19
Dec
09

AVATAR

Last night me and a group of friends went and saw Jame’s Cameron’s newest movie, Avatar. As I am sure you know, it has been hyped because Cameron spent 10 years making it, blah blah blah. But was it great? Was it the best movie ever made? Is it worth spending $12 to go and see?

Yes and No.

Let me explain, by breaking the movie apart and talking about each part.

Visuals

By far the best part of this entire movie, it looked absolutely gorgeous. The human characters where played by real actors, but basically everything else was CGI. Everything was extremely detailed and a joy to look at.

The environment was richly detailed and it felt alive. The same with the creatures and the Na’Vi. From the hulking technology of the humans, to the organic symbiosis of the natural world and the Na’Vi, this movie was a treat for the eyes, I can find nothing to say against this movie’s visuals.

Creature Design

This part of the movie, in my opinion was not as strong as the visuals. On one hand, the creatures looked great, extremely detailed, and they moved fluidly and naturally. On the other hand, I would have enjoyed the creature design more if they had been more original, since the majority of the creatures were jut “alienized” versions of common earth creatures. There was the (giant) panther-alien, the (giant) horse/anteater-alien (I kid you not), and the (not giant) coyote-alien, and the (giant) rhino-alien. Although I really liked the Banshees.

No not that kind of banshee.

This kind of banshee:

Anyway, they were my favorite creature in the movie, and any scene with them in it got +10 awesome points.

Although one thing that irked me in the movie was this creature, that when frightened, would turn into something like this:

This.Does.Not.Work.

Just a minor complaint, and maybe forgivable considering that this movie also has floating mountains (!). But still, it kinda irked me.

Enviroments

Another very strong point in the movie.

Everything was beautifully imagined, and it had plenty of great set pieces and epic vistas. But, this brings me to my next point:

Bigger Does Not Equal Better

So many things in this movie were oversized, from the Na’Vi, to the animals, to the trees. And while I have no problem with it per se, I would have liked to have saw more thought than “Hey, we can save some design expense if we take a normal tree and make it really really big!

Minor complaint there, and not a big deal, just thought I would throw it out there.

The Na’Vi

The Na’Vi, the blue cat people of the movie, look great. They are completely CGI, and use absolutely the latest in computer motion capture to make their faces and movements natural and realistic.

That being said…

Warning! Philosophical rant incoming!

Why are we, as humans, so vain to think that our design is the best and should be the standard for all sentient life in the galaxy? Here we are, we are suited for this planet, and most probably this planet only. So why are we so vain to think that aliens will look more or less like us? They will have evolved to fit their environment, and more than likely, they will look nothing like us. They might not even resemble life as we know it.

I know that it makes for more relate characters if we can see something of us in them, but I would love to see more movies that take the concept of alien life in more realistic terms.

/end rant

Story

Okay, in my opinion this one of the weakest parts of the movie.

The basic premise is that the evil humans, under the HORRENDOUSLY EVIL orders of the Military-Industrial complex, have come to Pandora, the home of the PEACEFUL, TREE HUGGING Na’Vi. This disabled marine is then put into the avatar program, that allows him to take control of a genetically engineered Na’Vi body so that he can hopefully make peace with them and make them move so that the humans can mine the extremely expensive ore that is buried on the planet.

And really, I bet you can guess the rest of the story from there. Why? Because the whole thing is just one cliche after another, and I was not surprised once. I could have told you who was going to die, and basically what was going to happen from very early in the movie. Really, with such a huge budget, they could have spent a little on getting the story halfway decent.

Another thing was some of the dialog.

Oh boy, did this movie have some cheesy lines.

“You are not in Kansas anymore.”

Come on, is that the best you could do? Really? $300 million? And that’s what your writers come up with?

It wasn’t just the story elements that was painfully cliched, it was characters to.

You have the big leatherneck, that wants to just blow everything up (yay!), you have the worried bureaucrat, you have the bitchy boss, that thinks she is better than everyone else, and you have the lost marine that is searching for a purpose in life.

And I must admit, I was rooting for the humans the entire movie. I wanted them to blow those stupid blue smurphs off the face of Pandora. I think the main reason I was rooting for them was because I felt the movie was preaching to me.

“HUMANS BAD! HUMANS DESTROY PLANET! DESTROY THE MACHINES AND LIVE WITH NATURE!”

So, I almost cheered when the general blew up the Hometree (whoops, spoiler, but really, who wouldn’t have seen it coming?).  And I was cheering for them to the very end.

One thing that bugged me was at the very end, during the penultimate battle. I found it amazing how arrows that earlier in the movie bounced off the glass of the VTOLs, now went right through the glass and killed the pilots. And why the hell did the ships crash when they lose ONE engine? These people ever hear of redundant systems? I think it is just one of those things that “it works/fails when the movie needs it to work/fail”.

Although I must admit, it is better than the end of The Return of the Jedi, where the Imperial Stormtroopers are slaughtered by a bunch of teddy bears. 😡

Overall Thoughts

Go see it.

I know I have ripped its story, but really, it is not a bad movie at all. It is cliched and predictable, but that’s okay. It has amazing visuals, nice creatures and environments, and overall was a pretty good movie.

Although…

It was to long, in my opinion, running in at 2:45, it kept on and on and on.

Plus, I think the writers had played mass effect, by the look of that one scene… only Avatar had two blue people, instead of just one.

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