"Avatar" Review

on Friday, December 18, 2009

So here's what I want you to do. Take every film about Europeans and their negative interactions with Native Americans. Do you have it? Good. Now take that and place it in a blender. Mix it up until it’s a thick pulpy mush. Throw said pulpy mush on a distant planet in the future and let sit for three hours. And...Voila, now you have James Cameron's highly anticipated and critically acclaimed film "Avatar".

I'm being entirely too harsh here, believe me I’m aware. "Avatar" centers around Jake Sully as he flies off to a wild and untamed alien world called “Pandora” where he will mentally link with a hybrid composed of the native alien species and human DNA. All of this is done in hopes that they can communicate with the native species and convince them to move so they can mine for a substance called “unobtainium”, a name that caused me to physically shudder from its transparency.

Overall the film is good, I don’t regret having paid $14.50 to see it in 3D. The 3D is where the film really shines. I honestly believe that it’s the closest I’ll ever get to physically inhabiting another world. The technical aspects are out of this world. Cameron should be proud of his technical prowess and the world that he crafted and designed into near perfection. But that’s where the perfection ends. Cameron spends so much time developing and establishing the Universe itself as legitimate that the actual character development takes a back seat. Every character is one dimensional and singular in their motivations. The bad guys are the bad guys and the good guys are perfect beings with little room for other thoughts on the characters. No real information is given about the characters backgrounds or why exactly they want the things they want. We just have to understand that they do.

“Avatar” tries to make a case against capitalism and military force, but the message becomes convoluted when they sum up the bad guys motivation in one sentence and then we are barred from interacting with those characters. When we see the flip side and watch Jake Sully as he takes in the new environment and culture we barely get time to embrace Sully or any of the other alien personas that we encounter. No the focus is all put on the environment itself and the odd and colorful creatures and landscapes that are found on the alien planet Pandora. We invest ourselves so much in the customs and practices of the culture that we find out little about who these people are.

Given all of the hype surrounding this film I had expected more, even going against my gut instinct that the film wouldn’t be that great based on the fact that every trailer released for “Avatar” tells you very little about the plot of the film and instead focuses on all of the action. Then the reviews came in and they were all overwhelmingly positive, and everyone had nothing but high praise for the film. I think something bigger is happening here though. Keep in mind that this is one of the most expensive films in history and the studio needs to make their money back.

It is by no means a bad movie, but it isn’t a great one either. I’ll probably forget all about it by this time tomorrow, but I will remember the lush cinematography and the incredible use of the 3D medium that transports you to another time and place.

Here's my card.

on Sunday, December 6, 2009

on Saturday, December 5, 2009

Slowly piecing together the ZoSu Company business plan. There's a lot of work to be done and I have yet to pick a starting point.