Monday, February 22, 2010

Big Flipping Deal

I was starting to feel that I was among a disturbingly small group of people -- a minuscule minority. In this group are the people who never saw Titanic, and who have no interest in seeing it (me) and who haven't seen Avatar and really had no interest in seeing it (me again).

So, over the weekend Todd and I found ourselves in a situation where we could watch Avatar. We didn't spend a dime to see it (thank Christ). Let's just say that a friend of ours was able to get us "free passes," and leave it at that! ;-) Since I was among a group of people, I was captive to the group will and so, Avatar it was!

What is the big flipping deal with this stupid movie? After about 15-20 minutes into the film I found myself (as well as the others) settling into an easy onslaught of commentary, a la MST3K. I absolutely cannot believe this ridiculous piece of crap won Golden Globes for best director and best motion picture for drama (DRAMA??? WTF???). There is no drama; only contrived, pointless, eye-rolling dialogue within a trite, overdone, predictable storyline that is about as subtle as using a grenade to crack a soft-boiled egg.

There are SO many problems with this movie that I don't even know where to begin. How about the dialogue?

Here's one of the first lines of dialogue that got me going:

Main dude (can't even remember their names): Why didn't you just let them kill my ass?
Main Na'vi woman: Because you have a strong heart.

My eyes rolled so hard they almost came out of my head.

What the fuuuuuuck? The notion of "a strong heart" or "a good heart" is the most ridiculous, weak, American plot convenience that exists. Why would a race of alien people, who are ostensibly at war with the "sky people" that come to steal their resources, make THAT kind of statement? It makes absolutely no sense.

More weak dialogue? That would be any words that came out of the mouth of the movie's absurdly stereotypical antagonist: the military general (of course) running the show. He's a 60-something, hard-ass, crew-cut, buff, racist, misogynist, jackass with three huge scars that run from the back-side of his head to the front, as if he lost an epic battle with an enraged garden rake. I forget his name too. But it doesn't matter. Really, there is nothing memorable about this movie at all. Anyway, he says things like "I got them by the balls!" And "Time to bring the pain!" No, I am not making that up.

Did I mention that this movie lacks any kind of subtlety at all? It does. Drama MY ASS.

Ok so how about the acting? Well, you know you've got problems when the most acceptable acting performance in your movie was delivered by Michelle Rodriguez. Maybe I should stop there. I will. But I do need to add that I think that the apparent life-sized, puppet version of Sigourney Weaver didn't hold up too well during the nearly 3-hour running time. Hey Cameron, maybe you should reconsider allowing actors to telephone in their performances?

The story is, as everyone is saying, nearly identical to Pocahontas or Dances with Wolves (or as South Park jibed: Dances with Smurfs). What makes Avatar slightly more unique than either of the stories I just mentioned is that Avatar COMPLETELY LACKS ANY DEPTH OR SUBTLETY OF ANY KIND. Cameron comes out of the box hammering the story into your face with absurdly one-dimensional characters.

But what everyone is really talking about with this film is, of course, the visual impact it presents. Nearly everyone I spoke to who saw this film all had the same thing to say, "Story and dialog were so-so, but the GCI (or graphics, or visuals) were unbelievable. You have to see it to believe it." Okay. I did see it. And, um...well...I hate to break it to you but, I'm not that impressed.

First of all, the Na'vi people are blue, 9-feet tall, skeletal, lumbering, mammals with tails that serve no purpose whatsoever. They have cat-like, wide eyes and mostly cat-like noses. They all look identical to each other. There is seriously little to no variation on what these beings look like. Towards the end of the movie they decide to go around Pandora (which must be pretty friggin' small) to ask for help from the other tribes to assist in getting rid of the general and his soon-to-be, ass-kicking army attack. Aside from the occasional bone in the nose (no I'm not making that up either) or different clothing, tribes from other parts of Pandora look EXACTLY like the ones we are introduced to and journey with throughout the film. Way to go, Cameron.

Second, most of Pandora looks like the cover of an 11-year-old girl's Trapper Keeper: Purple, pink, blue, and sparkly with unicorns! If you can't picture that, Pandora looks almost exactly like Zangarmarsh from World of Warcraft.

I kid you not.

All the animals have pink, blue and purple on their anatomy somewhere and many have extra legs or wings. Big deal. Know what fantasy animals really looked awesome on screen, and they didn't have to be pink, purple, blue and have 6 legs? The oliphants from Lord of the Rings.

As for the action, flying, fighting, etc. where Cameron used motion-capture on the real actors (though Sigourney Weaver is a HUGE MAYBE) that looks ok. But it isn't anything I haven't seen already in other films. I pretty much hated the prequel Star Wars movies (Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith). However, I saw all the same "groundbreaking" stuff in those movies as I did in Avatar. So how was this movie any different or better? It wasn't either. Period.

Maybe I am just cynical and jaded, but I fail to see why Avatar has generated SO much interest, acclaim, and CASH. Boy am I glad that I didn't pay one, red cent to see it.


Marsha said...

No really, Gina...tell us how you really feel about this movie. :)

Karin said...

Tee hee. i cannot STAND this director, I don't even wqnt to bother remembering his name. I have not seen avatar, I can surely wait until it comes out on netflix.
AND I'm not staying up for the Best Picture oscar, either.

Don't get me wrong, I love movies, but this one has no appeal to me at all.