Thursday, December 31, 2009

Avatar - I See (Through) You

I braved megaplex cinema hell on Tuesday to watch the most hyped film of the year ... and came away underwhelmed. Then I was overwhelmed (and perplexed) by the adulation for this movie by my learned film-making colleagues. Simply stated, I was bored for most of the running time of Avatar. No dramatic tension, no characters I had emotional buy-in for, no thrills or surprises. No matter how dazzling the technology, it can never replace the joy of a story well told.

My (tongue-in-cheek) review:

"Welcome to Pandora! Where exposition and bad dialogue thrive. Okay, yes, the technology was impressive though some of the creature designs were improbable at best (a beastie that evolved bullet proof armour in the shape of a hammer-head solely for the purpose of defeating: Iron Man, Imperial Walkers and souped up, 'Aliens' style power loaders = evolutionary genius!) and it was curious to see that helicopters now require two main rotors in the future while the humble wheelchair remains the pinnacle of paraplegic transportation.

The story makes no sense. The Company (obviously tired of trying to weaponise Aliens) goes to great expense to infiltrate the natives due to its fear of arrows. Giovanni Ribisi playing Paul Reiser playing Burke playing Parker wants to impregnate Sigourney Weaver with an Ali- ... oh, hang on ... no, he wants to obtain the unobtainium which is, um, unobtainable due to the dudes with arrows and big ears living in Rivendell ... I mean Treehome.

The cunning plan is to create Avatars that are identical to the natives in all respects ... except they wear pants and Marine tunics. Ken Watanabe (or was it Zoe Saldana?) then teaches Sam Worthington's avatar to be a samurai. This goes on for what seems like three hours with no stakes, no conflict and therefore little interest. Yawn.

Finally, the evil military dude sees the drawback of diplomacy (after a brief stint at Copenhagen no doubt) and decides some man-made global warming is in order.

The Ewoks are then rallied by Sam to defeat The Empire and bring peace to the Galaxy in a preposterous battle sequence that feels interminable.

I had no emotional buy-in with any character and for most of its length I was just bored. Technology cannot replace a story well told no matter how dazzling it may be."

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