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I can't tell you how much flack I have received from people for not liking this movie.

I didn't hate this movie, I just found it seriously disappointing after all the hype. I was very up for seeing it, I love sci fi and, as an artist myself, I love special effects - as long as there is a story, dialogue, characters and a plot to go with it.

So, let's take a few moments out of talking about Dodd, Dorgan, Teabaggers and terrorists and opine on a dumb movie.

I've had other people admit that they didn't like it very much either. And I've had some admit it privately, like they are afraid to say it out loud.

I feel a lot like Elaine on Seinfeld after seeing the English Patient (which I hated a lot more than Avatar, I must admit).

My thoughts on the movie are that it is visually stunning. I didn't see it in 3D, but should a movie have to be seen in 3D to make it a good film? I don't think so. I thought the acting was bad. I thought the dialogue was inane. I thought the plot was Dances with Smurfs. Sigourney Weaver as a big blue smurf was.....disturbing.

Actually, I didn't think the blue people looked all that real. I've been more impressed with special effects in other movies. I thought the effects in Benjamin Button were superb. I felt the aliens in District 9 seemed more real than the blue people.

I've had people tell me seeing Avatar was like seeing Star Wars for the first time. Please. Star Wars was charming. It was funny. It had engaging characters that you cared about. It showed us something completely new. (I know Lucas admits he stole a lot of the plot, but it wasn't from a very well known bunch of other movies)30 years later there is a store in my area that sells Star Wars memorabilia exclusively.

I don't think this movie will stand the test of time. It's not going to be seen in 3D again after a couple of months and when it's in people's living rooms on DVD it's going to have to stand on it's merit as film, not just a 3D phenomenon.

So, what did you think about it? If you loved it, fine. If you didn't, I want to know about it. I want opinions. I give it about a 6.8

Originally posted to Kevanlove on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 07:00 PM PST.

Poll

What did you really think of Avatar?

4%11 votes
3%7 votes
23%52 votes
8%20 votes
27%62 votes
8%20 votes
11%25 votes
12%28 votes

| 225 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (15+ / 0-)

    O great creator of being grant us one more hour to perform our art and perfect our lives. ::: Jim Morrison :::

    by Kevanlove on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 07:00:28 PM PST

  •  I've read reviews (8+ / 0-)

    that said it had no plot. Those are the folks who simply didn't understand it. The incredible subplots were totally ignored. Are we surprised? Way too subtle for the lunatic fringe.

    Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.

    by MrMichaelMT on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 07:02:46 PM PST

    •  avatar - subtle subplots? surely you snark... (6+ / 0-)

      Hell hath no fury like a woman disenfranchised.

      by jj24 on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 07:05:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here are a few: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hlee1169

        (1) SPOILER: The discovery that on planet Pandora all living things are interconnected through synapse-like connections (between animals and plants for example), like the neuronal synapses in a human brain. It reminded me of the unique realtionship that my Nicaraguan friend's mother has with her plants - as if they were human. It made me think that maybe such a connection exists but today's science cannot reveal it or measure it.

        (2) Scientists create or discover technology that the military, governments or corporations misuse for profits or power. Old, but good story, especially if it involves inhabiting another body through mind control.

        (3) SPOILER: A man embarks on a military mission with the goal of regaining the mobility of his legs (through costly surgery) only to later decide to entirely discard his old human body.

        (4) Indigenous people have the choice of leaving their land to avoid being attacked by an army of comnpassionless mercenaries with high-tech weapons (of mass distruction), stay put and face death or fight back. What they decide to do is never sure. There have been few Gandhi-like successes in history. I was reminded by the movie that in the past greedy powerful entities were always victorious, recently, however, in June of 2009, indigenous people in the Peruvian Amazon won against greedy oil corporations by fighting back:

        http://www.timesonline.co.uk/...

        DISCLAIMER: SORRY, NO SNARK HERE.

