Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Avatar Movie Review

So I finally gave in and picked up Avatar to give it a shot (and to also buy the rifftrax for the movie, they are so awesome). How does this movie measure up the the hype and awards? Is it an epic masterpiece of unrivaled proportions, or is it another dime a dozen sci-fi/fantasy flicks that're good for a popcorn view and nothing else? Read on to see, be warned though, spoilers ahead.

Characters: 2/5

First off, we're going to look at the characters. Boy, you thought Twilight had flat boring characters, just wait until you see Avatar. The characters are just boring cliches. The main character Jake (I think that's his name, I couldn't overly care for him) is just a boring guy who spends the whole movie going "Woah!" at everything on Pandora (more on that later). The main girl is the exotic beauty and the daughter of the village chief (man, how original!) and she's the one who falls for Jake as she teaches him the ways of their noble can do no wrong tribe.

The rest of the characters are equally shallow and bit parts, save for three. The first is the weaselly little corporation head that oversees the mining operation. He can be seen playing golf while everyone works, is a racist, hates the Na'vi, thinks them godless savages and cares only for money (SYMBOLISM!). Second is Sigourney Weaver, who is the head scientist of the Avatar program, she's the smoking, cussing braniac who sympathizes with the Navi. Lastly, the one who is the reason I gave the characters a 2 instead of a 1 is Colonel Miles Quaritch, played by Stephen Lang. This guy is a riot. The most over the top, muscles for brains lunatic you've ever seen. Chest thumpin' hard edged, no mercy, anti-peace guy who spouts the most ridiculous lines you can think of. Seriously, there should have been a laugh track following this guy around.

Art Design: 4/5

There is no denying it, this movie is beautiful, and that's the problem, it's TOO beautiful. You can't get drawn into this movie because everything is too perfect. Pandora is every fantasy cliche taken to the Nth degree. When you walk along the ground, your footprints glow (kinda like Micheal Jackson's Billy Jean music video). The creatures are basically just earth critters given extra details (six legged horses, or the laughing hyenas) or just fantasy creatures (the dragon bird things).

The landscape is like a mix between a Windows screen saver, those fantasy posters you see in a college dorm, and those fiber optic light trees....and toss in a lava lamp for good measure, and you got Pandora. The whole place is just too glowy. And there are floating mountains...with no reason given as to WHY they float. Waterfalls rush off the sides...and where does the water come from? Who knows, not Cameron, that's for sure. I would've accepted the floating mountains if they gave some reason, even a simple throw away line (heck, Beast Wars Transformers had an episode with a floating mountain, which was caused by a large mass of unstable Energon, the energy field it created lifted the mountain off of the ground. A children's cartoon could explain it, but not the massive budget CGI wankfest that is Avatar).

Then of course, there is the Na'vi themselves. They're furries. Cat-like elven faries, all perfect, beautiful and graceful. Seriously, that's all they are. Cameron took the cheap route in the movie by making the aliens beautiful so they'll be easier to love and want to win, instead of going for a challenge and making the race not-so-pretty, but no, flash before substance after all. They are perfect, slender, strong, tall, agile, skilled, there is not one flaw to them, which is just boring. I'd like to see the Predators hunt the Na'vi and show them some true skill. Fah!

Music: 3/5

The music wasn't bad, but it wasn't memorable either. It was just there, it was whimsical when needed, action packed when needed, tribal when called for. It just filled the role that was called, nothing really stood out to me in the movie. That's a shame too, since James Horner did the soundtrack, he's also done Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan (BEST STAR TREK MOVIE EVER!) and Aliens (another Cameron movie, and a good one too). But in the end, it's just meh.

Story: 1/5

It's Dances in Wolves meets The Last Samurai meets Fern Gully meets Pocahontas....IN SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE! Oh, and sprinkle in a heavy dose of Environmentalist ideology and you got Avatar. Seriously, the story is the same thing as Fern Gully, and people love to mock that movie, yet they praise this movie...why? They're both cartoons.  Should just have the evil big bad colonel sing that Slime song Tim Curry sang in Fern Gully. This movie is, for the most part, boring. You watch Jake learn the ways of the noble, pure, beautiful, graceful, can do no wrong Na'vi, and you see the evils of the big bad capitalist corporation more concerned with money than lives, and you see the big bad evil army (oh wait, they're mercenaries instead of marines) as it burns down the forests so you'll hate hate hate them and their evil ways. Oh! And the colonel drinks a cup of coffee whilst they burn down the forest. Man...what cartoonishly bad cliches of villainy. If only they had mustaches they could twiddle and stroke whilst they cackled maniacally and gave Bond villain speeches of how they'll take over the world.

On the plus side, the final battle was cool. It was well done, no extreme up close shaky cam shots, but pulled back so you can see the action. The battle was able to follow the main heroes and villains around and you got to see what all they did, and how they did. It was well done, and it made me glad to see that Cameron could still direct a great action scene (he did do Terminator 2 and Aliens, what I consider two of the greatest action movies around).

Final Score: 3/5 (Not an average)

This movie is a middle of the road movie, nothing more. It's not great, and it's at least passable as a SyFy movie plot, just with an overblown budget. The characters are shallow...and I mean shallow. The best character is the comically over the top evil Colonel. If I was given a choice to watch this or Revenge of the Sith, I'd take Lucas' CGI movie over Cameron's. Lucas at least gave me a story, while similar to alot of other stories (even the original trilogy's story), at least it wasn't an almost scene for scene replay of a previous movie (like Avatar is for Fern Gully.) This two hour and forty minute tale could be told in half the time if it wasn't for so much padding to show us the 'uber awesome beauty' of Pandora.

Me? I'll stick to Borderlands' Pandora, it's much more awesome to run around on.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go and forget the bad Avatar and watch the good Avatar...The Last Airbender (the cartoon, NOT that crap movie).

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree more with your review! Watched it the other night and was left feeling completely "meh" about it!