Okay, so the thing was, I was not going to write a post about Avatar because I felt like it was past the time to be discussing it. However, the other night, I got to talking about it with my friend Henry and I got annoyed about it all over again, so I figured I just needed to get it out because it would be better for my psyche. So here goes.
Over the holidays, I went to see Avatar. Even though everyone in the world was practically wetting themselves over this thing because of it’s crazy computer graphics and the fact that it was James Cameron’s first movie since Titanic, I was not impressed. Here is why:
*By the way, here be spoilers, so if you haven’t seen it, don’t say I didn’t warn you*
1. The script was really boring and unoriginal. I’m not saying the same story can’t be told more than once, but I expected something better. People keep defending it by saying “James Cameron’s been working on this for 12 years!” but as far as I’m concerned, that is exactly why it is disappointing – because he had 12 years to fix and tighten the script which he doesn’t seem to have done. For my money, District 9 told a similar story, but better.
2. The compound/mineral/whatever the hell they were trying to get out of the planet was called Unobtainium which, I’m sorry, seems like a placeholder word James Cameron forgot to do a search and replace on.
3. The completely ridiculous Army General bad guy. I like Stephen Lang but I swear to God, he’s playing a Looney Toons character.
4. The fact that they couldn’t seem to decide if the Na’vi tails were sacred plug ins that helped them commune with nature or penises. Earlier in the movie, Sigourney Weaver’s character, Serious Scientist Lady, is like “Don’t play with that or you’ll go blind!” but then later on Zoe Saldana’s character, Sexy Blue Lady, is like “This is how we feel the universe’s life force.” C’mon movie! You’re either making masturbation jokes or talking about the profundity of the universe, but not both. And if they were penises . . .
5. The Na’vi are kind of horse/animal rapists. The scene where the warriors are supposed to subdue the animals by plugging into them against their will is creepy. By this same logic, they are also kind of dendrophiliacs.
6. That “I See You” song and the ever present insertion of the catch-phrase that spawned it. After having to suffer through Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” 56 million times after Titanic came out, I would really have appreciated being spared yet another epic love song.
7. The animation never quite worked for me. Yeah, it was neat that the main characters were computer animated, but it had a kind of uncanny valley feeling for me where I was never totally emersed in what was happening.
8. Holy ever loving crap was it long! I get that long is important in some cases, but those cases usually involve stories about the holocaust, not stories about blue alien people.
9. The fight sequences were actually kind of boring. I love action and I actually checked my watch during the ending battle sequence. It was so by-the-book, I remember thinking “Okay, the skeptic-turned-ally has bought it. The sage chiefton has bought it. The ball-breaking but spunky pilot has bought it. Now all that’s left is for our hero to have a close call but to be saved miraculously at the last minute!” (Also, on another fighting note, the walkers looked pretty much exactly like the machine Ripley used to kill the Queen at the end of Aliens which made me that much more uninterested because James Cameron was so tapped out of originality he had to steal from a movie he made in 1986.)
10. James Cameron’s pretentious and self-congratulatory bull$h!t regarding this movie. Okay, this isn’t about the movie itself, but his attitude about the movie where he goes to awards shows, wins awards that were practically earmarked for him a year ago and then delivers part of his acceptance speech IN A LANGUAGE HE MADE UP. If any other person went around speaking in a language they made up, people would be looking at them like “What is with that crazy person?” but because it’s him, it’s charming and precious. Colour me unimpressed.
Anyway, I can’t wait until awards season is over and people stop talking about this movie because so many better things came out last year that weren’t acknowledged in favour of this dreck.
(And as for James Cameron himself – James, if you could go back to making movies like Aliens, The Abyss and Terminator 2, I would really appreciate it. Until then, don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back for this one.)