Everyone else’s opinion on Avatar

I’m sad to say it seems like I’m the only person who didn’t enjoy Avatar. And I knew I wouldn’t like it before I even went into the theatre. First, I’m not one for science fiction. It takes a very good movie to get me involved in a sci-fi story. In fact, thinking about it, I can only name two: Sunshine and Moon. So it had that working against it. I’m not all about special effects either. I can’t seem to distinguish between what’s been done before, and what hasn’t. So I can’t really make a call on that criterion either.

What I do know, is that this story has been told a million times (Fern Gully, Dances with Wolves, Last of the Mohicans, The Last Samurai). I didn’t so much appreciate those films either, so when I had to sit through almost three hours of the same movie in 3D, I was just bored. Every scene seemed predictable, and the dialog was particularly uninspired. Even the most impressive special effects seemed to be a tribute to James Cameron’s past films (remember when the big tree falls on all the blue people? remember when Titanic’s smoke shaft fell on all the poor Irish people?).

That being said, I fully recognize that I’m not one who can really make a solid judgement call based on my inability to understand this genre. So, I’m looking to my blogging friends that said, in their reviews, what I can’t.

From Rachel’s Reel Reviews:

Though Mr. Cameron’s films may be lacking in original story and plot these days, you can’t help but admire his labor of love. He uses lots of smoke and mirrors (i.e. CGI) to make his audience think we’ve seen a truly great film. In reality, we haven’t, but we don’t care, because by the time the end credits roll, we’ve gotten our money’s worth. [Full Review Here]

The Dark of the Matinée:

Quite honestly, expressing my feelings on AVATAR seems to be a bit tricky. Let me start with the obvious – I loved it. There are few films made these days that must be seen in a theatre – I mean really, how much is it worth to watch a Michael Bay Pyrotechnic Extravaganza?? AVATAR is one of the few. It’s said that the film was in development for fifteen years. If that is true, then every day of that stretch was time well spent. [Full Review Here]

A Life of Equinox:

You see as a movie going experience Avatar quite literally has it all. The plot is a combination of Pocahontas, Ferngully, and Last Samurai, all thrown into the hands of James Cameron, who we all know loves his special effects. Yet even for all the memorable aspects of James Cameron’s plot we gain something far more valuable then a simple narrative: we gain a new world. If you think about what makes a solid fantasy film work, even years after its relevance has faded, it is that it transports you to a new way of existing. We dream of traveling to Middle Earth, spending time at Hogwarts, or battling terminators in a barren wasteland. Truly good fantasy films capture the imagination in ways we could only dream of. [Full Review Here]

Phil on Film:

Ultimately, perhaps that’s what I love most about Avatar, the fact that it is a massive, effects-heavy blockbuster movie that dares to be different. It is not a sequel or a prequel, it’s not a remake or a reboot. This is something new; a genuinely ambitious attempt to push the boundaries of what is possible in cinema while still providing a mass audience with an entertainment that is both action-packed and politically and socially engaged. On almost every level, I’d say Cameron succeeds, and he has instantly set an intimidating new benchmark for blockbuster filmmaking, which few will have the imagination or the sheer audacity to challenge. [Full Review Here]

★★☆☆

Comments
17 Responses to “Everyone else’s opinion on Avatar”
  1. Branden says:

    Blake, I am sure that you are the only person that hated Avatar. Don’t worry about it.
    .-= Branden´s last blog ..Nine (2009) =-.

  2. Simon says:

    Well, I watched it and thought very little. I’d give it 2/5 stars like yourself, except that I think an additional star should be given for the 3D-ness, making it a 3 out of 5. I think the films you mention as influences (conscious or unconscious) are not only too similar is awkward but, in the case of Dances with Wolves, better and more emotionally complex, as the ending of Dances with Wolves (Dunbar on his own because of how his identity conflicts and puts the safety of the the Sioux on the line) clearly shows more depth than the ending of Avatar (Jake Sully wins.)
    .-= Simon´s last blog ..Avatar (James Cameron, 2009) =-.

  3. Rachel says:

    Thanks for the link love, Blake. Sorry you didn’t care for Avatar. I certainly didn’t love it like so many of our fellow film bloggers, but I got what I came for.

  4. If it makes you feel any better, I haven’t even *seen* Avatar and likely won’t til DVD.
    .-= Shannon the Movie Moxie´s last blog ..Film Fan Fridays for Friday January 1, 2010! =-.

  5. Castor says:

    The only reason to watch Avatar is the visuals and let’s face it, a year or two from now, most movies using CGI will look just as good and Avatar won’t be so “original” anymore ;)
    .-= Castor´s last blog ..Top 100 Movies of the Decade =-.

  6. Blake says:

    @ Branden – Yeah, now that I’ve checked the LAMB forums, is cleart there are more out there that weren’t as impressed than I thought. Glad i’m not alone.

    @Simon – I was probably a little harsher than I could have been with my rating. You’re right, it deserves something a little extra for the pioneering special effects. And I agree with you about Dances with Wolves.

    @ Rachel – Thanks for lending me your review!

    @ Shannon – I can’t believe you haven’t seen it! When I was looking on your blog for a review to post here, I thought for sure I was just looking in the wrong place. I don’t think you’re missing much.

    @ Castor – You’re totally right. The same happened with Titanic, it all became common fare so quickly after.

