I took the boys to see James Cameron’s Avatar this afternoon. We saw the 3-D version and it was absolutely awesome. Cameron is known for making the most expensive movies ever, (Avatar is reputed to have cost $500million) and this is the next step in movie technology.

It now seems possible to do virtually anything with a combination of computer wizardry, special effects, animation and new technology. The visual effects, action sequences and the imaginative world that is created are beautiful and mind bogglingly amazing.

However, there are drawbacks. The story is pretty much cookie cutter Hollywood adventure fare. You’ve got a hero. You’ve got a fair maiden. You’ve got a villain. You’ve got a victim. You’ve got chase scenes and love scenes and epic battles. In saying that, the cookie that is produced is a darn good cookie, but the basic plot is pretty predictable popcorn munching stuff.

Also, don’t bother looking for anything too deep and meaningful. To give him credit, Cameron does attempt to make his movie meaningful, but it’s all pretty much of a yawn at best, a creepy New Age tract and left wing sermon at worst. See, the bad guys are the American military-industrial machine. Far in the future (but really now because this is a parable right?) they have invaded an alien rain forest planet inhabited by noble savages who are in touch with Mother Nature. The army business alpha type guys only see trees to be pulled down to make way for their lucrative mining operation. (It’s all about big oil and destroying the rain fores– geddit?) The sensitive noble savages see their entire beautiful ecosystem being destroyed, but with the help of their earth mother Gaia type goddess they pull it off and defeat Mr Muscle.

Don’t get me wrong. I think a totally unrestrained military-industrial complex is a scary bad thing, but I also think the sentimental, tree hugging, navel gazing Luddite budding buddhist types are just as awful in a different way. A plague on both their houses…

What I’d like to see is the same cool, hi tech, space age, otherworldly treatment given to C.S.Lewis’ two best science fiction novels: Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra. I’d have Jeremy Irons for Dr Ransome.

Tell you what. I’ll write the screenplay if anyone out there has $500 million they’d like to invest…