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Avatar Review

As far as excitement around James Cameron’s Avatar went, I was definitely in the unexcited minority. I had been reading about it for years and how many thought it was going to be a huge breakthrough for movies. Then the trailers came out showing blue people, a lush alien jungle and futuristic cgi planes. And I was even less excited.

In many reviews, this would be the part where the once pessimistic reviewer begs for forgiveness and hails the film as a “cinematic triumph.” But, that will not be the case here.

Before anyone hurls a poison Na’vi arrow at my chest, let me point out what I did like.

Having recently seen, “A Christmas Carol” butchered in 3D by Robert Zemeckis, I was a little apprehensive about sitting through nearly three hours of it with Avatar. However, Cameron’s 3D is much better and unobtrusive. It didn’t feel like it was in your lap, like many have said, instead it just gave the scenery more depth and tactile feel. There were only a handful of times where it seemed gimmicky to me, like a Disney ride or much of Zemeckis’ “Carol.” The blending of live footage and cgi was also well done. As were the incredible landscapes of Pandora which made it feel like you were watching Cameron’s own acid trip come to life.

Now, for what I didn’t like. Get those Na’vi arrows ready.

Even with the new 3D and cgi amazement, I never got that “wow” feeling. And maybe that starts with the plot. We’re supposed to be in the year 2154, but lame, modern dialogue is still used like “You’re not in Kansas anymore”, someone calls the main character Jake played by Sam Worthington (a paraplegic) “Meals on Wheels” and in one scene Na’vi temptress Neytiri played by Zoe Saldana tells Jake “you’re a child” three times in a row.

Much of what happens in the movie feels like film deja vu. The storyline is an old one: stranger in a strange land, plotting against the natives at first, but eventually he learns to love them. Mainly because a female paramour caught his fancy or barely-clothed blue cat in this case. The rest comes off as an allegory for the plights of many, including Native Americans (the Na’vi) and the earth (an army is invading to get to a new energy source because we’ve already destroyed our own planet). And perhaps Cameron did this on purpose , but didn’t we already see the robotic combat suits in “Aliens”? And the ships’ design looked an awful lot like the ones in the opening sequence of “Terminator 2”. But maybe he meant to do that as an homage or hinting that it took place in the same futuristic universe.

Finally, this may come off as me being a biased Star Wars fan, but as great as the planet visuals were, the movie could have inter cut partsĀ  of “The Phantom Menace” and “Revenge of the Sith” without missing much of a beat. Oh, and that final battle…can you say Ewoks over the Empire. I mean Na’vi versus Sky People…sorry.

C+

posted by Seth Szilagyi in uncategorized and have Comment (1)

One Response to “Avatar Review”

  1. popscorn says:

    it ain’t easy being blue.

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