Avatar. AVATAR AVATAR AVATAR. I watched this movie over the weekend, and, boy oh boy am I glad I waited months to see this movie because this thing was a HUGE letdown.
I know there was a ton of backlash about this movie and its obvious racism, so I will make the assumption that you already know the plot's underpinnings of the white (American) man attempting to gentrify then exterminate a race of native people in a beautiful, natural habitat of the future. Stupid. What you may not remember is how mundane the movie actually turned out to be.
People act drunk off of Avatar's special effects. I mean, have you never seen neon colors before? Is this why people inexplicably love Ke$ha, too? There a lot of comparisons to Fern Gully and Pocahontas, movies I've obviously not seen, but, yeah, I get it: shit glows, and some animals just happen to be bulletproof. There was just a whole lot more happening in this movie than hits your 3-D specs.
First of all, what was up with the way that the Navi exerted dominance over animals? They go on and on about this deep connection with nature and its animals... then find it perfectly okay to molest a pterydactyl despite its violent attempts to fight back -- THEN exert absolute dominance over it by connecting their blue fringey thingey with the bird's tubey thingey. Sounds pretty rapey to me.
I HATED the way they portrayed the lead blue woman. She was an incredible warrior, great at everything, had a healthy bad-assed attitude, but wasn't chosen the leader despite being the single offspring of the town heads. Really? Oh, and that time she mated with the white dude? Blue people lost their shit over that! "You MATED with him!?" Really! But the worst was the way she acted when she angry. She literally screamed like a banshee, acted super spastic, and morphed into an irrational character she had never been before. REALLY? REALLY.
They overdid it with the spirituality. I don't remember reading about that in the reviews, nor any friends talking about it afterward because it was pretty damn ignorant. They made it look like if it weren't for the white-blue man to unite the different groups, the blue people would just pray to their glitter trees until the military folk blew them all away.
Equally insensitive was their portrayal of military personnel. Honestly, I actively opt-out of watching military-related movies because I'm sensitive to that culture and its lifestyle, and hate when it's glorified or unrealistic. So when Avatar treats people in cami's as dumb jarheads without emotion or a rational thought process, I can't stop rolling my eyes. The military is made of real people, not soulless monsters.
There was one good character in this entire movie, and it was, clearly...
Michelle Rodriguez, obviously. She had some lady-anger fueling her motivation to get back at the insensitive scarface leader, since she was obviously THE BEST pilot with no credit whatsoever. When she went rogue, people didn't even notice she was missing. In the future, are women invisible in the workplace? Avatar made Rodriguez slip between time and space without being noticed, and it sure made Sigourney look like a pain-in-the-ass hippie diva.
What was with so much tension between the research team and the combat leaders? They're clearly not on the same mission. I can't even guess the decade that the military DIDN'T work along scientists to do their work -- there's an entire industry precisely around engineering the latest and greatest crap for destruction, recovery, and a handful of humane causes.
Midway through this movie, I thought, this is definitely too long. Some of the fight scenes were so calculated it was clear that they invested all of their time, thought, and money into The Matrix In Floating Mountains With Blue People On Pterydactyls Battling Futuristic Military Vehicles.
It was predictable, trite, and, honestly, too salty in a lot scenes. Here's a few:
- Punching a man in a wheelchair
- Bad treatment of former vets -- calling them a stupid jarhead, good for nothing, encouraging them to use big words. Growing out your hair from your high-and-tight to show that you've changed as a character? Weak sauce.
- Yawn-inducing opening scene at a brother's funeral who probably died from lame-assed poetry from his brother but instead "was killed with a bullet for the paper in his wallet"
- Equipping Sigourney Weaver in a cutesy Stanford spaghetti strap top while blue, even though all the other bluebies went au naturel. Had to Americanize her, didn't we?
- The sidekick/dork-on-standby wasn't worth one good joke. THAT MAKES A MOVIE, YOU KNOW.
This movie was an offensive snoozer. Least creative movie I've seen in years. Two thumbs down. SAY THAT IN NAVI.