Avatar – Visually Stunning, But Ultimately Boring and Predictable

I really did go into this film with an open mind. After about 30 minutes I was pretty sure I knew how I’d feel about the rest of the film. Why? Because I could see exactly how it was going to play out and all I really wanted was for it to end.

This movie had major issues. Visually it was wonderful. Pandora really was a paradise. But I just can not get behind this film. I sort of want to slap every single member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association that voted for it over The Hurt Locker.

The screenplay was so dead. The dialogue, for the most part, was ridiculous. It was like James Cameron wanted to see just how many clichés he could fit into two and a half hours. I didn’t relate, or really care about, any of the characters including the Na’vi.

The story was so predictable. I pretty much saw it all coming before any of it happened. And I’m sorry but that middle part where Sully is learning the ways of The People? Has this movie met The New World? Because it was basically a rehash of that movie, only less poetic.

I feel the pacing of the movie was way off. It was longer than it needed to be and far lesss action packed than it should have been. If you want to make a slow-paced movie, talk to Terrence Malick, because he’s the king of doing that and still keeping you entranced in the film.

Also, is it too much to ask for a movie where everything isn’t so black and white, good vs. evil? Is it? Take The Hurt Locker for example. There’s a movie where the lines between what is right and what is wrong are as blurred as they really are in life. Also, there’s a movie that knows a thing or two about pacing. There’s not a dull moment in The Hurt Locker, even when almost nothing is happening you are on the edge of your seat. Unlike in Avatar where for the bulk of the film I just wanted it to end.

I also take offense to the plot. There needed to be way more background on why the humans were so evil. Because if it’s based on where we are now as a species, there would be protesters and legislation and people would see the parallels to what was going on on Pandora to what happened in the early days of  American colonization. Or colonization anywhere for that matter. Take a Post-Colonial Studies class, Mr. Cameron and then tell me that we’d let that shit happen all over again. I strongly disagree.

And to quote Quentin Tarantino again “This CGI bullshit is the death knell of cinema. If I’d wanted all that computer game bullshit, I’d have stuck my dick in a Nintendo.”

As beautiful as Pandora was and as revolutionary as the technology is I do not feel connected to that world at all. Not the way I do when Earth is filmed beautifully. Again I mention Terrence Malick. Watch The Thin Red Line or The New World and tell me that this Earth isn’t as beautiful as Pandora. Tell me that you feel more connected to Pandora than you do this world we actually live in. If you do I don’t think I want to know you.

I like a fantasy film as much as the next person, but this movie is deeply flawed and I will not be won over by fantastic technology. I want to connect to a film, I want to be moved by it, I want characters with depth and a story I can’t predict. And I’m sorry Mr. Cameron, but you have failed me.

One last thing, if the Academy rewards Cameron for his direction of this flawed film over Kathryn Bigelow I will be strongly disappointed in them. And if they reward this deeply flawed film, because it made money instead of Bigelow’s masterpiece that no one saw, they will have lost what little respect I had left for them.

I’m going to end this post with a quote from Roger Ebert, “Yes, I love Avatar. Still do. But not for Best Picture. Hurt Locker, I’d say. Up in the Air. A film, not a phenomenon.”


About Marya E. Gates

Cinephile to the max.

Posted on January 29, 2010, in Golden Globes, Review, the Academy Awards and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I agree so much. It is extremely over rated.and it’s far too long for something I saw in a 80 minute Disney movie when I was a kid.

  2. In order to enjoy this movie – in a movie theater without 3-D and a pretty bad sound system (I love my theater – it’s where I perform and I do a lot to keep it open but she’s an old girl – one of those grand dame theaters built in the 1930s.) But sorry I degressed 🙂 I had to supress a number of thoughts about how the movie had problems. I chose to suspend disbelief in order to just try to go with it.

    So – I didn’t hate it the way two members of our party did, to quote my husband “it sucked”. But I found several bones to pick. I have read dozens and dozens of science fiction books and there were many pieces of the plot that seemed to have come from them, particulary Anne MacCafrey’s – the ship that sang. Our history of course provides plenty of evil superior technology laden governments moving people to steal land with valuable resources – let’s all go read “Where the Buffalos Gone.”

    Also, while they were showing us this fantasy world I kept thinking about where I live. I can show you the mother-of-all-juniper trees out on the Devil’s Garden. I can take you to a place where you can stand and see Oregon, CAlifornia, Nevada all at the same time. Our own mother earth is beautiful indeed.

    I have to agree that the plot was absolutely predictable – even the one pilot who joined the Navi fight and then of course lost her life.

    The new technology may allow some of the science fiction I have loved to be made – stories that just couldn’t be told before. Even – please forgive me – some of the written characters in Star Trek who are 10 feet tall federation officers. But all the oohs and ahs so far about this as “Best Picture” makes me wonder about whether we are experiencing a version of the Emperor’s New Clothes. Maybe no one wants to say that the movie is naked because it cost so much.

    I didn’t hate it – but I sure don’t think it is as good as the hype claimed. I’m glad that a few weeks ago my daughter and I went to see “Up in the Air” with a handful of people while a mob of people watched “Avatator” in the other end of the multiplex.

    Oh – see The Hurt Locker. War movies are my favorites and this one is fantastic.

  3. Obviously I cannot even spell Avatar. sorry..

    BTW – I don’t think identical twins would be so different – so there. My son and I argued about it.

  4. Did know one else think of Fern Gully when they say this movie? Seriously, Zak and Krista. Truth.

  5. maybe the reason why the movie is so predictable is because the story was written more than 15 years ago.. we’re already too exposed to a lot of movies in the past 15 years..

  6. That is a very good point Ronald, it was stale. If this had been made as an animated feature decades ago (before Up for example) the one-dimensional characters and predictable ending might not have offended so grieviously. I guess I expected the plot to live up to the visuals and have a literary feel – in which case the hero would have sacrificed his life to save the people that he had been betraying.

    But seriously even 30 years ago we had movies with flawed heroes who sacrificed themselves – think appocalypse now or deer hunter. I know Avatar is sci-fi/fantasy so I cannot hold it to such a high standard but I was really disappointed – my son’s fiance thinks If I had seen it in 3-D I would have liked it more – but there’s my point – if it takes 3-D to save that script then the script is seriously flawed.

    Watching the Hurt Locker again just solidified my feelings that I want awards and kudos to go to the real thing – real visuals, real cinemetograhpy, real stories.

    If we want to talk about atrocities to traditional peoples, let’s make real stories about what really happened and not just in the 19th century. I invite everyone to read “Now the Buffalo’s Gone” about how we stole Indian land in the 1960s and broke a treaty that we made in the 18th century – the first treaty ever signed by the new United States.

    And let us not get too romantic about traditional societies and the good old days – Why don’t we work to make this current world a better place, a place with justice and environmental responsibility. Look at the UN’s millenial goals.

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