I spent the past 15 minutes searching through Google Video and YouTube trying to find a TV trailer for Avatar that I have seen several times in which it states in between flashing scenes that it is THE BEST MOVIE EVER. That's right. A movie with the balls to declare to us that every movie ever made can go fuck itself because this one trumps them all. I was half expecting the DVD to have trouble fitting into my Xbox due to giant testicles hanging off the side of disc, but somehow I managed to get it into the tray without any unexpected male genitalia getting in the way. Anyhow, after searching through thirty different TV commercials and about seven-thousand other Avatar related videos, it was fairly impossible for me to find the commercial I was looking for so you'll all have to take my word on it. Or, turn on your TV right now and there is a one-in-three chance that it will already be playing along with its subliminal message that convinces you that watching Avatar cures cancer and grows your boobs by a full cup in only three weeks.
It wasn't until I was handed someone else's copy of the movie that I had to pay nothing for that I decided to give it a chance. Sure it looked generic and the commercials were so incredibly arrogant, but everyone kept telling me it was awesome. How can I not trust the opinion of people? People that I know. People that I trust! So we sat down for 162 minutes in front of a large plasma screen TV...
It's hard to believe that anyone in the world that can be accessed via television, movies, newspapers, magazines, the internet, blimps, smoke signals or carrier pidgeons hasn't already heard about Avatar and seen most of its best scenes via trailers or advertisements. I am pretty sure that if James Cameron had been given permission, he would have burned a giant Avatar logo into the moon so that we would be reminded every night that we should go see it. Nothing wrong with that idea. Why shouldn't we create a monument to the self-proclaimed BEST MOVIE EVER on the moon? However, just in case you have been frozen in ice in a glacier since prehistoric times and you just woke up fifteeen minutes ago and decided to read this as your very first method of getting reacquainted with society:
Avatar is a movie about a planet far from Earth. Many alien species live there but the most intelligent of which appears to be the Na'vi. Replacing the term "Na'vi" with "Tall Blue Native Americans" will probably work just as well so feel free to do it for the rest of this article if so inclined. A large human company is excavating resources from the planet. Specifically, a metal called unobtanium. No really, that is the best name they could come up with. In predictable fashion, the Na'vi are living in a giant tree that is situated on top of the most profitable area to mine this metal and the evil humans and their evil corporation will do anything to move them out of the way, even create bioengineered Avatars that look and move like the Na'vi but are actually controlled by humans. Put it all together and hi-jinks ensue. For two-and-a-half-hours.
I bet you expected me to start off by complaining and whining and saying bad things. Instead I am going to start with what I did like about the movie - it was entertaining. It can be tough for a movie of this length to hold my attention for the entire feature but at no point did I feel bored or like I was struggling through. It actually is pretty engrossing and isn't that what movies are really supposed to be about? Additionally, the environments and characters, while still not perfectly believable or rendered, are very well done. It is rare to see such human looking emotions and movements out of computer generated characters but it works well here. The downside is that some of the scenes where live action sets and characters were interacting with animated ones, the transition is a bit obvious and tough to swallow. One scene where a naked, old Sigourney Weaver is sat down in the middle of hundreds of computer generated Na'vi under a fake computer generated tree is especially jarring.
Well, to put it bluntly, this is the most generic and cliched movie I have ever seen. Ever. Anyone who has ever seen an action movie in their life can pretty much predict what is going to happen in each scene, what the results later in the movie will be, what many lines of dialogue are going to be and even what a character is going to develop into as the movie progresses. What? Michelle Rodrigeuz plays the tough but loyal military pilot who has gruff and tough lines? HOLY SHIT NO WAY! Here are some actual lines from the movie itself:
Col Quaritch: You are not in Kansas anymore, you are on Pandora, ladies and gentlemen, respect that fact every second of every day.
Trudy Chacon: [fires on Quaritch's Hellicopter] You're not the only one with a gun, Bitch!
Jake Sully: Look, at first it was just orders. And then, everything changed. Okay, I fell in love. I fell in love with the, with the forest, with the Omaticaya people, with you. With you.
Jake Sully: It's over.
Col Quaritch: Nothing's over while I'm breathing.
Here is me converting those lines so that they fit into a new movie I'm producing called SMAVATAR - INVASION OF THE BALL GRABBERS:
Col Steve: You are not in Kansas anymore, you are on Planet Phobos, ladies and gentlemen, respect that fact every second of every day.
Jackie Bam Bam: [fires on Steve's Hellicopter] You're not the only one with a gun, Bitch!
Molly Jackson: Look, at first it was just orders. And then, everything changed. Okay, I fell in love. I fell in love with the, with the forest, with the Ball Grabber people, with you. With you.
Molly Jackson: It's over.
Col Steve: Nothing's over while I'm breathing.
You could pretty much take Avatars entire script, insert some random names in the place of what is already there and have yourself another billion dollar grossing film! I can't wait!
It isn't bad. It is entertaining and it is pretty, it's just not original. In fact, it might be the most cliched, generic, hackneyed and predictable piece of entertainment to have ever been released. Even Reefer Madness had me in more suspense than Avatar ever did at any point. Watching Avatar wouldn't be a mistake but you won't be missing anything by passing it up. More importantly, I can tell you from first hand experience that despite its own claims, Avatar is not the best movie ever. Not even close.