Escape to the Movies: Avatar

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I'd STILL fuck her brains out.

I really felt like this was easily the most overrated movie of 2009. It wasn't exactly terrible, nor am I bothered by the generic plot line lifted from Dances et. all, but I was seriously bored about an hour in. The reason: for all it's $300 million budget to create the visual effects, I was turned off by the lackluster writing and acting which made the characters fell completely unrelatable.

I don't care if a plot has been reused or played out, so long as it is again used in a way that is enjoyable and refreshing. Avatar simply wasn't that for me. I just can't enjoy a work (of any kind) that seems to totally sacrifice narrative and character development for the sake of reveling in its visual effects only. Honestly, this tripe almost won best picture?

Also, it was too long.

I saw this movie with my hubby and we both fell absolutely in love with it despite the plot's familiarity. I agreed with every single thing you said in this review.

I've got to say, after just sitting through this, I found it very difficult to care about. My banal, Y-chromosome self is certainly turned on by broad, well-captured action, but when it's set up by almost two hours of rote character and story and underscored by what felt like a forced piece of "this is our stand for survival" music, it undermined the whole thing for me.

The only brilliance to this film is topographical. The visuals are top notch, and the artistry of Pandora is quite a rush. Apart from that, not only was there nothing for me to really praise as being anything but somewhat above average, but there was nothing there to pull me back into additional viewings. There were no character transformations that stirred me (or even remotely surprised me), no performances that managed to dazzle me (Lang's Quaritch was the best thing of it all), and I can't comprehend how Horner's score was nominated for an Oscar. I'm the guy that notices music in film, and this score barely registered at all.

Overrated? Yes, and given its box office haul, I'd say the most overrated of all time. I didn't connect with a single character in the film (weigh that against the fact that I felt strongly for Carl Fredricksen, a character that's more caricature than photoreal and is fifty-five years my senior). Would I normally take such offense to environmental messages, high-watermark ambition, generic plot, and stiff character-types? Only when they're used so bluntly and unashamedly.

And only when the masses somehow think this entertaining, but ultimately tepid stuff epitomizes cinematic brilliance.

Also, the environmental stuff was way too overdone. It wound up vying for supremacy when weighed against the flat story, as opposed to being a cleverly veiled piece of subtext for an otherwise entertaining film.

Who's going to stop the exploitation of the navi? Well, the furries of course! N-no, I'm serious, the furry community got all butthurt assbent out of shape about the bloody blue freaks and their nature first "We love peace even though we kill each other" culture. Seriously annoying to be around, glad it's done with for now. I'm not looking forward to the sequel.

Sure the movie was good, but the aftermath sucked. And yes, I'm a furry, so I have a unique perspective on how much furries suck.

Are you kidding me? This movie was NOTHING more than a political to get people on the "Green Team" and hate themselves more because they wake up every morning and waste gasoline to get to their jobs.

Yea sure its got good animation and everything, the acting is good, the originality in the setting's plants and animals is ok...

And THEN there's the quote "We will fight terror, with terror" (anti war on iraq much?) Now you have soldiers and veterans who see this movie and hate themselves.

People have commited suicide because they couldn't live on (the totally unoriginal name for a planet) Pandora, and thats just sad.

I don't care about the story anymore.
I had a chance maybe to want to see it.
Then it got the Halo treatment.

The fact that the special effects and computer generated graphics in a movie or game are as good as they come, has no god-damn bearing on the quality of the movie or game in question!

I'm sick and tired of hearing "But the animation was amazing!" If I want to see something really fancy, I'll go to a stinking art gallery, I want to see a story and the fact that the graphics are so high quality suddenly is in the way! And I know there is maybe one or two other people out there, *at best*, that share the following opinion, but once something gets hyped beyond the actual quality, I immediately deem it, for lack of a word that concretely connotates the strength in this opinion,

SHIT.

Kiribati is pronounced Kiribas. I've been there.

