of your standard bad guys with big machines trying to take over helpless indigenous people's land narrative. In fact, it's pretty much a blueprint of the film Dances With Wolves. Sorry, I had to say it.

I don't want to ruin it for those of you who haven't seen it yet but in it's entirety, it's a pretty darn good movie and I'd recommend it to anyone. Yes, it delivers on the hype and I can gladly say that it was worth my money. Every penny. Oh, and don't be put off by the two and a half hour running time because it's so good you won't be clock-watching.

I give Avatar 8 pearls out of 10. I'd expect nothing less, considering it cost almost a quarter of a b-b-b-billion dollars to produce!

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Let the film's trailer below wet your appetite






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