Avatar (2009 film)
2.5
1 votes
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  • In my opinion (and I've heard this from others, too), the movie represents a very poorly conceived mash-up of ill-defined, pseudo-spiritual mumbo jumbo, played out sci-fi memes, and other (generally superior) James Cameron movies
  • Most of the plot either feels too rushed, too unrealistic (I know, I know-it's a sci-fi movie, so we're supposed to suspend disbelief, but I think this whole premise pushes the envelope in that department), or too forced
  • Ditto for Cameron's completely unsubtle commentary regarding the military, corporate power, etc. It's not that I don't agree with themes promoting environmentalism and harmony, but these themes, in the context of a movie as convoluted and over the top as Avatar, seem to lose their meaning rather than have it enhanced
  • Overall, I found it to be just too out-there

    • by Nick Addison
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      Any film with many disparate (though often impressive) elements and a lot of hype and money behind it is bound to create both ardent fans and ardent critics, and James Cameron’s sci-fi epic “Avatar” (which was also released in both 2 and 3D) is a prime example. There’s no denying the stunning visual components of the film, but my gripe, which I’ll put right up front, is that it seems like this was the main focus of its creator(s), at the expense of originality in terms of story and characters. In my opinion (and I’ve heard this from others, too), the movie represents a very poorly conceived “mash-up” of ill-defined, pseudo-spiritual mumbo jumbo, played out sci-fi memes, and other (generally superior) James Cameron movies. But it looks great, so most people just don’t care.

      The story follows a crippled ex-Marine who is recruited


      to infiltrate an alien race known as the Na’vi (whose appearance invited no shortage of “Cameron made a cartoon about blue cat people” insults) on a distant moon/planet via the use of an “avatar” that he is able to control remotely and use to appear as one of the natives. The goal of the human corporate/military operation on the planet is to get a rare element called “unobtainium” (how imaginative!), and as the atmosphere is poisonous to humans, gathering information on the planet and its inhabitants is done through the use of the aforementioned avatars.

      I felt like the story was almost constantly on the back burner. The marine is asked to replace his dead brother in handling one of the avatars (compatibility is somehow determined via genetics), as the mining corporation promises to “help him walk again” if he is of use ...


      • to them. We are then supposed to believe that the marine falls in love with one of the Na’vi (something about the “worlds collide” love story amidst a crisis seems awfully reminiscent of “Titanic”) after being initially separated from the other avatars/researchers. The whole romance falls short largely because it, like most of the plot, seems to be sped along in service of getting to the jaw-dropping action sequences.

        Most of the plot either feels too rushed, too unrealistic (I know, I know-it’s a sci-fi movie, so we’re supposed to suspend disbelief, but I think this whole premise pushes the envelope in that department), or too forced. The odd biological/spiritual connection between the Na’vi and their home planet (and how avatars are able to harness this as well) is over-simplified to the point of being insulting. Ditto for Cameron’s completely unsubtle commentary regarding

        the military, corporate power, etc. It’s not that I don’t agree with themes promoting environmentalism and harmony, but these themes, in the context of a movie as convoluted and over the top as Avatar, seem to lose their meaning rather than have it enhanced.

        Judging by the staggering amounts of money this film has made and continues to make (and Cameron’s plans to produce not one but two sequels), it’s clear mine is the minority opinion on the subject-but I would encourage anyone who can stand to sit through this film twice to pay attention to how empty and superficial it is, even (especially?) when it tries to handle emotional and scientific material. Overall, I found it to be just too out-there; too much spectacle and not enough real substance.

        I am rating it a 5, although this is ONLY for the visual achievements.




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