Tangled up in blue
January 18, 2010
So the New Yorker‘s David Denby likes this new film about insurgent smurfs by the guy who used to make excellent movies about robots or aliens?
James Cameron’s “Avatar” is the most beautiful film I’ve seen in years.
Oh, really? Maybe you should get out to the cinema more often, then. Oh no wait, you are one of the New Yorker‘s regular film critics! You must have seen a lot of films in “years”! And this is the most “beautiful” of them all? Really?
Amid the hoopla over the new power of 3-D as a narrative form, and the excitement about the complicated mix of digital animation and live action that made the movie possible, no one should ignore how lovely “Avatar” looks, how luscious yet freewheeling, bounteous yet strange.
Luscious seems to be one of Denby’s favourite terms of approbation — he chivalrously applied it to Shelley Winters in his terrible recent book; and a glance at the New Yorker‘s archive shows that Denby has also found luscious the sets of Moulin Rouge, Peter Jackson’s heaven in The Lovely Bones, the vineyards in Sideways, and “the over-all visual style” of Tales of Amelia Earheart.
He really gets going, though, when applying luscious to people. There is “the young couple with luscious flesh” in Snakes on a Plane (remember them? me neither!); “a luscious but vacuous married woman” in L’Auberge Espagnole; in Talk to Her, there is “the naked Alicia, who has a lusciously ripe figure”; while in Bright Star, “Abbie Cornish, eyes widening, breasts partly bared, is a luscious ideal”. Perhaps best of all is Denby’s description of Ava Gardner, in Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, as “looking unspeakably luscious”. If so, it might after all be best not to try to speak it?
Anyway! Did you like Avatar, readers?