So you’ve all heard about Avatar and how it’s such an awesome movie. Everyone has been telling you about how the effects are awe inspiring, the plotline is gripping, and the characters are believable. So is this movie really the shit or not?
Go back 3 months prior to the movie coming out. I sat in the theatre as the movie trailers went by. “Wow, Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law! Sherlock Holmes.. Got to watch that!” It was after this trailer when the blue men and women appeared on screen running around with bows and arrows. My instinct was “What the…? World of Warcraft the movie!?” Soon after, I saw that huge-ass title, Avatar with actors I’d really never heard of. The only thing that caught me was the Director – but to be honest, Titanic wasn’t my cup of tea and nor was Terminator 3. The effects were nice and all, but we’re now in the age where we’re starting to see flaws with using too much CGI (i.e. Transformers 2). Put all this aside because I later found out that this movie was being advertised as James Cameron’s little project that took 10 years in the making due to the limited technology – Talk about hyping it up.
Pandora is a world inhabited by the Na’vi, blue skinned aliens who are correctly described as indigenous folk living in the forests of Pandora. I have to say, the effects blew me away – Pandora is beautiful and when James Cameron promised spectacular visuals, he delivered. From the characters to the plant life and finally to the battle scenes – All breathtaking. One thing that was unbelievable was how similar the avatars characteristics were to their hosts. The world of Pandora is beautifully laid out and something unique from what I have seen in the sci-fi genre.
And that’s where the positive comments stop. The first thing that sucked was the acting – Apart from our protanogist, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver) and their badass pilot (Michelle Rodriguez), everyone else outshone in bad performances either being unbelievable or just plain annoying. Taking the Colonel (Stephen Lang) for instance, we have one of the most stereotypical forms of masculinity ever – you might aswell replace him with a man in a penis suit calling everyone a pussy and drinking gatorade in every scene. It is hard to actually judge the animated actors because by itself it’s tough to even get emotionally attached to the characters – As good as the expressions are, it always stuck in my mind that this was just some 3D graphics. Jake Sully is the only one who appeared to have any character development in the story while James Cameron just threw the rest in front of us assuming we would instantly believe in these one-dimensional characters. An example of this is Michelle Rodriguez who plays Jake Sully’s badass pilot – Now, she is a very talented actress and I enjoyed her in The Fast & the Furious (2001) and S.W.A.T. (2003). In Avatar, Rodriguez makes the most with what little she has (literally) – With the few dialogues she has, she still outperforms the others on screen. However, James Cameron screws things up for her by assuming we are idiots by not giving any explanation as to why this pilot is willing to risk her life for aliens (apart from the fact that she’s sort of the taxi driver for a team that works with them, nope that’s not enough).
Moving on, the plot can be summarized in 3 words: The Last Samurai. Yeah, that Tom Cruise shit. A movie 10 years in the making and we are thrown a blatantly pathetic plotline.
So all in all, yes, the visuals are amazing – but this isn’t an excuse to throw bad performances, crappy scripts and a predictable & uninteresting story at the audience. If you are impressed by pretty colours then yes, the effects are done so well they will immerse you within seconds. If you are actually paying attention to what’s going on, you will realize you can predict just about everything that’s about to happen. For me, I loved the animation but after a while, I started to realize the story was becoming very familiar. I think what really was done wrong was overhype this movie.
Possible Spoilers below!
Keeping with tradition, here are my 5 nit-picks for Avatar:
- “Unobtainium” – LOL
Wow, is it me or were the writers really creative when it came to naming this mysterious ore? This extremely unobtainable ore… Hmmm. I actually laughed out loud when I heard this – Comic relief? Maybe.
- Why does Colonel Hardwood’s Mech have a combat knife?
I wonder if anyone stopped to wonder why a Mech needs a combat knife. It’s pointless! Surely it would be better to put large blades on their arms rather than give them a combat knife. Don’t get me started on how there’s a holster for the combat knife.
- The humans that stayed back
Okay, so among the lucky ones who stayed back, we have Jake Sully, Norm Spellman (Joel Moore) and Dr. Max Patel (Dileep Rao). Norm Spellman can easily be transferred to his avatar just as Jake Sully was – But what about Dr. Max Patel? Yeah, he’s the indian doctor who was told he wasn’t man enough to escape with the rest. He’s the only human left on Pandora and he needs a gas mask (that I can only assume we are to believe can last forever) to survive. What the heck happens to him?
- The hair of the Na’vi
It’s pretty funny how the Na’vi can connect with nature. Not a spiritual connection, nope. They connect via cables from their hair. Kind of like a plug and play thing going on. The Na’vi are like walking USB thumb drives.
- Very tactical strategy by the marines
In the final battle, the marines’ plan is to strap together tons of explosives and just literally drop it on their enemies. This has to be the stupidest strategy ever. Also, for some reason, the marines only have one drop ship carrying this dangerous payload. I guess there’s no wind on Pandora to worry about the explosives missing their target.
I must also find 5 great things about Avatar. Here we go:
- Epic final battle
The final battle is definitely spectacular. Although it was probably 98% animated, it surprisingly didn’t feel this way due to how immersed you be. There is focus on different perspectives of the battle which I think was also done very well. The last one-on-one battle also was pretty damn good.
- Pandora is Beautiful
Just can’t deny the fact that the world of Pandora was a work of art. It is both shown as a paradise of wonder and also a dangerous environment inhabited with the unknown. Very amazing.
- Sam Worthington
Great performance! There was a point when the Aussie accent snuck out – Listen carefully in a scene where he says “pain”. I would like to see more movies starring this dude.
- Parker (played by Giovanni Ribisi)
Everytime I saw this guy, I gagged. Why? Because everytime I see Giovanni Ribisi, even alongside Nicolas Cage, I am always on the edge of my seat waiting for him to act like a retard. To me, he has already played his role in Friends as Phoebe’s illiterate brother so well that I will never see him as a serious actor.
- There really isn’t anything else
I’ve sat here for about 40 minutes trying to think of a reason to watch this, but the 4 above (3 actually, since the last one is more of a personal preference) are the only reasons this movie is good.
I would like to add I paid $58AUD for my two tickets. I have no idea how this happened because I was offered a special deal with popcorn and coke. I definitely didn’t get my $58 worth.