Avatar, I See You…for what you really are.

My review of Avatar:
$300 million Ferngully meets Dances With Wolves. I said it. Also, Sigourney’s avatar creeped me out almost as much as the dialogue bummed me out.

Don’t get me wrong–I didn’t hate it. I didn’t love it either, and it’s not completely because it didn’t live up to the hype. It’s because people are willing to give it a free pass because of the effects. Others will certainly call on the success and continued debate of Cameron’s other films to justify this one, but that’s kind of bunk. I think Titanic’s success was so great, because it was driven by Leo DiCaprio-era Twihards (Tihards, DiHards?) and liteFM Celine Dion fanatics (DiHards2? DiHarder?…heh). And what did Cameron do? Duplicate the best archetypal bits of Titanic, including topping it off with a meh ballad by a new Dion, Leona Lewis’ I See You, and ripping off other movies. Allow me to present my case:

Titanic characters in Avatar

  1. Sam Worthington as the hunky ne’er do well that gets a chance ticket to the main setting (Jack)
  2. Zoe Saldana as the princess dying for a little freedom from her societal duties…care of a certain ne’er do well (Rose)
  3. Sigourney Weaver as the dedicated scientist striving to celebrate and conserve, generally underused throughout the film (Brock Lovett)
  4. Stephen Lang as the evil to the core person (Rose’s mom, Ruth Dewitt Bukater)
  5. Michelle Rodriguez as the sassy lady with a penchant for going her own way in a man’s world and justness (Molly Brown)
  6. Giovanni Ribisi as the greedy, self absorbed, privileged scoff/bigot that cares for nothing but his prize (Cal Hockley)

Also, Ribisi and Rodriguez will live on as the best bits of the movie– as in Kathy Bates (Molly Brown) was one of the best supporting characters and Billy Zane (Cal Hockley) was the “OMG remember that guy!” of Titanic.

Jimmy Cameron didn’t stop there:

Plot for Ferngully: The magical fairy people of Ferngully have never seen humans before, but Christa falls for one anyway (Zak), even though he is part of a logging team who is there to cut down the forest. Zak via magic gets shrunk to fairy size and goes native–discovering the beauty of nature. The big bad is Hexxus, an evil oil-like creature that has taken over “The Leveler,” a logging machine as he begins his evil scheme to destroy the magical forest. Only Zak, Crysta, and a rag tag team of fools can defeat Hexxus and save Ferngully from destruction.

Plot for Dances with Wolves: Sent to a remote outpost during a time of political strife (read: the Civil War), Lieutenant John Dunbar encounters, and is eventually accepted into, the local Sioux tribe. He falls for the beautiful “Stands With a Fist”, who teaches him the ways of the tribe as he gradually he sheds Whitey’s ways. He also has a special connection with local wildlife, aka “Two Socks.” The beauty of the nature worshiping tribe’s way of life is about to be destroyed by the The Man (aka the military) and Dunbar has to choose sides.

See Avatar and try to tell me Cameron didn’t wed these two plots. Challenge!

Look, end of the day, Cameron will be remembered for expensive extremes–and for pushing envelopes others wont be greenlit to afford for ten years. Plus, the dude is kind of an a-hole so I feel inclined to dis, whereas you can’t dis Tim Burton because that’s like kicking a quirky puppy. Gush if you must, but FYI movies can be beautiful AND have the story AND have the characters AND be unique…AND cost a lot less. As Zrose would say, I’m not about to poo my pants because Cameron made a glow in the dark planet full of Mother Nature’s version of a USB port sprinkled about. Movies are NOT better because of great effects :: cough :: The Phantom Menace.

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9 thoughts on “Avatar, I See You…for what you really are.

  1. Phantom Menace was a bad story. Avatar was merely a standard one.

  2. Super Mon says:

    Well, this movie had escaped my radar until just last week when it was announced by The Kid and HIS FATHER that they want to see it. From your review, I could probably wait until….forever to see it, but I don’t think that’s an option. Also, my chief complaint which has nothing really to do with movie is that The Kid is in a phase in which he requires me to like everything that he likes. Which is just plain hard/wrong/impossible.

  3. Junkie2 says:

    Jimmy is an a-hole, did you read ew’s article last week when he ripped on the fans that see his movies twenty times, but also critique continuity errors?

  4. I weep, Junkie1, for that cold black hole at the center of your otherwise warm, beating heart — a hole of animosity for James Cameron that blinds you to whatever meager charms his movies might hold.

    Even your pals at HijinksEnsue decry your ‘tude. I quote:

    Seriously, if you leave that movie [Avatar] and find yourself complaining rather than drooling for more you might as well sign up for the junior executive program at FOX because your heart has probably been replaced by a hate-filled pineapple.

    Love,
    /carlos

  5. Photo says:

    Thanks for taking the time to discuss this!

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