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Why the Hurt won over the Na’vi

In Film on March 9, 2010 at 10:13 am

I’m no Academy member and I don’t know the criteria for judging, but here’s a theory that I have on why this movie won over everyone’s else’s bet, including mine: these days are somewhat the season of the underdogs and the unexpected. Yes, I thought Avatar was a brilliant film and a noble idea of man vs. nature. I thought it had almost all the makings of an Academy Best Picture – but I had to admit there was also something missing. While Cameron’s Avatar showed you a non-existent world which captivated our imaginations, Bigelow’s Hurt Locker, about an EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) unit in Iraq, is probably something some people wouldn’t want to see. The term “hurt locker” is military slang for being injured in an explosion. But this film managed to give it a deeper meaning. It’s a pandora’s box of all the emotions in battle. People say that when they watched Avatar, they felt good and inspired and when they watched Hurt Locker, they felt bad and disappointed. I think therein lies the missing element in Cameron’s sci-fi masterpiece. We felt good even though these horrible things happened to a tribe of Na’vi because we know in the end, they somehow survived. Nevertheless, there was a war in that story. Lots of casualties before the victory. Wait – isn’t that the same thing with Hurt Locker? And so why did we feel bad with the latter? I think it has something to do with a relatable environment. In the Hurt, there was no victory, so to speak. The story sort of goes on. Hurt Locker was disturbing because it proved to be too real. It had a history. It reminded us all why this war is going on in the first place – which brings out opposing views from everyone who care to have an opinion. I watched Hurt Locker several times and every time I dismissed it as a macho film that was made to satisfy a man’s craving for big and realistic explosions. Finally I saw what it was about. It was about men at war in a foreign country and at war with themselves. It’s this internal conflict that seemed to escape Avatar because, well, it probably didn’t need it. It’s a good thing the Hurt had it – it probably was one of the reasons why they won.

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