Jul 2, 2010

Avatar...hmmm

I am typically about 9 months behind when it comes to watching new movies. So I finally saw Avatar. I think I will write more when I have seen it a second time, but here are my initial thoughts.

Acting - passable at times/horrid at other times e.g. Sigourney Weaver demanding her cigarette in the scene where her character is introduced (Oooohh, don't mess with her. She's a tough customer.) Her line is so bad, that it sticks in my memory, and I have a pretty poor memory. "What is wrong with this picture?" It's almost like she's begging me to ask,  "What is wrong with this  motion picture?"
Special Effects/CGI - really good
Story - good (once I got past the over-the-top obviousness of the correlation between this story and that of our country's sinister history of conquering indigenous peoples; did James Cameron steal this plot from Disney's Pocahontas?)
Made-up descriptive name for valuable metal -"unobtainium?" How about "obviousium" or "adamantium"...oh, wait, that one is taken
Character development - 2D, as with most James Cameron films (the leader of the security forces is all macho, kill, kill, kill...I don't know. It left something to be desired.)
Excessive use of voice-over to reiterate what is happening in front of my eyes, just in case I stopped paying attention - five stars

Those of you who know me, know I am wont to come down hard on James Cameron, even if I like some of his movies. Aliens is one of the best movies ever, who can argue with that? That said, I was really into this movie. I had the house to myself. Hubby was away for work, kids were asleep. I found myself really caring about whether or not the blue people were going to win. I was even tense when Jake was running from the "tiger-thing." My problem with the movie, and a lot of James Cameron's other work, is that he is so brute force. He has no subtlety at all. "What should we make the call sign for the lone human fighter pilot who helps the blue people? Rogue 1? Oh, yeah. That's great. I so didn't hear that in Star Wars thirty years ago. Do you think George Lucas would be mad at us if we had the other rebels call Jake's Avatar Rogue Leader during the dogfight portion of the movie?"

A major redeeming factor for me was Giovanni Ribisi as a constipated corporate-type. For the first two sentences he was on-screen, my brain said, "Oh, please! He's totally wrong for this. He's gonna screw this up." Then he reeled me in. He is a great actor, and I have always like him, but I tend to think of him as young and hip. The way he changed his voice for the role was kind of inspired. I bought it. I know I criticized character development earlier, but his performance managed to sneak through. Another note about characters: Sigourney Weaver's Avatar was really weird looking and gave a way better performance than human Sigourney Weaver. This was the first time I  saw Sam Worthington on screen, and he was pretty much a hottie (after the beard grew in) and not a terrible actor either.

My overall impression was that this was a good movie in spite of the cheese with which James Cameron attempted to infuse it.

6 comments:

  1. I'm glad I got to see this one in 3D on the big screen. Sadly, I agree with you about Sigourney Weaver in this role: she seemed kinda wooden.

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  2. Yeah. That's a really good way to describe her performance. I wanted to be as in love with her as I was in Alien. Clearly James Cameron is still in love with her or else he would have chosen someone who would do the part justice.

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  3. I also laughed ALOUD at her cigarette line. Ha! Yea, that's how I wake up everyday too! And could they really not have come up with a better name for the unobtainable mineral on Pandora than Unobtainium??? Sheesh...

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  4. I guess "Under-the-treetanium" just doesn't roll off the tongue the way "unobtainium" does. I think these directors are so ensconced in admiration that they really can't tell the difference between their good ideas and their bad ones. I'm pretty sure that's the entire reason the Peter Jackson version of King Kong was so very unwatchable.

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  5. LOL! I prefer Under-the-treetanium.

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