Monday, December 28, 2009
Blockbuster Monday: Avatar (2009)
I'll get this out of the way: Pandora does indeed look amazing. The best aspect of this movie is definitely the fully realized world that James Cameron has come up with here. I thought it was a cool idea that the world acted sort of like a mainframe and/or database that the denizens of the world could directly link into in a literal rather than figurative way. It didn't look as much like Toon Town as the first trailers made it look. And, yes, there were some definite moments of amazement, and the end battle was exciting, for the most part. Here's the thing: perhaps James Cameron meant the visuals were the game changers, because the story and the writing definitely are not. Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, and Zoe Saldana are good enough, I suppose. The worst parts have to be whenever something is happening at the human base, really great swaths of the dialogue are just embarrassing, often bordering on cringe-inducing. Jeffrey Wells was right, I wish I had a time machine so I could somehow go back and watch this as a 14 year old. Because it would have been my favorite movie of the year this year. My nephew this weekend proved that, he loved it. But besides some of the visuals, I spent a lot of time rolling my eyes. Its basically "Dances With Wolves" in space.
I was telling Tina on our walk to the T, and we were breaking down the movie. The whole thing basically was summed up in the line from Dazed and Confused when the stoners were talking about how the founding fathers were into aliens, and one goes, "We're the aliens, man, we're the savages". Thats the basic premise right there. Sure it kicks ass to see the noble, indigenous people take it to the corporate marines or whatever, but, yeah...we get it.
The worst aspects of the script can be summed up by the name they gave the element that they were trying to mine "Unobtainium". Are you kidding me? Is that a joke? Because this isn't satire, its not "Dr. Strangelove" and James Cameron certainly isn't Kubrick.
This is going to end up being the Tron of this generation. We all (well a lot of us) thought Tron was so amazing and such a great leap forward in science fiction, but 27 years removed from when it came out, it has about the same reputation as Krull.