Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Enter the World ... Of Giant Smurfs

People have been in two groups when it comes to Avatar. There is the group who loves it and wishes they could live on Pandora and then there are the people that hate it and believe that it was a waste of time. For me I guess I would fall in the middle. I didn’t really love it and I didn’t really hate it. The movie has some good points but it has some bad points.

The film centers around paraplegic Marine Jake Sully, whose brother is killed, he then takes his place on a mission to the planet Pandora. There he learns the greedy corporate figurehead's, Parker Selfridge, mission to drive the Na’vi (humanoid natives on Pandora) out of their tree home so he can get to a large abundant of a unique element (I think it's metal) that resides there.

Jake then uses his dead brothers Avatar, infiltrates the Na’Vi, learns about them and their ways, and I won’t spoil how this all unfolds but I think you can pretty much guess the ending.

The biggest problem I had with this film was its predictability. Many have called this film Dances with Wolves in Space and it is, but instead of Native Americans you have smurf people. SO, we’ve seen this story before and we know what we can expect, which isn’t a good thing. If I go into a movie and I’m able to guess the ending in the films first five minutes then what’s the point?

Many people argue that the film isn’t about the story but about the experience of being on Pandora. That’s wonderful, but I don’t want to spend money on a movie that has no original story and can’t get me emotionally involved. Yeah the CGI is wonderful, until the end, where the CGI is overused (It was like their computer threw up on the screen).

Ok it was unfair for me to say that the story isn’t original. It’s original in some areas. The whole Avatar program, where you sync your human brain with your Avatar body, that’s cool. That’s all I got.

Now another big flaw with this movie is its characters. All the typical character types are here we have the greedy business head, the redneck Colonel and of course the typical hero who finds his destiny. Yeah, if it’s not broken, then why fix it? But these characters are so predictable that they are boring. Once they step onto the screen we know exactly what their motivations are and this brings me back to this movie being so predictable.

This films huge deal was its 3D and it seemed to skimp on story and characters. If the characters were a little more interesting, then I would have liked the film better, but they are never really taking out of 1D and placed in 3D with the visuals.

If you can overlook the flaws there are things to like about the film. I thought the beginning, where Jake Sully arrives on Pandora was done well. We have the fish out of water protagonist and we’re learning things with him. When we are introduced to the Na’Vi for the first time, learning about them, is things we’ve seen before but some things are interesting.

The movie did go on forever though. The last battle was a little overtop for me, with way too much CGI. Did we forget that CGI is a tool? Why are so many directors over using CGI? I like sets, I like location and I like things to have a real feeling to them rather then have something so clean that was created in a computer.

They really could have condensed the movie to a shorter runtime; I don’t think it would have lost anything special; it might have gained things from it.

Now for the people who have Post-Avatar Depression Syndrome, what the hell? Why are you depressed about not being a seven foot tall smurf? Also, why would you want to live on Pandora? They make it very clear in the beginning of the film that everything out in the jungle want’s to kill you. Yeah, that’s a place I want to spend my vacation.

All and all this film is definitely a giant leap forward in filmmaking and pushes technology further. But, as for a piece of storytelling it’s nothing special.


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