Written and directed by: James Cameron
Before going to see the hype sensation that is Avatar 3D, I had read a fair number of reviews. They all said similar things, along the lines of spectacular visuals, basic plot, too long. I’ve now seen it, and that pretty much sums it up, although I wouldn’t go as far as saying ‘spectacular’ visuals.
Upon finally accepting that I should probably go see what all the hype was about I went to see it. What with everyone saying that it’s something you can only experience at the cinema and it won’t transfer well to DVD.
With this review everyone’s pretty done the work for me before I went in. I came out with the exact same thoughts of it being too long with a predictable story especially as the story was basically the summary that was in all of the reviews. Humans attack the planet Pandora, home of the N’avi, a species of tall blue cat people, in order to get hold of the rare mineral Unobtainium. I don’t even need to say anything about what a ridiculous name that is. At least Adamantium sounds like it could be real. As a sort of intel gathering exercise, humans have developed Avatars. Which are fake N’avi which humans can plug their brains into and walk among them. Just like when you control an avatar in a computer game. Which is almost definitely where they got the name from. Kind of a reference to the computer generatedness of it all. The marine who is on the mission ends up falling in love with the N’avi princess and switches sides. There’s also the whole morality thing about how humans shouldn’t make such a mess of nature and be a bit more respectful. You wouldn’t do that in your own house so don’t do it in my jungle.
And that’s all there is to it. Some battle scenes, some indulgent landscape shots and some crazy reptilian monsters. Jurassic Park did it better seventeen years ago, and they used real stuff instead of being lazy and drawing it all.
I havn’t said much about the effects. Basically because I wasn’t bothered by them. I’m not into this 3D thing, I barely noticed it. When I think of 3D I think of hands coming out and almost grabbing your face or arrows flying around you. In this it seemed pretty subtle, maybe it was meant to be so that it didn’t get too much for three hours, but then why bother at all?
And as I said before, the supposedly spectacular landscape scenes have been done before, better and using real locations. I prefer seeing people in real places in real muck, rather than jumping about in a green room. And as for monsters and creatures, bring back puppets and midgets in costumes.
I got pretty bored watching all the scenes with stuff flying around in big not really there landscapes that were supposed to be taking my breath away. The film was really trying to shove it in my face: Look at this!! It’s really pretty!! Look!!!!
And floating mountains, how does that even happen? Even on a mildly lower gravity planet? Lower gravity that affected no one. Except maybe the kid kicking my seat the whole way through.
The CGI creatures neither impressed me. I struggled to remember what the fuss was meant to be about. We’ve been seeing CGI people and creatures for a decade or so now. They still aren’t that realistic. In the scenes where it was all CGI, sure they looked pretty real, but whenever they were next to a real person, you could tell without a problem that they weren’t really there. To be fair, I couldn’t make graphics that good. They are very talented people, but they shouldn’t say that they are doing things that they’re not.
In summary, worth a watch. Pretty entertaining, but an average film that is missable. The only thing it has going for it is the special effects. But if you want loud noises and bright lights, go watch a firework display. It’s cheaper and doesn’t take three hours to disappoint you.
Review with Spoilers
Although the plot summary is the whole story and there’s little left to spoil.
So they steal the plugging in idea from the Matrix and use it a little differently, with the bonus that users don’t die if the avatar does. Bit cheeky, but in this day and age it is difficult to be original isn’t it. That’s why they are remaking the 80s. They are remaking a decade. My word that’s annoying. It was cheesy enough the first time round. Although I have to admit Jackie Chan as Mr. Miagi can’t be all bad. I digress.
There’s not much else to say anyway.
The cat woman was pretty hot in a weird, she’s not even real or human kind of way. The same way I felt about Coco Bandicoot. Her being practically naked the whole time didn’t help.
The most predictable scene in film history made it into the film. I wonder if that was one of the Oscar nominations it got. Cat woman shows marine avatar the skull of a massive dinosaur bird called Tuvok from Star Trek or something. She says only 5 have ever tamed it because it’s so dangerous. At this point we realise that marine guy will later on tame it, which he does, with ridiculous ease. I mean, how is it that only 5 people have managed that? Is it just that no one could be bothered?
The ending bothered me a bit. Everything seemed to be going wrong for the N’avi, most of the lead characters had been killed, and it was all almost over. But then suddenly all the creatures of the world came and fought off the humans because the marine had prayed to the god Enya to help them. Now I’m Christian myself, but I don’t like it in films if God saves the day and wasn’t in it from the beginning. It feels lazy to me. I love it when God saves the day in Time Bandits, because he was an established character in it right from the start. And sure Enya was introduced early on, but just as a normal religion thing, neither proved or unproved. Deciding that she was real and had real power was even more convenient than when James Bond always gets into a scrape that requires the exact gadget he picked up earlier that day.
So yeah, sat through three hours for a lazy ending. That was annoying.
I liked the bad guy though. His character was just plain tough guy, hardened by battle, with huge scars to prove it. Though he says he only just got them recently, but he likes them. I liked the way that when it all turned round and the humans were definitely beaten, he kept fighting. It became less about doing his job or doing something for humanity or Earth and more about him being pissed off and just wanting to beat the N’avi and his rogue marine. It was an anti hero as a villain. He would have been the hero if the film wanted us to be on side with the humans rather than the N’avi. He was a bit of an arse though.
Honestly, I do not know what the hype is about.
Originally Published: 21st February 2010