Nov 16

“I didn’t play a villain; I played a man doing his job” – Stephen Lang

That is how badass actor Stephen Lang describes his role as Avatar’s antagonist Col. Miles Quaritch.

It was a brilliant portrayal, lost to many moviegoers due to being blindly distracted by the blue giants dominating the scenes and the protagonist Jake Sully’s quest to score some blue booty (he got it too #beastmode).

All it takes is one look at Colonel Miles to know that he isn’t the type of man that you go to begging for a day off. The man looked every bit the committed military type that has been in the dance for so long that he is harder than penitentiary steel. Quaritch lived in a time when the technology allowed for a man’s scars to be removed yet he kept a visible scratch across his puss to remind him daily that he can never let his guard down.

Colonel Quaritch harbored no personal feelings towards the natives that he was called in to threaten but he was willing to do anything that his superiors commanded to a fault and it made him the ultimate soldier. Quaritch trained daily and his sinewy, scarred and tan skin told epics on the past he had even without him mentioning it. His commands were direct, straightforward and uncompromised and presence was all he needed as a man of few words.

From the Avatar Wiki: He regularly worked out to off-set the low gravity on Pandora so he didn’t get “soft”. He was in outstanding physical condition, despite being middle aged, and he was known to leave his exopack back in his base for short periods when entering combat in the poisonous atmosphere of Pandora when he felt the situation demanded it. An expert with his AMP suit, he was still familiar with combat techniques as demonstrated by his marksmanship and his hand-to-hand combat skills.

Despite being a fierce and merciless warrior, Quaritch claimed that he “takes care of his own”, and appeared to have good relations with his men, who all seemed to respect him as a leader.

Colonel Miles Quaritch is a reel man of cinema because he exemplifies the final phase of what becomes of a man sworn to duty and hardened to anything else. The part was acted perfectly and if you need an example of a consummate warrior, Quaritch was it…. Yes Avatar fans he was, moreso than the fierce Neytiri who let matters of the heart cloud her judgment.

Quaritch battled to the bitter end and not so much out of the need to complete his mission but because fighting was what he loved and Neytiri granted him the best death a warrior can have. He is the reason I had a hard time being 100% pro-Navi and he is also the reason why I watch Avatar whenever it is on.

If you’re looking for blood and guts in a Sci-Fi setting; this man is it. Colonel Miles Quaritch, badass, super soldier and a reel man of cinema.

See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.
  • Zoot Sutra

    Colonel Quaritch to me was the only good part of the entire movie. He was up front about what he was he needed done to Sully and kept no secrets. Sully chose to string everybody along so he could fritter away his deadline running around in his new blue cat suit body and nailing the stereotypical hot chieftain’s daughter ( who was inconveniently engaged to another man, a fact Sully knew from the very start). And while I don’t agree that the RDA had any right to blow up the Na’vi’s Honeycomb Hideout, the impression I pulled away from the movie was that until Sully completed, ah, “diplomatic relations” with Neytiri, he was totally cool with the idea of Hometree getting turned into matchsticks by killdozers. No warning the Na’vi ahead of time, no personal moral struggle of loyalty, just plot contrivances to make the Na’vi love him again and to become their leader of undeserved awesomeness. That’s not what I call a hero.

    • You make a solid point about Sully, his motivation was selfish (ass and the ability to walk) over any kind of moral anything… but I’m wondering, did they try to say any different about him? You’re right he was far from a hero which is why you will only find me giving props to this man right here.

      • Zoot Sutra

        Not that I noticed; but then again, they really didn’t waste any type of character development on any of the actors beyond the bare minimum to distinguish them as either “heroes” or “villains” in the audience’s mind. Sully was just dragged along from plot point to plot point by the script instead of making decisions based on any moral code or common sense for that matter. He meets the obligatory love interest in the form of an alien chieftain’s hot daughter (and you can practically hear the clock counting down the screentime minutes before the inevitable hook-up), there is a rival in the form of a (justifiably) jealous fiance added for drama, the haughty princess’s contempt of Sully inexplicably turns to love, the tribe finds out about his betrayal and casts him out, then loves him again when he turns up with the sweetest ride on the block, blah blah blah…and nobody ever calls him out on the facts that he stole another man’s bride, disrupted the line of succession of an indigenous tribe, fed information to Quaritch which led to the attack on Hometree and the death of the chief and half of the tribe, and leads an attack on a vastly more advanced enemy, the utter annihilation of the Na’vi by which is only averted when the moon’s magic tree-goddess finally decides to get off her ass and sends every rhino-shark and xenomorph cat-bus within a ten klick range to curbstomp the mercenaries, something which she could have done AT ANY TIME since the RDA first set foot on Pandora. Which leads me to believe that the ultimate goal of the script was to get Sully shoved into the catsuit permanently, so that he could usurp the position of Omaticayan chief and become the most awesome Na’vi that ever existed, bar none. Any plot anomalies that contradicted this goal was simply handwaved away or even ignored.

        I’m looking forward to the sequel “Avatar 2: The Humans Com Back and Nuke This Site From Orbit (It’s the Only Way to be Sure).”

      • Zoot Sutra

        And now there may be a chance for payback, as James Cameron announced that Stephen Lang will be back for all 3 Avatar sequels. “Nothing’s over while I’m breathing,” indeed.

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