I agree with you. Remember the (pains me to say it) pants on the ground guy? That was funny the first night it was on. It was funny to talk about the following day. After that, i wanted to punch whoever quoted it.

same with spider pig, the gummy bear song, "charlie bit my finger"... if people honestly think they are still funny then that's just sad

I HATE this movie. It is so boring! The characters and plots are cliche and uninteresting. The only thing this movie had going for it were the visuals. That is something people CAN use as an excuse for video game (though not a GOOD one, it is kind of valid), but not a movie. Movies are about character, story, and emotion, and this movie failed at all levels! I was falling asleep watching this!

EvilChicken25:
Snip

Very well said and I agree. I happened to enjoy the movie with my family when we watched it at home. We all enjoyed how it incorporated familiar story elements and messages yet presented it in a new way that we had not really seen before. It has its flaws, but overall I like the final product.

Yeah, the environments look nice, but it's not like everything (the alien lifeforms for example) look incredible to the point where my mind is blown and I glaze over anything wrong. The art is indeed fantastic, but that is only a part of the whole movie.

Like anything, it's not going to appeal to all audiences with varying degrees of interest or tolerance. For example, I don't mind some "don't destroy the earth" messages because Avatar didn't exceed my "Green" tolerance level.

good review and the deviantart thing was pretty funny to

and as for the last part seriously, yes i would

Finally saw it. Was it worth the cost?

For me? No. Definitely not.
Why? Because this is another textbook example of why special effects do not make a movie. They can make an existing movie better, but by no means should they form the entire basis for a film.

This is the same logic behind why I still find Pixar movies far more engrossing than their Dreamworks competitors. Dreamworks has a few decent titles under their belt, but none of them compare to the cinematic presence of just about any given Pixar title.
Why? Because in a Pixar movie, we're given characters and scenarios that run deeper than how they're presented.

This is what made Ratatouille better than Over the Hedge.
Over the Hedge isn't a bad flick; in fact, it has one of my favorite CGI scenes in any movie ever ("Time-stop Squirrel"), but I don't really enjoy watching it as a whole because most of the movie annoys me. Every time we establish an emotional or story presence, it is immediately obliterated by something going on in the background or some stupid running gag ("My tail is tingling!") breaks it all up, like it has ADHD.

I felt the same exact thing as I watched Avatar; I kept flashing back to "Dances with Wolves", and how it kept its presence better despite being nearly 20 years apart.
Similarly, where Ferngully fails because it was a preachy, blunt, hippy-propaganda film, Avatar fails because it's also one-dimensional and blunt (though certainly not as preachy).

Avatar, on its own merits isn't bad, but it is certainly overrated, and in my eyes, Cameron doesn't deserve a tenth of the praise he's getting (or giving himself) for it.

I feel like I'm in an increasingly shrinking demographic that doesn't like any of James Cameron's movies. For me they range from meh(Abyss, Terminator) all the way down to dear god I wish I hadn't seen that(Avatar, Aliens). Avatar, while looking phemonanaly(like Crysis), was a new level of generic with dialogue that makes me want to pull my own ears off. Same thing happen with Aliens.

There are so many better action films, District 9 comes to mind, that can beat Avatar with a mear bat of the eye, but whats remember is an overated, glossy, boring, action flick that is still making piles of money and is being rereleased in theaters again.

I guess its like me and The Shining. Everyone loves the movie and the book. I just love the book. Its not Crimson, but its damn near the best horror novel I've read. Yet when I talk about it, the movie always comes up first.

It is worth noting the Robert Murdoch and Fox as a whole has now turned on the movie. Hollywood believed that Avatar would be a fantastic flop (thus why you see next to no products based on it), and that the only good thing that would come out of it would be teh technology,thats why Murdoch invested in it. Now that it has actaully become a big sucess, murdoch,and even macdonalds to a certain extent, are turning on it,decrying the movie for making Americans look bad.
TO which i would say "HUh, i didn't see one stars and stripes there. You sure they were americans? Wait, you mean america invades other people's land and takes whatever they want? I never..."

actually, I had ONE problem with this movie that almost no one mentions. Everything that lives on pandora, from analogues of birds, lizards, horses, wolves, monkeys, etc, ALL have 6 limbs. They are Hexapods. Yet the Navii themselves only have 4 limbs, they're tetrapods like us. To someone like me who studied evolution that is JARRING, they don't even have vestigial traces of limbs they used to have, 2 little bumps on their elbows or under their arm pits would have been all I needed!

