MOVIE REVIEW: Avatar

As a seven-year old, there were only two reason why I watched James Cameron’s Titanic. The first reason was because in the last hour of the movie, the ship begins sinking and people die every two minutes in creative ways. The second reason is Kate Winslet gets nude.  Flash forward to today and I still love Kate Winslet (for her acting, she is one of my top five favorite actresses ever).  But titanic has a new meaning:  It’s a movie that is way too long and is truthfully a sappy love story covered up by some action.  So I was a little weary (more like reluctant) to go see Mr. Camerons latest “masterpiece” Avatar.  But with an open mind I paid my $11.50, Got my Wayfarer 3-D shades (which I later “borrowed” from the theater), and sat down in my seat to hopefully enjoy my first 3-D film.

The movie starts out on a foreign planet known as Pandora in 2154.  A company called the RDA Corporation (under the protection of the military) is mining a mineral known as unobtanium that is worth $20 million a pop for one kilo.  Mining this mineral proves difficult because pandora is inhabited by the Na’vi, a race of extremely tall blue people. In order to try and make the huge blues move away from a large unobtanium reserve RDA Corporation has created Avatars, which allow humans to inhabit the body of a Na’vi.  Jake Sully, a marine who is chosen for the avatar program because his twin brother died, apparently has “special energy” and the Na’vi accept him in and show him the ways of their people.  He learns how to do ride animals by using his pony tail, how to use a bow to kill an animal, and how to worship a tree using a pagan hippie religion.  While Jake is supposed to be strictly business when it comes to the Na’vi, he begins falling in love with Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) who is a princess and trains Jake.  RDA doesn’t like this. Battle ensues. Curtain draws.

There were a few things to like about Avatar, especially the special effects and use of 3-D.  Cameron never throws something at your face, he uses the 3-D in an almost casual and under stated way.  I did not feel like I was supposed to be impressed and frightened; it just felt like a part of the environment.  And as far as performances go, there were a few that stood out.  Sigourney Weaver always performs well and although this is not her best performance by far, she still should get some recognition.   Michelle Rodriguez excels at action flicks and she does okay here.

Well, that is all the good I could salvage from this overpriced thrill ride.  This movie is just way too long, about an hour too long.  It felt like this movies plot was thrown together in twenty minutes right before a big meeting.  Not only that, but this movie is extremely predictable.  I knew the ending of the movie within the first hour and started taking bets with my friend who came with me on what will happen next.  Really, only five blue goons have ridden a big bird on the planet? I wonder who will be the next person? sigh… And besides the two actresses mentioned above, everyone else in this film felt like a stereotype from other big action films of the past. Not to mention the Pagan religion overtones; I felt like I was watching a training video to join The Church of Cameron.

So what do I come away with after seeing Avatar? Well I get a movie that is way too long and is a sappy love story covered up by some action. Wait a minute, it sounds like I have seen this film before.  All I can say is Mr. Cameron has found another way to steal a billion dollars from the world, which I applaud him on this talent.

VERDICT: SKIP IT!

So, what’s your opinion on Avatar? Did you not like it as much as I did? Or did you become an Avatard? Leave your comments below.

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3 Responses to “MOVIE REVIEW: Avatar”

  1. Josh Mason Says:

    agreed that the film is a bit to long but I only felt it was abut 30 minutes too long rather than an hour. I disagree with your verdict on skipping it. I see a future for the two of us on a movie review show like at the movies becuase of our vastly different taste in film. Your verdict for blind side was “see it” while your verdict on Avatar was “skip it”. I draw issue with this for one reason: Films are an escape from this boring reality that is life. If i wanted to see a big black guy fight with a bunch of other black guys, play football, and see him develop a relationship with an attractive white woman while living in memphis, I would just drive to memphis and see all this for free. However, You nor I will ever see a human military force do battle with a group of giant blue cat people on a planet covered in exotic species of plants and animals, that is, unless we pay to see it. Sure, there may be some flaws in the script, effects, or acting but at least I know when I leave the theater that I’ve just witnessed something that I would never witness otherwise. Just a suggestion but you may want to consider taking “how often will I see this in real life” into account in future film reviews.

  2. Aaron Gilbert Says:

    Josh, I definitely disagree with you and find myself agreeing more with Kevin. Avatar was a terrible movie! It was a mediocre with pantheistic/panentheistic overtones and a predictable plot sugar-coated in stunning visuals. Movies are not just about visuals and “an escape from this boring reality that is life.” Movies are ultimately stories and stories have been used throughout history as a means of explaining the human condition, exploring or preaching truths or creatively expressing one’s beliefs and worldview.

    James Cameron does just that in Avatar. I don’t know the religious beliefs of Cameron but in Avatar he presents a worldview where the god of Pandora is intertwined with nature and when one dies he/she is absorbed/resorbed into the land and becomes one with the god. This is a form of pantheism/panentheism that many agnostics, atheists, mystics, new agers and other religions hold as truth. In the film Cameron shows a few skeptics of this worldview come to the realization that the main worldview of the film is true. His job as director, as is the job of any movie director (and the job or any artist, it can be argued) is to get his audience to feel a certain way whether that be good or bad or to buy into a certain worldview. Cameron certainly does make you feel a certain way when you leave the theater.

    Movies are not about escapism. Movies tell stories. What makes Avatar such a bad movie is that it is an unoriginal piece of drivel. If Cameron were in a Master’s of Fine Arts class and his screenplay were to be graded by his professor and judged by his peers, even at the worst school he would be laughed at and judged very harshly and no doubt receive a very low grade maybe even accused of plagiarism. The Avatar screenplay is a mixture of FernGully meets Pocahontas meets Star Wars. What Cameron does is take a mediocre screenplay and beefs it up with millions of dollars of SFX. If anything, what Cameron does well is use visuals to tell a story albeit a bad one.

    What I also would like to point out is a flaw in your logic. You have every right to not like the Blindside and like Avatar and vise-versa for myself. Your dislike of the Blindside and like of Avatar has more to do with dislike of certain genres rather than dislike in storytelling abilities. It is more logical to say that “I did not like the Blindside because I’m not a fan of biopics rather I’m more of a sci-fi fan or more a fan of fictional movies that take me into new or unexplored realms”. I respect your opinion on movies but you will never make it as a movie critic that is worth his weight by giving reason like that.

    This is by no means an attack at you Josh. Just some constructive criticism mixed in with my hatred of poor movies and frustration that people don’t apply critical thinking to their movie watching.

    Keep on reviewing,
    Aaron Gilbert

  3. I actually was only joking about seeing me and kevin as movie critics on a show one day. Perhaps kevin but not myself because I have no intention of being a film critic, I will have and have had much more success directing. I agree that people do not use enough critical thinking when watching films but at the same time, I go to movies to be entertained and blown away, not to work out a math problem. I feel that most of the critical thinking should be left in the classroom. I also apologize for just now seeing your response arron, I haven’t revisited this particular page of kevin’s blog since he wrote the review.

    Oh and as for the disliking of genre’s, you’re correct, i do like sci-fi films better than bio pics but even with that put aside and analyziing the film’s strictly from a directorial, editorial, acting, and writing viewpoint, Avatar still crushes The Blind Side in all of these area. I will even go so far to say that Avavtar is the Star Wars of our time and will be talked about for decades to come. the Blind Side will wind up in the five dollar bin at wal mart, if it’s lucky

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