Thursday, December 2, 2010
We all have seen this movie so I am not going to waste time writing about the story of AVATAR. Instead I am just going to write about why I am so disappointed in this movie. There is nothing original in this movie. Pandora is the planet that most of the movie takes place on. I keep hearing about how unique and wonderful the visuals were for the planet. Everything is so beautiful and awe inspiring. Only such a place can exist in my dreams. What puke! When I finally saw it I thought the whole movie looked like the first level of HALO 3 and that level is a jungle level that TAKES PLACE ON EARTH! The flying mountains were kind of cool, I guess. All the animals of Pandora look like different variations of animals you see on earth only they mixed and matched different characteristics. There are panthers with beaks, monkey lizards and giant dinosaurs with hammer-head shark heads. Is any of that really original?
The start of the movie is quite good. You see all these people moving around in space ships and giant mechs and you really start to get to know the characters. Visually everything is larger than life with the huge trucks and Empire State Building sized diggers and you feel like you are getting sucked into this whole new universe. Most of the people characters are interesting with their little quirks like Sigourney Weaver and her need for a cigarette after avataring.(That's a real word, I'm sure.) Even the bad guys are something to talk about. Stephen Lang is the evil colonel and he is a badass mother trucker. I was rooting for that guy to win. Yea, I know. Us Republicans suck. Everything movie wise is going great until you see........the blue fishy glazed people. These are our protagonists? Instead of rooting for the the space marines to take down evil aliens wearing cool mechsuits with awesome weapons we have to root for the bow and arrow aliens? How boring. Haven't we seen similar scenarios in other lower budgeted films? In fact, if you watched a lot of direct to video or pay-per view movies back in the day you would see similar plots in almost all of the action movies. Usually the movie would be about this hit man who is sent out to kill some guy but after doing so and killing a bunch of other guys he realizes that he just killed the good guys and now he goes back and kill the bad guys. These writers always think that they are making something different but if they would just pay attention to the other movies being made around them they would realize that they aren't. Almost every scene in AVATAR seems lifted from other films. Every character, every scene, every dramatic point feels like nothing more than going through the motions of other films James Cameron should have been paying attention to movies like DANCES WITH WOLVES, FERNGULLY, THE LAST SAMURAI, BRAVEHEART, STARSHIP TROOPERS, THE MATRIX, SOLIDER, TITANIC, ALIENS, and AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER.
The Na'vi look terrible. Let's face it, folks. They are just awful to look at. They immediately take me out of the film. They are tall, lanky, cat faced humanoids. They are so hokey looking. "Photo-realistic" my butt! Kids on the back of milk cartons look "photo-realistic" too but that doesn't bring them back to life. The way they move and speak makes it hard for me to take them seriously. "Unconvincing" is probably the best word to describe them. They don't look real AT ALL! I have a hard time sympathising with them. Its easier to root for the real people who are bad rather than the cartoons that are good because people are complex creatures that have different emotions and motivations even if they are portrayed as one dimensional villains.
AVATAR is way too long for such a simple story. Ninety percent of the film is one big montage of Jake Sully getting in touch with nature. The movie becomes this roller coaster ride in cartoonville with riding on dinosaurs in the air, or falling from trees or running around the jungle. None of it really means anything or adds to the story. All of it could be told in a matter of minutes instead of hours.
I guess overall AVATAR isn't about the story. (Maybe other people's stories.) If anyone says otherwise they are kissing Cameron's bottom. It seems like (to me anyways) that Cameron won't put out a film unless new technology is created to make his grandiose vision come to life. I think that started with T2 with the whole morphing liquid CGI technology. That would explain the lack of originality and why it took ten years to make. All he did was invent a different way to create 3D. The whole movie is pretty much just standing in front of a blue screen. Tell me how this movie is any better visually than the new STAR WARS films. In fact, the original STAR WARS films look a billion times better.
If you aren't into movies that much and see them as merely something to entertain and not art then AVATAR is probably something you will like. It was made for you. But if you watch tons of movies and see them out of love for the art or craft then you will most likely view AVATAR as a this huge vanity project made simply to claim the highest box office spot on the charts. I am a huge fan of ALIENS and the first TERMINATOR but now I can say that I no longer look forward to a James Cameron film.