28 April 2010

Avatar: What is the big frickin' deal?!

Just to clarify, I am an opinionated person offering my opinion. This is not an official review and if you disagree-- awesome, way to be an individual.

You may have guessed from this entry's title, I am still wondering why Avatar is the highest grossing film of all time. Here's what the film has going for it: amazing visual effects, tons of imagination, and some excellent voice acting. That's it. And since I care more about story and characters, you can imagine the lack of enthusiasm I have for Avatar.

As with every James Cameron film, the concept is great but the plot is lacking in... everything. While my husband, friend, and I watched the film, we continued to predict every choice, conflict, resolution, and even some of the dialogue, along the way adding our own words and thoughts. Needless to say, we spent the majority of our wasted 3 hours laughing hysterically. In my opinion, when it's more fun to talk over a film than watch it, it's not good.
Also, numerous plot holes and unexplained situations continued to arise, such as it taking Neytiri two thirds of the film to realize Jake Sully's Avatar would shut off. During the scenes when Sam Worthington would be training and reporting, we kept asking each other what happened to his Avatar. Then Neytiri became shocked and angry when she found out the truth. Honestly, her anger was unfounded, immature, and tedious, to say the least. I would love to watch a film with this plot and NOT see the female character become hysterical when the "spy" or outsider (whom she loves) reveals the truth. So boring.

On to the acting. Sam Worthington (our leading man) was the worst of the bunch, next to Michelle Rodriguez of course, but then again I didn't have high expectations for her from the start. Anyway, why in the world wasn't Worthington allowed to keep his Australian accent?! His American, almost New York accent was terrible, continuously coming in and out, and I found the whole thing distracting. In addition, he had numerous cheesy lines, but knowing what a control freak James Cameron is, I highly doubt Worthington had much say.
On the other hand, Sigourney Weaver (the understanding and culture appreciating scientist-- Gorillas in the Mist anyone?) and Stephen Lang (the obstinate and combat-loving colonel) played their parts as expected: I liked Weaver's character because she defended the seemingly defenseless aliens; I hated the Colonel and enjoyed watching him suffer. Not bad, but typical. Furthermore, Zoe Saldana (see above picture) had impressive voice acting, so my hat's off to her.

The biggest aspect of Avatar is the visual effects. Since I didn't see the film in the theaters and therefore missed the 3D experience (something I could care less about and see no need to pay extra for), we rented it in Blu-ray, and I must say it looked spectacular. The battle scenes moved fluidly, though I could've used a little more action to keep the boredom from seeping in. Moreover, I must give props to the imaginations of the design team, and even Cameron himself, as the entire world came to life before my eyes. Nevertheless, a bedazzled turd is still a turd, so the visual effects only go so far.

Overall, Avatar was worth the rental and viewing, as long as you see it in Bluray with an HDTV-- I don't feel it's worthy of a purchase. There's no point otherwise because the record setting visuals will lose all impact. The length of the film is daunting and almost reason enough to avoid wasting your time, but if you sit down with a good group of people who are funny and not too serious, you'll probably laugh as much as we did and enjoy yourself.

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