Avatar (2009)

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I, like every self-respecting film lover I know, was not eagerly counting the days until this movie's release (or its inevitable slew of nominations). But I must say it deserves every technical award it's bound to win come Oscar Night. However, let us not ignore its rightful absence from the Best Screenplay category. The writing, particularly in the movie's tiresome last act, is impressively atrocious. Around this time in the film, the screenwriting seems to have been completely taken over by a military-obsessed, video game-loving 14-year-old boy. But again, what Avatar sorely lacks in plot and clever dialogue, it abundantly makes up for in vivid color. The effects are astounding and will forever ruin the formerly impressive CGI effects in previous Best Visual Effects winners. Thanks for playing, Lord of the Rings. You had a good run.


In protest of the attention that has been given to Avatar as the shining pinnacle of 2009's film cannon, I would simply like to utilize the space reserved for its review to list 20 other movies I saw this year (all un-nominated) that I enjoyed about a hundred times more than Avatar:

  • Che
  • Adventureland
  • Anvil! The Story of Anvil
  • (500) Days of Summer
  • Moon
  • Humpday
  • Paper Heart
  • Taking Woodstock
  • The Yes Men Fix the World
  • Where the Wild Things Are
  • The Hangover
  • Away We Go
  • The Informant!
  • Paranormal Activity
  • Antichrist
  • Broken Embraces
  • Bride Wars
  • He's Just Not That Into You
  • AND the first thirty minutes of Ponyo

F*** Avatar.


This high-tech mega-movie is about a young crippled marine who goes to planet Pandora to take over work his recently deceased brother began: examining and scrutinizing Pandora's native race the Na'vi. Initially, a military macho meat-head commander recruits him to convince the natives to move away from their sacred homeland so that mining of the rare mineral "unobtainium" can ensue. In learning about the Na'vi, however, the marine finds a new appreciation of the Na'vi and leads a battle against the human intruders.

The primary appeal of this film is its technical ingenuities. There is no denying the amazing visual effects. Everything is beautifully and creatively designed. However, that is as far as it goes: the acting is mediocre; the story is thoughtless and formulaic; and the one-liners are excessive, obvious, and painful. The majority of the film feels like playing a video game without the thrill of controlling the characters or even using one's brain at all. It is a more adult version of Fern Gully or Pocahontas complete with an overblown Hollywood battle at the end to save the rainforest.

This is, without a doubt, Hollywood at its grandest and most superficial. I'm sure a musical version is soon to follow, but they'll have to think of new lyrics for the "Colors of the Wind" entry.