Sunday, 14 February 2010

Avatar Shmavatar

Finally got around to seeing this Avatar movie.  Highest grossing movie of all time.  Yah.  What a steaming pile of shit.  A pretty and well detailed pile of shit but steaming and smelly nonetheless.

Had to see it in 3D just to get the full experience before judging.  The last movie I saw in 3D was Jaws III back during the 3D craze of the 80's.  It was a gimmick then, it's a gimmick now.  You just don't look as goofy now with polarized lenses instead of the old red and blue ones.  There was a 3D trailer for the next Shrek movie and I have to admit that got me thinking 3D was going to be OK.  The depth of field was impressive  and I thought this might actually work.  But no, over a more than feature length film, it doesn't add anything other than a headache and a resemblance to Buddy Holly.

So, take the 3D out.  And, please, stop this insane rush to deliver 3D to my living room.  I don't want it.  I don't want to wear glasses to watch TV.  I know there are many people who have to wear glasses all the time but ask them how they feel about having to wear TWO pairs of glasses to watch a movie.  There are so many things I want technology to deliver to my entertainment world but 3D is not one of them.

But back to this movie.  I will say the CG is remarkable.  Well done.  The facial expressions are well translated, the wildlife was fascinating, and hooray for blue boobies.  But it still strikes me as cartoonish.  District 9 is by far the superior blending of CG and the real world.  Honestly, I can't believe anyone could watch those two movies back to back and come away thinking Avatar was a more impressive movie technologically.

And that's the best thing I can say about Avatar.  Good technology but not the best I've seen in the last year.  All other aspects of this movie fall far short.  The plot is a hippie diatribe against corporate greed and military force that we've seen many times before, the script could have been penned by a twelve year old, and the acting is mediocre at best.

James Cameron's political leanings are on full display as well.  When evil colonel dude says "we have to fight terror with terror", I thought that was little too on the nose.  But then he follows that up with saying he's going to deploy some "shock and awe".  Subtle, real subtle.  Not that I disagree with his politics, it just seemed forced and jarring when they popped up in the middle of his hippie smurf movie.

But the moment where I absolutely lost it on this gimpfest was close to the end with the big battle between the main good guy and the main bad guy.  Bad guy is in his big mechanized robot suit and good guy is fighting with his avatar body.  Good guy disarms bad guy but then, from out of nowhere, bad guy pulls a giant bowie knife from out of his robot suit somewhere.  This makes absolutely no sense from a design standpoint.  You have a giant robot that carries giant guns.  Why do you outfit this thing with a giant bowie knife?  It's a robot.  He can crush things.  He doesn't need to stab or slice things.  And even if they wanted to give him a stabby, slicey implement, there's no reason why it should be fashioned after a bowie knife instead of a plain blade or stiletto.  Government contract design, obviously.

So, after all the predictable plot turns, guess what?  Good guys win!  Militaristic bad guys are marched off the planet by the kind-hearted tree hugging good guys.  Yay!  But nobody really explains why the bad guys aren't just going to come back with some nukes, wipe the entire surface of the planet clean of all life forms and then strip mine the mo fo.  Now THAT'S a sequel I'd pay money to see.

So, that was it.  The movie event of the year if not the decade.  It's made a boat load of cash which ensures that Cameron will continue his transformation into George Lucas and his next movie will be even bigger and more ridiculous.  Nominated for 9 academy awards.  If it wins anything but the visual effects award, I'll be physically ill.  It's just not that good a movie.

And that's all I have to say about that.

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