Tuesday, January 5, 2010
So I went to see Avatar last night, and I can pretty much sum it up in two words-Ooh. Shiny. Then I honestly couldn't remember most of the movie. Not because it was that forgettable, but because it had been a while (ten years in fact) since I had seen any 3-D movie and my brain was seriously scrambled at that point. Thankfully most of it came back to me the next morning.
This is the synopsis to Avatar: There is a world called Pandora with an alien race living on it called the Na'vi. Naturally, the human race try to mine precious mineral from Pandora and kill any Na'vi who stands in their way (minor sidenote-this is the second movie I've seen in a week where the human race screws up an innocent alien race for personal gain, and it's so horribly accurate of what we'll really do in the future). Jake, a disabled marine, mentally controls a Na'vi avatar who can walk and interact with the Na'vi culture. His mission is to try to convince the Na'vi to leave so they can mine the minerals.
Watching this movie, I have to disagree with most critics. For the people that think it's the most ground breaking movie of all time, they're giving Avatar way too much credit. For the people that hate this movie...well, they shouldn't. It's not a bad movie at all.
Of course the biggest strength of this movie is the visual effects. A lot of money and talent went into making sure the CGI is realistic, and I haven't seen it better in any other movie. Not only that, the setting of the movie is breathtakingly beautiful, and watching it in 3-D is an extra treat. It is arguably the best special effects movie ever made, and I hope that's why you, the audience, went to go see it.
For those that came into this movie expecting a story...well, you get one, but it's a story we've heard before. It doesn't break any boundaries, and the characters probably aren't going to stay too long in your memory. The actors are decent for the roles they play but they take a backseat to the visual effects. I do have to give some credit to Sam Worthington, who plays the lead character. In this role he plays a disabled marine who looks skinny with atrophied legs. This is also the same actor who plays Marcus Wright in Terminator Salvation-a beefed up killing machine. Honestly, I couldn't tell he was the same actor in both roles. At the same time, I wasn't too impressed by Colonel Quartich, who was so obvious and one-dimensional you might as well had been playing the imperial march theme to Star Wars every time he was in a scene. As I mentioned above, the plot is predictable, meaning that I could predict exactly what was going to happen from start to finish, and I could recognize a plot device (*cough *cough tree of souls) every time I saw it too.
There is a note of implausibility in this movie, and as far as I know it has yet to be addressed by critics-in many situations, especially the first half of the movie, Jake is doing death-defying stunts in a new body which could easily kill him. There were many times when I honestly expected him to wake up in his interface pod and say, "So if I'm killed in the matrix-um, I mean dream sleep, do I die here as well?" Now, you could argue that his avatar is a feline body so it's naturally more agile. I could argue that I could get in a car with more safety features and still have no idea how to drive the thing.
But even this is blown way out of proportion when they have to relocate and a scientist named Grace introduces him to a new pod stating casually, "It's the one with the least amount of bugs in it." Um, WHAT??? When my PC has a bug in it, I just restart my computer. When Jake's pod gets a bug, he's going to instantly fall asleep while swinging five hundred feet above the frigging jungle! How did this guy stay alive throughout the whole movie?
FINAL GRADE-3 1/2 out of 5 stars. I would honestly like to give this movie more, but special effects will never earn a perfect grade from me. Overall, I would recommend this movie to anyone wanting to see something pretty.
Not surprisingly, after the movie, I watched fifteen minutes of credits dedicated entirely to the visual effects team.