But that's just a minor nit pick, otherwise I loved it, even if it did get a bit heavy handed with the environmental statement, but we need that to stay in the public consciousness so we can get some legislation passed to fight global warming!

angel85:
actually, I had ONE problem with this movie that almost no one mentions. Everything that lives on pandora, from analogues of birds, lizards, horses, wolves, monkeys, etc, ALL have 6 limbs. They are Hexapods. Yet the Navii themselves only have 4 limbs, they're tetrapods like us. To someone like me who studied evolution that is JARRING, they don't even have vestigial traces of limbs they used to have, 2 little bumps on their elbows or under their arm pits would have been all I needed!

But that's just a minor nit pick, otherwise I loved it, even if it did get a bit heavy handed with the environmental statement, but we need that to stay in the public consciousness so we can get some legislation passed to fight global warming!

sorry, i can't resist doing this becasue i am a massive avatar nerd, but: Yes, the vast majority of lifeform on Pandora are hexapods and the Navi are the odd ones out. This has lead to Grace Augustine posing a theory that the Na'vi may not, in fact, be indginous to Pandora and may have migrated there, either from other planets in the alpha centauri alpha system, or from a planet beyond, and if that is the case, then it is liekly that thier technology was unable to adapt to Pandora's vicious enviroment, so instead they just went Native. There are also Theories that they evolved from the polylemuris, that still have four arms, but those arms are mostly joined together by a flap of skin, the thought being that evolution just finished the job over millions of years.

Really late in the game, but Avatar is simply the most overhyped film at the time.
Don't get me wrong I am willing to pay full price just too watch the last 30 minutes of the film. But aside from the last 30 minutes, this is pretty much a snoozefest as far as I'm concerned.

If only James Cameron ditch the whole eco-warriors vs corporation and making this film more like Vietnam war in space i think that's gonna be way more interesting than this

the problem with Avatar was the fact that it had nothing new in it at all. It is not a good movie.
A movie needs more than flashy explosions, loud music and hot babes. it needs a compelling story. yes, the story in avatar is good. or atleast it was good. 15 years ago when disney's pocahontas came out. though not anything new or even slightly unpredictable back then either. the only reason to see avatar is to be able to say "wow" at the amazing effects. nothing more. If you took away most of the special effects no one would ever see this movie because it has nothing else to show for it.
the matrix is a good example of a good movie. it stands out even to day. its special effects are so out dated teen agers can make just as good effects to day.(see doomsday arcade) and the acting is horrible. but the story is so original and cool that it just doesn't matter that the lead actors can't act. because you're so caught up in the story to notice or even care. another good example of a great movie is back to the future. its still good because there are interesting characters, great comedy, it has details that you often don't notice before you've seen it two or three times. instead they just made this sad excuse to show that they can do with special effects these days. Portal wasn't a really cool game because it had really cool gun that let you make portals. it was a really cool game because it had so much humor. so much to see. things that didn't need to be there at all, like the man you can see traces of, that lived in the walls, eating cans of food that he heated up on the cpu of an old computer. and the lone bucket in the corner. I see that I'm starting to get off track here, so I'll shut up now.

finally got around to seeing this and this is what I have to say: it's okay. It's not as great as the public (or box office gross) has made it out to be, but also not as bad as some angrier moviegoers. The plot is fine from a technical standpoint, but we also have some basic errors that James Cameron should have worked on.