        As R. W. Emerson said, "Fear springs from ignorance."

        by healthy on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 09:05:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  key word - subtle. right? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fabian, subtropolis

          none of the movies' themes were treated well.  it wasn't written well, it wasn't portrayed intelligently.

          the points you make are the hit-you-over-the-head-with-a-bat themes of avatar.  your points are exactly why this movie sucked.  it's not the message, it was the way the message was ao preachy, sophomoric, predictable (down to some caricature of "native momma make good magic").  our hero is a dumbass and militaristic, having traded the promise of legs for outing the inner structure of the natives' secret center - way longer than anyone would expect a man of character to say no to the assignment.  our heroine, the "behind every strong man there's a stronger woman" type, even gets in a "no you dih-hunt" moment... it's just so ... crappy.

          the messages you state could be dealt with on a very real, intelligent, moving, thoughtful way.  this movie did not live up to the task.  at all.  not close.

          Hell hath no fury like a woman disenfranchised.

          by jj24 on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 11:17:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think it's about not understanding. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fabian, subtropolis

      Most of the critics you read are perfectly able to understand what they're seeing on screen.  They write reams on complicated narrative fractures in David Lynch movies, but you think Avatar was too subtle for them?  Heh.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 10:55:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's one of the least subtile films I've seen (0+ / 0-)

        White men bad/all indigenous peoples good.

        Yeah, we've seen it.

        O great creator of being grant us one more hour to perform our art and perfect our lives. ::: Jim Morrison :::

        by Kevanlove on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 11:52:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm with you! (10+ / 0-)

    I've been discovering an underground network of Avatar haters lately.  We exist, just in the shadows...

    The story was awful.  The script sounded like it was written by a 10 year old in an afternoon.  And for all the hype the visuals and 3D was disappointing.

    •  Also (5+ / 0-)

      even the liberal ideas in it were half baked.  It's great that those kinds of sentiments are reaching the masses, rather than just people who listen to Democracy Now! or read blogs, but it was still stupid.

      •  I think you are contradicting yourself (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rb608, wonderful world, Bonsai66, soms

        and making MY point. People who have no clue of what the movie means will get at least some subliminal message.

        I discussed the attitude toward hunting in the movie in my class tonight. It is deep--and based, yes, on Native American philosophy. Predation is natural--but only when needed. Gratuitous violence is evil.

        Too subtle for ya?

        Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.

        by MrMichaelMT on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 07:06:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pico, wonderful world

          It's not subtle at all.  The Native American imagery and symbolism and whatever slaps the viewer in the face.

          •  What's wrong with that? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wonderful world

            I guess I miss YOUR point. What's wrong with the Native American imagery? BTW, it could be indigenous Ecuador, Peru, or Indonesia.

            Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.

            by MrMichaelMT on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 07:46:34 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  What's wrong is it's a 21st century caricature of (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              subtropolis, pico, mamamedusa, rossl

              the 17th century "Noble Savage".   In essence you have these child-like people who become the White Man's burden as only he can save them.  Kipling, Conrad or Burroughs could have easily written this... only it would have been more nuaunced.

              Don't think we're not keeping score, brother.

              by 8ackgr0und N015e on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 09:37:20 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Terry Pratchett's "Nation" (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Dcoronata

                treated the whole Natives versus Imperialists theme much more deftly.  It starts out as with White Girl and Native Son alone on an island...

                Doesn't sound all that promising.

                The Bad Guys turn out to be cannibals and pirates.  White Girl manages to save herself from kidnapping without any heroic intervention from Native Son.  Native Son brings a knife to a gun fight and wins by running away.  The Imperialists do turn up, but they don't save the day.  They show up too late to do that.  

                Cameron could never write that plot.  

                Show me the POLICY!

                by Fabian on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 02:49:14 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  And in the end, the boy and girl get together and (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Fabian

                  NOT.

                  One in a thousand writers would end the book the way he did.  The cliche is they fall in love, marry, and live happily ever after.

                  Well they do live happily ever after, just on their own.  (A bit like Pyramids, when you think of it.)

