Friday, December 11, 2009

I Want to Like Avatar...

I really, really want to like this movie.  Really.  It opens one week from today and I'd like to think that soon I will be walking out of the movie theater completely amazed and not at all disappointed by my decision to spend an evening watching this film.  But the more clips I see and the more reviews I read, the more I think my hopes will be dashed and I will walk out wishing I'd gone to see New Moon instead.  Yeah, I'm that doubtful.

First, I think this is going to be just as "visually stunning" as it looks in the clips.  There is some amazing CGI in this thing and the views of Pandora, the alien planet, are incredible.  But the native Na'vi are striking bright blue creatures and although they are beautifully done, I cannot help but think "CGI" every time they appear.  And that's where the problems start for me.  The scenery looks fantastic, the Na'vi look like, well, CGI blue creatures.  They don't feel real.  Especially against backdrops which are so realistic.  One clip shows Jake, our Na'vi/Human hero, plummeting over a waterfall.  You'd swear the water was real, but there is no doubt that Jake is CGI.

And even if I get past my CGI problems, there are still issues.  The poor natives are being attacked by the evil humans and their evil warmachines, which look an awful lot like hybrid 40K/Star Wars constructs.  All because we're greedy, money-grubbers and must get to the rich source of Unobtainium within their planet.  No, I'm not making a geeky engineering reference, they acutally named the stuff Unobtainium.  Seriously.  And the chief money-grubber is named Selfridge and the scientist who thinks he's not doing the right thing is named Grace.  Ugh.

Now, I could be completely wrong.  Maybe I won't think they went overboard trying to amaze me with CGI scenes of alien worlds and slow motion battles between our hero and alien-tiger-monsters.  Maybe they won't make this yet another movie trying to convince me that humans are greedy and evil and will happily destroy native cultures for money.  Maybe the names won't even sound so ridiculous in the context of the whole movie.  Maybe.  But, those sparkly vampires are looking pretty good right about now.

12 comments:

  1. Hehe sounds like video game fiction errr oh wait!?!

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  2. I've got a 6 yr-old daughter who LIVES for her weekend trip to McDonald's for a happy meal. I can't tell you how disappointed she was that "Avatar" figures were the current toy. This is a PG-13 movie; why are they using a market device targeted for the under-8 age bracket?

    *sniff, sniff* Is that desperation I smell?

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  3. It makes no sense at all. None. Nadda. Zippo. It's like they are trying to target parents out with their kids through a toy...that'll make their kids sad because they can't go to the movie. Brilliant.

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  4. No, don't let the sparkly vampires steal your soul. No matter how bad Avatar ends up being.

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  5. I liked it! I was prepared to be disappointed because of the hype, but the world of Pandora was so well visualised, I loved it. The script - meh very hollywood standard - but the visuals made up for it.

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  6. I keep hearing that visually Pandora is amazing...but the story, not so much. I know I'll go see this over Christmas and hope the pretty makes up for the meh...

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  7. I loved it!
    Standard story? Yes.
    Overly obvious good guys and bad guys? Yes. Didn't care.
    Still completely awesome!
    I'll be interested to hear what you think on TFG :)

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  8. Oh, you people are killing me!!!! Really? Not one of you thinks it's all pretty and no substance? I know people who agree with me and have seen it..really..just none of them on this blog :)

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  9. Oh...it was all pretty and no substance. Seriously, if you've seen "Dances With Wolves", you know the plot. And I don't mean it's *similar* to DwW...I mean it's almost exactly the same plot.

    And yeah, the over-the-top political references drove me nuts. Although I don't agree with Cameron's politics, the actual direction of the references didn't bother me. It's just the fact that they have this amazing world that you're trying to be immersed in, and the ham-handed political references completely break that immersion and remind you of the real world. That and the hypocrisy of his "humans killed their own planet" stuff, all the while peddling his plastic toys at McDonalds...

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  10. Yes it's pretty with no substance. But its so pretty it's worth a look. A bit like a playboy bunny - or at least the ideal of one because we know life and people are more complicated than that. Which only makes this analogy more apt :)

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  11. @HokieStone See, that's the kind of keen eye they help foster at Virgina Tech...what year did you graduate? It was very pretty. But, by the end I was tired of watching 3D bugs and bits of fluff float by may face. It got sort of annoying. The movie was amazing to watch and the first half was okay, but I checked out because the bad story and logic inconsistencies were just so glaring.

    @Rick So what you're saying is you'd like to see a blue centerfold? I'm sure they could do a special Avatar issue and their Geek sales percentage would be off the charts :)

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  12. @TFG - I'm about the same age as you guys...I graduated from VT in 93...got my Masters in 95 (mainly because no on hired me in 93!) Anyway, I just discovered D6G this year, so I've been catching up on the episodes...I remember hearing Russ say early on he went to VT. I live in the DC area, and get season tickets...listened to a bunch of D6G podcasts on my drives back forth to Blacksburg this year...

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