1. The script: A bad habit of Cameron's he's had for awhile. He REALLY needs another writer to help him tighten things up with the dialogue. The plot also had some pretty heavily telegraphed plot points and cheesy deus ex machina. Like saying Eywa doesn't take sides and then at the big climax SHE TAKES A SIDE.

2. The LAUGHABLY bad villains: Giovanni Ribisi and Stepehen Lang are amateurish, pathetic excuses for villains. Ribisi might as well have a mustache he's twirling and the lack of the character's intelligence tends to open up plotholes, though they're at least so hilariously bad they're not annoying. They have no depth or character and just come off as strawmen against the military (but not the REAL military, just the "big, bad military") and corporations. Which leads me to my next point.

3. The moralizing: I hope to Buddha Cameron was just doing a meditation instead of pointing fingers at people, because if he did HE'S OFFICIALLY AN ASSHOLE. When you have spent $250 million on an escapist fantasy and then try to moralize to us about the environment or what the country YOU LIVE IN has done, that is just being a whiny, self-righteous, pushy JERK. It's not horrible, but it's still very apparent and it's hard to take the narrative seriously when you moralize. Again, I hope he's not being serious about this because the only reason he's ABLE to do that is because of the loads of cash he has and the fact that he lives in the US.

However, it's still an okay movie. Not the best of last year and nowhere near Cameron's best. It's a solid 7, but Basterds and District 9 still beat the SHIT out of it in terms of story-telling which is what all movies are about.

this movie was a meh for me. sure, it was a fantastic looking meh, but still a meh. awesome review, though

My only problem with this movie before, during, and after release then before, during, and after rerelease was the amout of wanking off to itself that it did. In any internet forum the avatar of avatar would be avatar. This is beyond narcissism. I realise that an ad campaign is part of a marketing structure. But this was beyond that. I have seen that world before, i saw it in spore and morrowind. Gamers have seen that world before. and saying thats it's going to change everything is a huge overstatement.

I will say it's a good movie. everything that bob said it's just not the greatest movie that it said it was going to be and the world had nothing new or interesting to offer me. biolumessence isn't amazing. It is interesting but only for as long as you go "oooh, pretty lights."

I'm dissapointed.
Just because i always find myself having a hard time hearing a film-freak praising this overrated piece of insignificance.
To me at least- it's just the shiniest B-Movie Action-flick you'll ever find.
Not good - not bad - just highly polished dullness.
Bad writing executed with sub-par acting and as cheesy "bad guys" as in any badly written b-movie.
...aand michelle rodriguez annoyingly acting-up a y-chromosome as always
which also fits the whole mediocre B-Movie-feel that Avatar delivers despite its looks.

Wow, Bob, you've lost a lot of credibility with me as a movie critic. You're the same one who said that the plot of The Book of Eli was a "Religion 101 course". However, you're willing to say that Avatar hammers its "simple point" home over and over again? I like to call that preachy and if you had to ask me who handled it better I'd give it to the former.

Oh, and Dances With Wolves in Space was not the first thing that came to my mind (though I do want to find that South Park episode now) Pocahontas in Space was what I was thinking of; I'm not saying you're not entitled to your opinions as a critic, but good critics are like good baseball umpires: They may call a low ball a strike, but they do so consistently.

The plot of Avatar was completely derivative, and the redundant, preachy message just made it seem like Cameron was so clever when writing it. Yeah, the visuals were good, but they could hardly hold it for three hours of torturous length. Apparently it thought its audience was some kind of easily amused organism that reacts to bright colors. I don't know. I couldn't get immersed in the movie to save my life because eventually someone would open their mouths and ruin it.

Plus, what stops a pan-galactic military organization from nuking that whole planet from orbit? From what I understand Earth is screwed either way. So why not have one last great act of defiance? A contradictory message is one thing, but Cameron just makes paradoxical messages at best, and plot-hole ridden soap opera tripe at worst.

It is pronounced "ki-ri-bas", to rhyme with bass, the fish.

They only use about half the Latin letters in their written language, and 'ti' makes a 'ss' sound.

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