2010 January 6
by CajoleJuice

The only point of watching this movie is experiencing it in theaters. If you have any interest whatsoever, just go see it in 3D. Sure, it’ll set you back at least 15 bucks, but unless you want to wait until you have a 60″ 3D HDTV in your house, you’re not going to get nearly the same amount of enjoyment otherwise. Of course, you may have absolutely no interest in watching 9-feet-tall anorexic smurfs running around a super-evolved rainforest — in which case I’ll try halfheartedly to convince you to give your money to James Cameron.

…this is how I started to write this post over a week ago. I saw Avatar two Sundays ago and I thought it was an entertaining spectacle, even if it’s basically Pocahontas/Ferngully/Dances with Wolves in space. But now I’m already annoyed with it.

I stand by the assessment that if you’re interested at all, you should go see the movie in a 3D theater, but I’m not going to try to convince anyone now. Apparently, enough people have been already convinced since it’s made well over a BILLION DOLLARS. At the very least, it will end up as the second-highest grossing movie of all-time, and it also has a chance at toppling Titanic‘s worldwide record of $1.8 billion. These are James Cameron’s last two movies. I wonder exactly when he sold his soul to be able to make whatever the hell he wants and still bring in an obscene amount of money.

But I have to hand it to Cameron — he knows how to direct. That’s more than I can say for the blockbuster director that has attempted to take his place for the past decade. I think we all know to whom I refer. Cameron has come back and shown everyone how it’s done. He somehow took a movie that features funny-looking blue people and turned into the biggest hit of the decade. He has truly pushed the boundaries of filming technology and special effects once again, and you can actually decipher what is going on in the action scenes! And they are massive action scenes.

In terms of the 3D usage, it has to be the least intrusive I’ve ever seen, but there’s still some of that blurring and awkward focusing at times — it’s not perfect. I heard that in RealD (the theater type I saw it in), the 3D doesn’t pop out as much as in IMAX. I think that’s probably a good thing. You don’t feel engulfed in the world, but it adds some nice perspective to massive shots, particularly the flying scenes, which were probably when I was most impressed with the movie.

But overall, the movie is just so totally transparent and predictable that I couldn’t help but be bored a lot of the time. I wasn’t enthralled with the world Cameron had created, and neither did I really care all that much about the indigenous Nav’i tribe. I actually loved the Colonel who wanted nothing more but to destroy everything related to the Nav’i; the dude was a total badass. It’s a bad sign when the best character in a movie is a caricature.

No matter what I think, Avatar is already going down as one of the biggest movie events of all-time, and it even seems like a candidate for the Oscar for Best Picture. That is the most shocking development of all — I don’t even think as highly of The Dark Knight as many people I’ve come across, but it deserved a nod much more than Avatar. But hey, most critics seem to disagree with me. I’m just shocked 50-year-old men are more impressed with a pretty 3D film with no substance than me.

Related posts:

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  • Zyargeikunn

    I don’t wanna argue about whether Avatar is good or not, but does a good movie have to have “substance”? Why can’t a good straight action movie just be a really really good movie without having substance? I like it better when movies like Avatar don’t pretend to be more than they are, like The Dark Knight (it’s an okay movie to me, but I see nothing that makes it great).

    Now I have to find out how I came here.

    • http://somewhatmanlynerd.com/blog CajoleJuice

      Yeah, but those action films aren’t usually critically acclaimed or Oscar nominated. I quite enjoy great action movies like the Transporter or Hard Boiled; but no, I don’t think a straight action movie can be a “really really good movie” without any substance. There has to be some tension, some emotional resonance — of which Avatar has none. Knowing exactly what will happen at almost every point has that effect. I still was impressed by the technology, and I do think Cameron does the best he can with his own terrible screenplay, but it really ends up being an exercise in 3D and CG masturbation.