Posted by: Arkay | March 3, 2010

AVATAR critique

A box office record-breaking 3 hour digital 3D CGI spectacle and i could do it in one word …contrived.

But to truly express my opinion, it would have to be more like                              …<multiple adjectives/expletives of emphasis> contrived.

Wanna read why, or have you now dismissed me out of hand?




Hmmm, not a sheep, eh? ok, here goes…

James Cameron’s AVATAR is nowhere near even 1/2 the movie District 9 was/is (not even 1/10th, imo). Avatar: “Hey, look – here’s a big stick with a message on it, ok now i’m going to hit you over the head REPEATEDLY with it until you ‘Get it’.

The spoonful of sugar for that ‘medicinal’ drivel? …ooh, pretty pictures                      <Cameron, “Oh i hope that distracts them from the TOTAL LACK of anything substantial in this movie.”>

Sad. I did not think anyone – short of Rom-Coms or Vince Vaughn/that other guy i hate (Dodgeball, etc.) vehicles – could get more shallow than Lucas has become… I was WRONG!

GDF stereotypes shoved in our faces (ty digital 3D) from as white a ‘white man’ perspective as possible (never grew beyond Titanic, did you James? …SO blatantly shallow/overt, makes me wonder if you really are a closet intolerant) – ZERO understanding of cultural depths – superficiality in the extreme. Speaking of which, how many times did we really need to see ‘disabled’ Jhake Shully GET IN and OUT of the fucking pod?!?!?!??!?…!?!

contrived     contrived      contrived

I’ll just pick on a couple more details as examples, as to cover them all, i’d be writing forever (only a slight exaggeration). Sigourney’s ‘prominent’ smoking, “UNOBTANIUM” <— WTF is up with that? …”Well sir, it’s a mineral we can’t get, so we called it…”      I’d almost say childlike, however that would denote some innocence in/about the ‘thought’ (word very loosely used) process. With the time taken and budget invested in making this one? NOT!

Old story, done many times before, some of them a hundred times better. I cannot think of a single aspect of this movie that hasn’t ALREADY been done better in cinema/film in the past few decades (think LOTR, Fifth Element, Riddick, Abyss, 1/2 dozen war movies, (original) Star Wars, …sh*t, Erin Brockovich and Monsters vs. Aliens even). Even Dan Brown ripping off Baigent and Leigh wasn’t this bad …and that’s saying something.

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ********** ***** ********** ***** *****

Ok, now for some serious thematic discussion.

If we (human beings) are STILL really that stoopid (corporately/militarily/societally) in the 22nd century, i suspect we will be far closer to extinction/simply surviving, as opposed to bulldozing (?!?) forests/trees for open pit (!?!) mining six years spaceflight across the galaxy. Come on people, are you really that taken in by pretty colours/lights and some decent CGI? Goddess help us. READ SOMETHING! Anything. Ok, preferably Good Sci-Fi/Fantasy (Robin Hobb, OSC, Anne McCaffry anyone?) and/or cultural/religious studies (NOT doctrine/canon). <—That – and using your imagination – will have you experiencing far more than the 4+ hours wasted going to/watching this movie. Only saving grace? In my case, I was ‘treated’ to my (one and only) viewing – didn’t cost me anything (but time, *sigh*).

Ok, putting aside the trite shallow utterly contrived nature of just about every aspect of the ENTIRE film, consider the following (if you have any interest actually exercising your brain that is), then we can talk.

Ideas/Themes to explore…

1) What kind of culture WOULD develop (religious/societal) on a world that never TRULY goes dark? Really, just think about it.

2) Recall images of the earth seen from the moon and then make it 10-100x larger and it looming over you for a good portion of each ‘day’. Now try to imagine it NOT having it be a/the predominant Deity reverence in any ‘primitive’ culture (or at least 1/2 …Mother Earth/Father Sky anyone?). Well?

3) For thousands of years those of intellect, enlightenment, understanding have observed, explored, exposed, philosophised about and educated others on the human ‘condition’ of demeaning, oppressing and destroying other humans/cultures (for whatever variety of reasons) and the inherent “wrongness” of that behaviour. Will it ever change/cease to occur? Why not?

and finally – with that last one in mind, a question I’ve asked myself a lot recently… Why even bother?

(Oh, and despite all of this, ty James, i haven’t been this set off in quite some time – Lindt Valentines chocolate pricing notwithstanding *grin*)



  1. wow. just wow.

    The funny thing is, I’m a lover of spectacle, and I saw less of the contrived and more of the archetypal. I don’t want to argue the point: you saw what you saw and I saw something else entirely. Funny how some films and books are like that. I’m willing to forgive based on brilliant market-reading and beautiful visuals, as well as a certain amount of professional daring.

    I do want to say I have an issue with the theory of bias in perspective to race relations, and bigotry, and I don’t think it’s that far off the mark, that mankind will still be right bastards half the time in 200 years. we can HOPE we’ll have eveolved, we can even work towards it. But it isn’t that farfetched that we’ll still be the same contentious, animalist, competitive species. (and if it was bad in Avatar, why wasn’t it bad in Firefly?)

    I always appreciate your perspective, Arkay, even and sometimes especially when it departs from my own. 🙂

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