  7. EmsF says:

    I’m avoiding it for the same reason you knew you wouldn’t be into it. I am a bit curious though as the trailer looks technically good but I reckon I wouldn’t get into the story. I guess it was always going to be huge at the box office no matter what people thought of it
    .-= EmsF´s last blog ..Sunday/Monday links =-.

  8. sickBurned says:

    I’m not saying it’s the best movie ever, but you have to admit it’s good or your just being a jerk.

  9. Blake says:

    @ sickBurned – I believe that’s called an ad hominem attack. But it’s cool. I don’t like Lady Gaga either.

  10. Heather says:

    You, apart from a lot of other bloggers a least have the insight to realize that your opinion may be based on an already biased ideal, and for that I really commend you.

    I’ve actually read a lot of bloggers that didn’t love it (clearly I did), but overall moviegoers and critics seem to be loving it, so just because those of us that write about it don’t seem to support it on a whole doesn’t discredit the film to me, as I feel most of us are too harsh on movies in that genre anyway.

    I unfortunately HATED sunshine and science fiction is my BFF in the movie world, and I heart Danny Boyle. Haven’t seen Moon yet though.
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..January Review Star: Denzel Washington =-.

  11. JB says:

    I didn’t like it either.

  12. Blake says:

    @ JB – Here here.

  13. Vanessa says:

    How refreshing to read a review from someone who didn’t like the movie! I haven’t seen it yet so I don’t have an opinion on it but everybody is so in love with it and I don’t really like the trailer…
    do you read the failblog? They have a funny post on there about the plot being exactly the same as disney’s pocahontas!
    .-= Vanessa´s last blog ..The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus =-.

  14. Blake says:

    @ Vanessa – I just read that blog, it’s freaking hilarious! I’m glad the post came off as refreshing, I definitely didn’t mean to be contrary for the purpose of being contrary.

  15. mesimpson says:

    O.K. But, What Is Unobtanium?

    First of all, I liked the 3D imagery of Avatar. It was entertaining enough to engage me all the way through the film. Sadly, the story line and characters ran a distant second behind the cinematics at least as far away as Earth is from Pandora.

    Even worse, like many viewers before me I left the film with a question that won’t stop burning in my mind, “What the Sam Hill is Unobtainium?” At first I thought I had just missed the explanation amid the WOW of the 3D CGI. So, I went and read the entire Avatar script now available on its official website. Again, I found nothing, other than the fact that Unobtainium is worth a lot of money in the year 2154. O.K., but who’s buying it, and why? Would you pay $20 million per kilo for something without knowing what it does, just because James Cameron told you to?

    Unfortunately, the mystery of Unobtanium in Avatar exemplifies the insult that flows like a river through the film. Cameron goes to great length to portray humans behaving badly, but, the only explanation he really offers for it is, “because I say so”. After taking a billion bucks from us at the box office, can’t he at least do the favor of presenting one possible explanation for Unobtanium now? If he can’t come up with one on his own, he could pick from one of the great notions already posted by others on the web:

    1-It’s a powerful hallucinogenic drug that everyone on earth is addicted to. Without it humans can’t survive, let alone try to imagine an Avatar sequel.

    2-It’s an aphrodisiac 1000 times more powerful than Viagra.

    3-It’s a miracle cosmetic that makes any woman look like Catherine Zeta Jones or Rihanna.

    4-It’s a powerful source of energy.

    Personally, I’m leaning towards #4. For one thing, it most closely aligns with the few other facts about Unobtainium provided in the film. An energy resource is sometimes strip mined as they are doing it in the movie (by the way, doesn’t that make it canobtainium?) You typically make drugs and cosmetics in a lab.

    Then, there is this passage in a synopsis of the film over at IMDb:

    “After discussing Pandora’s much-desired natural resource, the mineral Unobtanium, which can save Earth from its present energy crisis..”

    Finally, and perhaps my favorite reason, is that the energy tact diminishes Avatar’s basic argument that humans are the leading source of problems for Pandora’s native Na’vi (is native Na’vi redundant?) You see, compared to the price of other energy sources, including green energy, $20 million per kilo implies Unobtanium has an energy density about 100 times that of weapons grade Uranium, even after discounting for 144 years of inflation. That means one kilo of Unobtainium has the explosive power of the largest atomic bombs, and the huge quantity of Unobtainium the Na’vi are living right on top of has enough power to blow them and all of Pandora into a cloud of cosmic dust (and you thought Colonel Quaritch was the biggest threat to their existence). One stray meteorite hitting a surface vein of Unobtainium could quickly resolve the now-popular mystery of whether an Avatar sequel will occur on Pandora.

    Alas, maybe we just have to accept the fact that no world or the spirits that oversee it will ever be perfect. It seems that, just like Mother Nature back on Earth, Mother Eywa may have a kind of warped sense of humor that sometimes causes her behave like a Mother F*&%$ too. Since the Na’vi have no use for Unobtanium whatsoever, perhaps, just possibly, maybe a little bit, an Avatar sequel might have the Na’vi and Humans teaming up against the mothers of the universe to carefully mine Unobtanium and get it off their planet moon. Then the Na’vi could truly live in peace.

  16. g5villaruel says:

    Uhmm I think it’s a good movie. That is why we are talking shit here and wasting our time to right:)

  17. Subhransu Satpathy says:

    very very nice movie

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