Strange how no one really talks much anymore about the James Cameron film that sucked up a decade’s worth of labour, cost more than $250 million to make and had people lined up around the block for months to the worldwide box-office tune of $2.7 billion. Avatar was everywhere through Christmas 2009 and beyond, and the tale of a gruff and disabled young hot-shot of a veteran (Sam Worthington; OK, his birth certificate has him older than a teen, but his libido and mental outlook certainly do not) unwittingly thrust into stealth government action to mine the moon Pandora for Earth’s benefit while – gradually, to Worthington’s character Jake Sully’s horror – potentially laying the habitat of the Pandora-dwelling blue Na’vi to waste. The grandeur of the colour, the scope and the 3D were considered touchstones to the future just four years ago – and, for a while at least, they were, with 3D televisions becoming the hot hawk of the moment at electronics stores, and the sudden rush by studios everywhere to render just about every film on the docket in 3D.
The story within Avatar is fairly simple in itself, and many keyed into the love Sully found with Na’vi beauty Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), while others feared we were all on the verge of some sort of impending environmental apocalypse, to the point of stories emerging of Americans considering suicide to avoid the inevitable (stories that James Cameron, in a 2010 interview with MSN, brushed off as apocryphal). In the end, though, Avatar comes down to this: Sully’s fantasy, like Avatar, is adolescent to the core – and both have a lot of growing up to do.