Yes, I dare criticize Avatar.

So the Golden Globe’s was last and left me with a sort of “meh” feeling. I can only watch about an hour of these award shows before the pomp and pretentiousness finally get to me. However a couple of thoughts do stand out to me.

Our very own Faith Peralta gave you a rave review on Crazy Heart and apparently the rest of the world agrees. Once again as reported by Scott North, Jeff Bridges won Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture. However it also won Best Original Song for “The Weary Kind” another great win by the brilliant T-Bone Burnett. No small feat here folks, he beat out Bono and Paul McCartney for this award and this movie now is on my must see list.

Also reported by Scott North. Congratulations to Michael C. Hall for his win as Dexter. This has recently become one of my favorite shows as I have just finished season 1. I mean a show where the protagonist is a serial killer/blood pathologist? Brilliant. He does a great job and after having three prior nominations, this is his first win.

Oh Avatar!

Now for something a little more original. “Avatar” won best picture, and I am afraid this is an omen of things to come.  At B5 we have held this movie in pretty high praise, including myself. The visuals are simply amazing. More so then I would have ever thought possible and when I first walked out of Avatar I had this thought: Here at B5 we are normally really big on the importance of story and not relying on special FX to make up for it, but the case of Avatar is an exception, the visuals DO make up for it. Now that I have had time to soak it in and think about it. I completely disagree.

Avatar’s plot was, simply put, pretty lame. It had some very original ideas ie. The symbiotic planet, the paralyzed vet being able to experience legs etc. but the more I think about the more it annoys me. At first I thought it was merely Dances with Wolves in Space, or for you 40k fans, Dances with Space Wolves, but I disagree with that is well. Here is why.

Dances with Wolves did something that Avatar doesn’t. It moves you. You connect with the plight of the Native Americans in the movie and you realize some of the evils that were incurred on them. Avatar never really does that. In fact to me, Avatar felt forced and even old hat.

It felt more like, “Yeah Yeah, we know, the western world uses up natural resources without regards to nature or indigenous populations. Yeah we know, 150 years ago we did horrible things to natives. Blah, Blah, guns and violence are bad.”

Never mind the fact James Cameron and other Hollywood type don’t mind make making a fortune using these very guns and resources to entertain us. Sort of like all the people in Hollywood who promote feminism yet still use sex to sell everything. To me, Avatar felt whiney and a little dull. It felt like James Cameron simply came up with awesome visuals and then half assed a plot around it.

Many of you will point out that he wrote this story 15 years ago and has been working on it ever since. I think that makes things even worse because he has had 15 years to come up with a better plot or at the very least, make the plot feel real.

James Cameron staked his reputation on this film and his reputation is intact. The movie deserves every technical, special effect, visual and sound award we can throw at it. Maybe even best director for the vision he had to implement new technologies. Avatar won best picture at the Golden Globes and as far I am concerned it did not deserve it. I hope it doesn’t win an Oscar for Best Picture. I hope, as far as Hollywood is concerened, story still matters. I know it does for me.

My rating – I want to give it 4 Babbles based on the visuals and graphics but I don’t think I can. I have to ask myself? If this movie is on a DVD on a30 inch TV would I still enjoy it? Yes, but not nearly as much. I think movies that get high rating should not be dependent on a big screen. I might be being a little snobby here but I give this movie 3.5 Babbles.

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9 Comments

Filed under Reviews

9 responses to “Yes, I dare criticize Avatar.

  1. Scott

    Well said, Jeff! I know you weren’t able to record the Avatar podcast with us, but we did talk about the lack of story and simplistic concepts that Cameron exploited. It just came down to most of us liking the movie in spite of its shortcomings. At some point, we’ll have to have an Avatar DVD-viewing party and see if we want to modify our scores, or post new ones based solely on the home-entertainment front.

    –Scott

    • Jeff

      Thanks for the nod! BTW- I liked your Golden Globe commentary. You should do some more. Instead of reviews I could actually see you being our Hollywood beat writer, commenting on stuff like that.

  2. Young-Sun Kim

    Nice. You’ve come around.

    I’ll take it a step further. The issue is actually beyond story. In screenwriting, it is commonly understood that all great films, no matter the genre, is rooted in great CHARACTERS. All great storytellers focus on character, character, character. And plot stems from character. That’s why many of today’s films are so bad because all the focus is on plot. Inherently, as humans, we care about PEOPLE. Not plot.

    Avatar not only relies on a tired, re-treaded story, but is awash with cliched, two-dimensional characters that say, and do, nothing original. It’s cliche on top of cliche, wrapped in beautiful, contexturalized wrapping paper.

    Best Picture??? Gimme a break. It’s Titanic all over again.

    Just proves that it is so ridiculous to give out awards for art.

    • Jeff

      Well said sir. You summed it up much more succinctly then I did. Just like in real life, character counts. I’m not even trying to be elite about this, I love a good sci-fi movie as much as anyone, but the more I thought about this movie the more it bugged the heck out of me.

  3. As a producer of story driven films, I must agree completely with your enlightened opinion.

  4. Julie

    you might have seen this already, but I think it speaks to your point.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/04/avatar-pocahontas-in-spac_n_410538.html

  5. Whoo Hoo, Jeff Bridges!!!! Yeah!!!!

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