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February 03, 2010

Some Quick Thoughts About “Avatar” Written Ten Minutes Before Bed

So my wife and I finally went to see “Avatar” this morning. Yes, I saw it in 3D, and no I don’t feel like my experience was greatly enhanced by the technology. Actually for the first half hour of what seemed like many many half hours, the 3D kind of gave me a headache. Too much depth perception gives me the spins. One thing I don’t need at any movie theater: the spins

I have to admit that my expectations for this film were low for the simple reason that James Cameron makes shitty movies. His only great film is “Terminator.” Everything after that has been mildly okay to outright shitty – I’m looking at you, “Titanic.” It seems to me he’s a guy who has never heard a single thing that’s ever come out of anybody’s mouth. If he had, he wouldn’t write such crappy dialogue.

Of course a James Cameron movie isn’t about dialogue or storytelling. It’s about technology. His films are basically Sony concept stores splashed across thousands of movie screens. And while I appreciate that he spent twelve years developing the technology that would allow him to make ultra-realistic blue tree people, he might have been better served working on the story, which to my jaundiced eye was just a New Agey cowboys and Indians shoot-em-up.

And for all the hullabaloo about the visuals, I couldn’t get that excited about them. The problem may be James Cameron himself. Ever since Robert Patrick turned into liquid metal in “T2,” my attitude about moviemaking has been “Ok, now we can do anything, so tell me a good story.” Visual effects should serve a story, not be the story. Plus, the Blue People, or Blue Ewoks or whatever they were, didn’t look that great. I never believed they existed: their movements were too herky-jerky and I always felt distracted whenever they cut back to the real people, who looked like, well, real people.

The whole thing was like “True Lies” meets “The Lion King.” All in all, it sucked. Not as bad as “Titanic,” which might be the most successful worst movie ever made, but it’s not that far behind. Life need not be a technological wonderland. It’s far more interesting and entertaining when it’s just life. The film may be rated PG-13, but that shouldn’t mean that it operates on the intellectual level of a thirteen year old. Nature is good. People are bad. The military is bad. Scientists are good. Technology is a tool best wielded by those who understand its awesome power for good. People like movie directors.



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thank god some one else is on the same page about this headache inducing mediocrity. I also felt the visuals weren't as real as people were pretending, and that the story felt like it was written by an 8 year old. it seemed that in our packed house theater, only my friends and i thought it blew. everyone else clapped when it ended.

Christina M.

Didn't you like the kinky blue implied sex? Furries are going mainstream!


I have yet to see "Titanic" or "Avatar". Does mean I'm cool? Precisely!


I haven't seen Avatar because I assumed it sucked just as much as Titanic, which I paid full effing price for and my sister was all, "Take Kleenex with you. It's sooooo good." I haven't spoken to her since. The bitch.

The Naked Redhead

I dunno, I kinda wish I had worm-things in my hair that would uplink to giant trees and dragons and stuff. Hotness.

John Barry

I'm sorry you have jaundice, Michael. Probably shouldn't drink so much.


Except for the endearing couple who sat beside me and distracted me from fulling immersing myself into Pandora by yelling (yes, yelling) such delightful tidbits as 'BITCH GOT OWNED' and 'THAT PART DIDN'T EVEN MAKE SENSE' while grabbing out at the 'COOL FLOATY THINGS', I actually enjoyed the 3D experience and thought it was pretty fun. That being said, I totally agree that for a movie to rightly achieve 'best' status, it has to have substance. Avatar was completely lacking in an original or surprising story, and it's too bad that James Cameron couldn't wait at least one more year before making Avatar to develop something better.

But then again, how are we supposed to concentrate on sweet visual effects if there is a complex story line???


Hey hey hey, I'll have you know that I've loved Fight Club since I was twelve... which was many moons ago.

Also, a Nelson Muntz "Ha ha!" at the fact you *actually* paid money to see that drivel.


Yeah, I'm surely never going to see 'Avatar.' Why didn't they just dress people up in really fancy blue costumes? Then they could move realistically.


I haven't seen Avatar but Michael!

I am also a big "Fight Club" fan. Just sayin.

Aleata Illusion

Thank you! I seriously thought I was the only one disgusted by that movie. I almost fell asleep halfway through it. My only motivation to watch it was Joel David Moore,the guy is amazing!

Avatar was so bad it offended me!


I can't bring myself to watch it for fear of a dependency on effects, which I thoroughly hate. Also, it looks very CG to me, which I additionally hate. Because I don't want to watch a video game. I want to watch a movie. Get 'er straight.

And yet, I haven't seen it, so I feel a bit like a homeless person taking a dump on a bowl of guacamole because it looks weird without even having the decency to take a bite before I drop trou. Bad homeless me.


p.s. why y'all talking about Fight Club? He wasn't involved in that....

But he did do Aliens! Which I thought was pretty cheezy in comparison to Ridley Scott's.....but whatever...


Dancing with the smurfs should of been better than it was. It was just a 3D Fern Gully.


I just had this exact conversation with someone the other day...well, maybe not word for word, but the term "shitty" was applied to Titanic more than once.


Yup...this is pretty much how I felt, too. I also couldn't buy into Giovanni Ribisi as the evil corporate oligarch and Duke Nukem as his sidekick.

I did, however, like the hammerhead rhinocertops (as I like to call them..)


I haven't bothered to see Avatar. I haven't even bothered to figure out what it's about. I guess that's just because I'm kind of a hero. You're welcome Earth.


Ferngully meets The Matrix. 'Nuff said.


Dude, I can not even see three D with those glasses. I got that gosh derned lazy eye affliction.

Ron St.Amant

I'll dissent. I enjoyed the movie (though I agree the script is weak, but I expect that from Cameron), I thought the 3D was extraordinary. It was far from the best movie I saw from '09- that might go to The Informant- but it was a nice popcorn movie.


I'm with Ron... I actually thought it was a fantastic movie theater experience. I don't know if all you people have a lazy eye affliction or what, but I seriously felt like I was on Pandora with those blue people the whole time. Yeah, the story was just 'eh', but it was a fun way to show it. I highly suggest giving it a shot in IMAX. That's how I saw it... um... twice... ahem...

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Avatar is the most visually fantastic film I've ever seen.It will be hailed as the groundbreaking 3D release of its time while setting a new standard by which all blockbusters are measured.Its one of the best animation movie of 2009 and a great example for animation students.

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It seems as though advances in 3D technology are just going to take us further away from storytelling and the importance of the screenplay as a starting point."Avtar"is great combination of imagination and technology.


I enjoyed Avatar, but I think the reason why is because I went into the movie having already read that the storyline was rather trite. The special effects were nice, although I'm not sure that they were better in 3-D.

As with anything in the entertainment industry, I would like to see more focus on 'story'. You're right, Michael, we can do anything with technology. Now, let's get back down to the bare-bones of creativity and get some good stories to go along with it. Without 'story', technology is just fluff.


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