General, Media, Movies and TV

So, I Saw Avatar…

All the hype, and I have to be honest, I don’t really like James Cameron’s movies so I was not expecting much in the way of originality. In other words, my expectations for this movie were not exactly high.

It met my expectations. It was half a billion dollars of beautiful mediocrity. Sure, the film looked absolutely amazing. But the characters and the stories were so derivative.

For example, I’ve seen the aliens who were connected so intimately to their ecosystem in Orson Scott Card’s Speaker for the Dead. I have heard the natives struggling against the cold industrialists in any number of films, although none quite as drawn out and painful as Dances with Wolves. And the preachy environmentalism was drawn directly from An Inconvenient Truth.

At over two and a half hours, Avatar was about as long as your average Cameron movie. It had the romance angle, the stunning visuals…yawn. If it hadn’t cost me $12, I probably would have spent most of the movie in the lobby. Actually, come to think of it, I had to go to the bathroom a lot, so I probably did spend a lot of it in the lobby.


4 thoughts on “So, I Saw Avatar…”

  1. I wholeheartedly agree. It was beautiful, but predictable: Ah, the turncoat will be turned to the alien side. Oh, they mentioned that only one person has ever ridden the big winged beastie: I wonder what *that* will foreshadow.

    It seemed to miss some of the deeper possibilities the world presented. We can cross interstellar space, but can’t dig underground for a rock without destroying the aboveground culture?

    Seeing Segourney Weaver come out of a sleep chamber was brilliant, though.

    Overall, the visuals alone were enough for me to thoroughly enjoy the film (and I was there with a pass, so it didn’t cost me anything).

    Cameron’s best work was probably _The Abyss_, although _T2_ is still one of my favorites. I can’t think of anything he’s done since that has been its equal. (And I really haven’t forgiven him for _Titanic_.)

  2. Great article on the science of Avatar, which makes me a little more tolerant.

    Here’s the author’s credentials:

    First, a little background: I’m a professor of astrophysics who has
    searched for planets, worked on SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial
    Intelligence) programs, and taught classes on life in the universe.
    Right now, I’m helping to build a global network of telescopes to
    search for planets and supernovae.

    That is a long-winded way of saying that it is part of my job
    description to think about the possibility of life on other worlds.
    So when James Cameron makes one of the most expensive movies ever
    made, and one that puts us right in the middle of an alien culture… in
    3D…. well to say I’m interested doesn’t begin to cover it.

    1. Actually, you need to read his comments for some corrections/clarifications. I wish he’d just rewritten the article.

      Overall, I thought the film was great, but it could have been slightly better.

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