Okay, I realize that I’m going to disappoint some of you, but I promise, I have very valid arguments for what I’m about to say…
It was up for Best Picture…and was the largest grossing box office smash. The reviews have been FANTASTIC! People have watched it over, and over, and over, and…well, you get the point. So, when my hubby purchased Avatar this weekend, I was prepared for AWESOME.
It was OK.
[cringing for reaction]
Okay, now that that’s over, allow me to explain. First, I’m not saying it’s bad, because it’s NOT a bad movie. The cinematography was beautiful. The actors did a great job (I heart Michelle Rodriguez; chick kicks serious butt) and visually, things probably couldn’t be better. And the unique, completely fabricated language is pretty impressive.
The story? Eh.
SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!
(Now that I can’t be blamed for ruining the movie for you, I can continue!)
Avatar read (watched?) like a typical Native American movie to me. I know James Cameron said that it was about environmentalism, but all I could think about were the gazillions of movies about white/Native interactions that are [already] out there. The only difference here is that instead of the wild west, the natives are on a different planet. And they’re blue.
And can we just discuss the name of the planet for a minute?? Pandora?? REALLY???? I’m sure Cameron was going for some deep symbolism or something (recall if you will that Pandora was the Greek chick [ah! seeing another pattern developing in my blogs!] who opened the forbidden box–known as “Pandora’s box” [haha, genius Greeks]–and let all the plagues out into the world), but that symbolism is lost to anyone who doesn’t get it, and intensely vague for those who do.
Okay, so we’ve got these blue dudes and chicks running around with tails, right? Oh, and phallic dreadlocks that they can use to plug into the world around them. Like trees where the souls of their ancestors reside…and animals. Which begs the question: how do they, um, copulate? [Ahem.]
So a Native American would steal a horse, or find a wild pony, jump on its back and break it and then would own it, right? These blue dudes? SORRY: Na’vi. Yeah, they plug their squid-like dreads into the squid-like tube thingy attached to some part of these wild flying beast thingies (which I’m sure have a technical name, but I don’t really care) and all of a sudden, the frenzy in the wild animal’s eyes dies away and one of near love replaces it, and the animal is owned by the blue dude…er, Na’vi. Seriously. They call it “making the bond.” Yeah. That’s also a metaphor for something else…but, moving on. [shudder]
There’s another clip where one of the deer-like animals is killed by the blue guys for sustenance, and as it dies, the main character Jake finishes him off with thanking the four-legged critter for his sacrifice and commending his spirit to the Earth/Pandora(?) mother goddess. You know, I seem to remember a little movie called The Last of the Mohicans in which two of the main characters DO THE EXACT SAME THING, only not in black-light wack-a-doo world.
That’s another thing: the movie (while beautiful) looks like a giant moving black light poster. Ciga-weed, anyone?
Oh, yeah, and Dances with Wolves has a whole animal/human/earth connection thing too, but who’s counting??
Ooh, ooh, yeah, and remember the power loaders in the movie Aliens?? You know the ones: yellow; Ripley jumps into one to fight the queen alien. “Get away from her, you b*&ch!!” Ah, now you remember! Cameron recycled that idea too (granted, it was his own the first time around, so it’s not technically plagerism…) and orchestrates a climactic fight scene in this movie between a different soldier and a blue, less acidic alien. Geez. (Sigourney Weaver’s also in BOTH movies)
And the score?
Dear James Horner,
Please come up with new phrasing and drop the triplet sets that you use in EVERY score. It’s very recognizable. And old. I could have plugged the Mask of Zorro soundtrack in and have gotten something pretty similar in most cases.
Really, I could keep going. But, I won’t.
In all, I feel that to fully grasp the concept of Avatar, I would need to smoke some serious peyote (which I am unwilling to do), hug some major trees, roll around in a lot dirt (maybe even eat a little…), and forget all of the movies about big, bad white expansionist guys taking over the less advanced, more spiritual indigenous peoples that I’ve EVER seen. Then, maybe I can get on board with it.
Or not…the blue dudes and chicks would still be obnoxiously scream-crying about everything, and that gets old. Fast.
So, here’s to the almost-best picture of the year. Like most in that category, it was a disappointment.
[let the scoffs and arguments commence]
Avatar photo source
Pandora photo source
The Last of the Mohicans photo source (Because I love me some old-school, loincloth wearin’ Daniel Day-Lewis) (www.fanpop.com)