James Cameron’s Avatar gets two overall ratings a 10 and a 3. The 10 rating is for the Na’vi parts of the movie that were so well done the 3 is for the human parts that were worse than a Sci-Fi original movie. Overall Avatar is a visually beautiful planetary romance that is worth watching.
This is the first good planetary romance in a long time. Planetary romances are hard to pull off with the last really good example being Dune. For more read Avatar The Planetary Romance.
The beginning of the movie is too slow, the first hook was terrible and I was glad once they got to Pandora. It’s offensive to use a wounded vet with a dead brother to make me feel sad and to peak my interest in a movie. Then to use a "genetic match" excuse that has no further explanation as to why it was so important… weak.
The saddest thing is that this movie would not make it past the studio's slush pile if someone other than James Cameron sent in the script. The studios would have read the first few pages, printed a rejection letter and tossed the script into the trash. Thankfully this was not the case.
The tech behind the avatar program is more interesting than originally believed. I loved how the Na’vi called them the dream walkers. for more read Concept and Tech of the Avatar Program.
Avatar’s Immaculate reality issues made watching it harsh. I felt like Jake fully immersed in the immaculate reality exploring and enjoying the depths and wonder of Pandora only to have the red button mashed ripping me back to reality sitting in a theater watching a movie. This back and forth was jarring and upsetting because James Cameron was able to reestablish the immaculate reality, which is not easily done once broken, only to break it again every time we went back to the human parts.
The parts with the Na’vi exploring the wonders of Pandora were so well done. The animation makes everything seem so life-like. All of the characters and setting elements have such depth that their reactions and interactions are so believable. Watching these parts I wish the movie was two hours longer.
The human parts on the other hand is why the movie was an hour too long. They were so bad it even dipped below the quality of a sci-fi original movie. The characters are flat, poorly acted, stock characters taken from other sci-fi and westerns. This flat, lack of depth issue in the humans parts of the movie is exacerbated with the overuse of the desaturation effect used on those scenes.
Confusion is added to the human parts because they aren’t clear if the soldiers are actual military or private contractors a la Blackwater style. A small effort would have cleared this issue up. This may seem like a small point but it is distracting taking the attention away from the experience.
Avatar’s religious experience is a more insidious issue brought up by experiencing this movie. For more read Avatar’s Religious Experience. This heightens the absence of that connectedness in our own lives even if not realized on a conscious level. Thus many leave the movie longing to return and with a sadness over their own situation.
The sad thing is produced in any other culture other than the U.S. we wouldn’t have had to deal with the human parts and Avatar would have been an amazing animated movie. Unfortunately due to the prejudices of the American audience we had to have human parts in the movie so that Avatar could be classified as a movie with special effects. This is a must see movie and probably an owner for me.
Plot / Story:
A planetary romance about Pandora and the indigenous people the Na'vi as they struggle against the Human corporation that wants to strip mine their homeland.
- Visually beautiful
- Planetary Romance
- Concept and Tech of the Avatar Program
- The Na’vi parts were so well done
Dislikes / Concerns
- Concept and Tech of the Avatar Program
- Issues with Immaculate Reality
- The human parts
- The Military confusion
- The use of desaturation effect on humans
- Genetically matching the Avatar
- Beginning and first hook