Blue is the colour... film is the game

It won the Best Movie and Best Director awards at the Golden Globes. Yet James Cameron's 'Avatar' is not the first film to make azure folk cool. Here's the top 10 blue-movie characters who kick the Na'vi's turquoise butts


The Blue Meanies

Far from being peace-loving forest dwellers like Avatar's Na'vi, the Blue Meanies were ruthless dictators who captured Pepperland and banned music. Fortunately The Beatles saved the day in their 1968 hit Yellow Submarine, which won no Golden Globes, but was nominated for a Grammy.

Max Rebo

Not all blue aliens are bean-eating hippies with attractive stripy skin and saucy tails. Max Rebo is the star of Jabba the Hut's in-house band in Return of the Jedi, and is an amoral glutton. More likely to eat the fruit of the Tree of Voices than commune with it; he makes those invading Americans look thoughtful.

Dory

A heart-warming story of filial love, environmental protection and, um, never trusting dentists, Finding Nemo is the bestselling DVD of all time – until someone invents a TV that can broadcast in 3D. Dory, the big blue heroine, is voiced by Ellen DeGeneres, making her even more cool than your average blue fish.

Gonzo

Lover, trumpet player, friend of chickens... The Muppets' Gonzo, aka Gonzo the Great, was a rhapsody in blue when the Na'vi were merely a twinkle in the Tree of Souls. He may not be able to ride dragons, but he will now eat a rubber tyre to the music of "The Flight of the Bumblebee". Music, maestro!

Aladdin

Long before Avatar made $1bn faster than any other film, Walt Disney's blue period took Aladdin to No 1. The 1992 film altered the genie from A Thousand and One Nights in only two major ways – by making him blue, and by giving him the voice of Robin Williams.

The Smurfs

Clearly an early prototype of the Na'vi, Hanna-Barbera's Smurfs were a benign blue species that lived in a wood, respected nature and took care of each other's social and domestic needs. Like the Na'vi, they had their own language, in which random words were replaced with "smurf". All that remained was to stretch the little fellas and Baftas, here we come.

Sonic the Hedgehog

Back in the days when 3D glasses were red and green, and the Iraq war was a conflict about Kuwait, Sonic the Hedgehog was regarded as the height of gaming technology. Human invaders mining unobtanium would be no match for him, since he has seen off the evil genius Dr Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik many times over.

Violet Beauregarde

A pre- Avatar lesson in American greed and over-consumption, Violet Beauregarde was the gum-chewing brat in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. She gets her comeuppance when she chews Willy Wonka's three-course-meal-flavour gum, and turns into a giant blueberry. Watch out, you evil unobtanium miners.

Thomas the Tank Engine

Though arguably less lithe and sexy than the smug members of the Na'vi, Thomas is nonetheless a Really Useful Engine. Avatar has Sigourney Weaver, but Thomas the Tank Engine has Ringo Starr, making the former Beatle responsible for two of the greatest blue movies of all time (see Yellow Submarine, above).

Bella, the Tweenies

Finally, a blue heroine who's even more smug and irritating than Princess Neytiri, the beautiful huntress of the Na'vi Omaticaya clan. Bella, one of the Tweenies, plays the harp, violin, double bass viola, cello and piano, and she sings. A lot. Don't get the theme tune stuck in your head; it's worse than sitting through Avatar's 162 minutes.

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