Monday, March 15, 2010


So I saw "AVATAR" last night.

First let me say that AVATAR is actually in 4D - 3 dimensions and time. We had to wait in line at the IMAX theater for an HOUR before they let us in to be seated! Jerks.

I give it a B-. It both managed to exceed and fall short of my expectations.

**Some spoilers ahead, but none that you didn't see coming.***

- The script wasn't as awful as I thought it would be. And the acting wasn't too terrible either.

- I knew in advance that it was the same general story as "Ferngully" (and Pocahontas, and Dances with Wolves, etc.) but certain shots and lines of dialogue were lifted DIRECTLY from Ferngully! Maybe James Cameron thought that nobody would notice, but Ferngully is one of my top three favorite movies of all time. I noticed. Maybe one day I will even do a shot-for-shot comparison of the plagiarized scenes.

- I HATE what they did to CCH Pounder! I was under the impression that the Na'vi animation was neat because the Na'vi looked like the actors that played them. This was more or less true of Zoe Saldana and Sam Whatsisface and that Norm guy. But look what they did to CCH Pounder:
Just look!

- Sigourney Weaver rocks my socks off. She was awesome. Maybe the Na'vi could have saved her life if they hadn't taken the time to wrap her in leaves before trying to heal her. What were they thinking?

- Giovanni Ribisi was pretty good, too.

- I don't care if Michelle Rodriguez almost always plays the same character. I like her.

- I felt like Colonel Badguy should have been played by Robert Patrick.

- I liked the part where the giant Mecha fought the giant jungle panther.

- For me, the most compelling scene was wherein Jake Sully gets his pet pterodactyl. That was a cool scene.

- The narrative economy was very tight. Kudos! Well played.

- The idea of the trees having synapses was really cool - original, even. I wish the movie was more about that and less about Ferngully.

- Okay, AVATAR probably should have won best sound design. I guess. Of course, I haven't seen The Hurt Locker, so I don't really know.

- The 3D: Here's my beef. Yes, the film was visually stunning. But I don't think it really added anything. Ostensibly, the point of 3D is to create a more immersive viewing experience, to make the audience feel like they're really there on Pandora. Instead, the 3D effects were distracting - they onlly drew attention to themselves. "Look what we can do! I bet you wanna reach out and touch those space jellyfish, huh?" No, I'd rather pay attention to what's going on, thanks. I think that a good director can give the viewer an immersive experience with more traditional techniques. I know James Cameron can! Remember that scene in Titanic when the ship goes end-up and the one guy falls off and hits the smoke-stack on the way down? I saw Titanic five times in theaters and every single time the guy hit the smoke-stack every single person in the audience cringed and went, "Ooh!" Just the camera angle and the sound design puts the viewer there. There were no moments like that in AVATAR. (That being said, Titanic is coming back to theaters in 3D. And I'm shooting for a sixth time.)

- My other beef: Eywa ex machina. Sure, the white guy comes in to save the day. But when it looks like all hope is lost even for him, the deity *literally* comes to the rescue. F'real?

The image in this post was yoinked from somewhere on the Internets.

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