Ahhh, where do I begin? I should start by saying that I was in no way all that excited to see this movie. My first beef was that Cameron had a bit of a dispute over changing the name of his movie, so that it wouldn’t be confused with the live action Avatar: The Last Airbender movie. Cameron, of course, got his way; his name stuck, and theirs needed to change. So, already this dude is rubbing me the wrong way. Not only that, but when I was in elementary school, I was obsessed with the Titanic. I had read so many books on the subject, it could make your head spin. But, did I see the movie? Nope. Looked lame to me. I did catch parts of it on TBS sometime this past year or so and wasn’t impressed. Terminator 2 was the last flick of his that I enjoyed.
When my Twitter was blowing up about James Cameron’s motion picture epic Avatar, I just kind of rolled my eyes and said, “Whatever.” I can’t be fooled by super amazing CGI. I need story! Why is it that we can’t have a visually-brilliant movie with story to back it up? Because the general public doesn’t care about story anymore. This is really sad. I get grief for liking the Star Wars prequels sometimes. Fine! I will be a Star Wars geek until the day I die. I hope my friends fulfill my dying wish to be cremated and my ashes scattered across the Tunisia Desert.
But anyway! We’ve seen the story of Avatar a million times. It’s not even worth mentioning all the movies it is like, because you’ve heard it a thousand times in the reviews. I still think “Dances with Smurfs” from South Park is my favorite. I went into the movie with very little expectations. I don’t like being told in a commercial for the movie that it’s “the most breathtaking piece of cinema to ever hit theaters,” and that “it will change the way we see movies forever.” And those aren’t critics’ reviews! That’s the trailer promoting itself! (LOL) Get off your high horse for a second. Instead of filling the trailer with awesome action shots and CGI, why don’t you actually tell me what the f—ing movie is about? Oh, right; because the story is weak. I do like the idea of implanting a human mind into an alien body. Nice, cool, little twist in an otherwise generic story. But, they don’t really explore it too much. We get a quick scene of Jake Sully waking up in his Avatar, and he just goes off running. Really? I would kind of expect more depth than that. You are now 9 feet tall, have blue skin, a tail, and are able to walk again! That minute long scene just didn’t do it for me.
As for the visuals, yeah, they were pretty damn amazing. To anyone who hasn’t seen it and they ask me what I think, I always say, “See it in 3D or don’t see it at all.” It HAS to be seen in 3D. During a scene involving fire, there were small embers floating around in the air. It looked fantastic! Little things like that I really enjoyed. And maybe it’s because I play a lot of World of Warcraft, but the planet of Pandora looks a f—-ton like The Zangermarsh at times. I bet Cameron is a WoW player; what else had he been doing for 12 years? Not writing a better script, that’s for sure.
So story wise: Ehh, whatever.
3D: I thought was f—ing awesome.
Character development: Same old, same old. I would have liked to actually see a lot more of the budding romance between the two leads, ya know? I want to believe a human dude can fall in love with a 9-foot, tall, blue-skinned alien girl. Maybe that’s just me. And talk about type casting! You probably don’t know this because he played a CGI Na’vi, but the actor Wes Studi played Eytukan. He was the dude Na’vi always giving Jake Sully a hard time, but, in the end, learns that they can be friends. He played the same character in both Last of the Mohicans (Magua) and in Dances with Wolves (IMDb calls that character Toughest Pawnee) LOL. Wow. Just thought that was a fun bit of trivia for you all.
So, you might be saying to yourself right about now that I didn’t like the movie. It might sound like that, but I actually really enjoyed it a lot. As stated earlier, I went in with very low expectations. I didn’t want to buy into all the hype. I actually left the movie very happy. It must be that feeling where an average movie go-er walks out of Transformers just thinking, “WOW, that was so amazing!!” They just had a good time in the theater, because they weren’t all that interested in the plot. They just went in looking for a good time. I can’t normally do that, as I went to film school, but Avatar was different. It probably was because I was so caught up in the visuals. And, personally, it didn’t feel like 2 hours and 40 minutes. It kind of flew by for me. But, there was a key part of the movie that just sealed it for me and made me happy.
I am a sucker for dragons.
I don’t know what the hell it is, but I just love ‘em! And what could be cooler than dragons flying around? People RIDING dragons… in battle!! Oh, man, was I jealous. Getting to see CGI put to amazing use with aliens flying dragons fighting “The Man” in their helicopters was so epic for me. I think I had a s–t-eating grin on my face watching that whole sequence. That alone could have been my $13 I spent to see it.
All in all, I’d probably give it 3 1/2 out of 5 stars. I wanted to push it to 4, because I love the dragon battle so much, but I think I’m being fair balancing the visuals (awesome!) and story (“Dances with Smurfs”). Perhaps, Hollywood will one day realize you can have amazing special effects AND a great story, as well!