Avatar Pt 1

I went to see Avatar with Kate. I felt like I had to see it. It is one of these movies that everyone is seeing and talking about. It is the movie that is supposed to change everything about 3D. I had to know what everyone was talking about in terms of the visual look of the movie.

There is a lot to say about this movie. Visually it is amazing. It is truly unlike any move to ever come before it. I was amazed at the way things moved in and out of focus in the 3D effect. It really made the whole look pop. There was always something to look at. It does a good job to make you forget you are watching computer graphics the whole time.

I also had to see it because of something I heard on NPR's Fresh Air. David Edelstein was talking about this decade in movies having the bookends of The Matrix and Avatar. In The Matrix Neo had to brake through the wall of a false reality to find his true self. In Avatar the Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) has to live his life through his false body to find his true self. Now you have to embrace the fallacy to find yourself. I think there is an interesting comparison here. With movies like Harry Potter added in, you can say this decade was about finding your true self outside the world you already know.

The problem with Avatar is that the two forms of storytelling are not well married together. I was astonished by the visual story telling in the first 2/3rds of the movie. I thought the pace was good because the movie showed us what it was like for Jake Sully to be on Pandora. I liked discovering the world long with him, like a child seeing thing for the first time.

I felt like the plot was dragged along by what James Cameron wanted to have in the movie. This gave the movie the We've Seen It All Before feeling that lot of people talk about. People say it is Dance with Wolves in Space or Ferngully meets Braveheart. I felt like the battle scene at the end of the movie was a way to show all the cool things I can do. It felt too much like a video game cut scene and I just wanted to see the result.

The plot is also too simple. The bad guys are Mr. Greedy Corporate guy (Giovanni Ribisi) and The Sadistic Mercenary (Stephen Lang). They motivations are so simple. You know there is a war going on back on earth. You just need to pay lip service to how the resources were needed for earth. Snidely Whiplash thought that Giovanni Ribisi's character was too over the top. Making them a little less bad would have gone a long way.

There is a lot for a film student to write about with this movie. There are themes of Identity, Self, Loyalty, Technology, and the nature of man in this movie. There is a lot to pick apart and think of, like what is the role of science in saving the environment?

In the end Avatar is disappointing. It is a beautiful movie that has a weak plot. That is what a lot of people expected it to be. The disappointment is that it could have been better. At the edges we all saw places where this movie could have been great.


Best Science Fiction Film of 2009
Best Live Action 3D Film of all Time


Popular Posts