                  •  Ha. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Dcoronata

                    By the time you get to that part, it hardly comes as a surprise.  The whole book is so well done, that you forgive Pratchett for killing off LOTS of people in the beginning.  (A plague in Europe and a tsunami in the Pacific - perfectly Natural.)

                    No movie ever included the most heroic act in the book, one that Cameron would have never used.  The Native Son saves the life of a baby by....let's say very a logical and very creative method.  

                    The funny thing is that the book starts as a two paragraph footnote in Hogfather discussing the difference between ignorant savages and educated elites where he points out that the so-called "ignorant" people managed to accomplish many things despite their lack of higher learning and sophisticated technology.

                    Show me the POLICY!

                    by Fabian on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 04:49:23 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Don't knock sophistication (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Fabian

                      I know the square root of 27.4.

                      Just re-read Hogfather (it was Hogswatch night, after all) and I think I have to re-evaluate it as a top-tier book.

                      •  Lots of choice moments (0+ / 0-)

                        but my favorite is the old pauper who almost suffers forcible charity by the King himself but is saved by the Hogfather and Albert.

                        The two part TV adaptation is available and worth watching.  They nailed the most important roles - Mister Tee-ah-tim-ay is very good.  I'd never given the character of Albert much thought, but he really came to life in this production.  

                        Show me the POLICY!

                        by Fabian on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 06:05:48 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  My favorite scene in the book (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Fabian

                          is the frantic rescuing of Hogswatch night dinner by the chef.  Boiled boot and mud pie- it isn't the food, its the ambiance and the performance that counts.

                          •  I laughed even while I cringed (0+ / 0-)

                            Talk about the power of belief!  People believing that simply because they are in an exclusive place, what they are served must be exceptional.

                            Managing expectations...marketing...

                            Not much different some rich noble barging into your home to dump their leftovers, expecting you to be humble and grateful instead of confused, irritated or even angry and resentful.

                            Show me the POLICY!

                            by Fabian on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 06:53:35 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

              •  Must disagree (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                SolarAngel

                He didn't save them, their ability to create alliances with other species who would have shared their ruinous fate was what saved them.

                He simply provided better intel, tactics, and experience.  They provided almost all of the weapons, manpower, and transportation.

              •  I'm sorry to tell you (0+ / 0-)

                But this is a 21st Century story. You do realize that our CIA fought on the side of Peru in 1996 in its war against Ecuadorian indigenous people? And maybe you didn't catch the references to Venezuela and "shock and awe" in the movie? Nothing 17th Century about it at all.

                Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.

                by MrMichaelMT on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 06:43:39 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  How was that subtle? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fabian, pico

          They had like a 10 minute-long scene just about that, with lots of crappy dialogue and everything!

          There is nothing subtle about the film at all.  I felt like I was being treated like an idiot the whole way through.

          "Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!" -- Situationist graffito, 1968

          by Pesto on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 08:40:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  militaristic destruction so bad even liberals (4+ / 0-)

        fought back?  the gratuitous warmongering was so over the top, i was constantly reminded that it is, after all, a fox-sponsored film.

        Hell hath no fury like a woman disenfranchised.

        by jj24 on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 07:07:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  disagree (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sagebrush Bob

          i thought that the scenes of war were by far the most powerful - the destruction of home tree was one of the most compelling depictions of military might over innocence i have ever seen.  

          i think that is the movie's strongest point.  

    •  Agreed on the script. (12+ / 0-)

      My wife and I were in a contest to predict the lines before the actors uttered them. It was fun, and, yes, we did it in a very quiet whisper.

  •  In order to write this diary (20+ / 0-)

    you should have spent the extra buck. The 3D version is a work of wonder.

    Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.

    by MrMichaelMT on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 07:04:00 PM PST

  •  Will Be Seeing It in the Next Few Days (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Winnie, wonderful world, moonpal

    But looking at the screen grabs, the blue people do seem a bit cartoony.

    I won't tell anyone that Reagan was a turd.

    by bink on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 07:06:02 PM PST

  •  It's not a movie, it's an amusement ride. (13+ / 0-)

    People are enjoying the experience, and the newness of the visuals.

    But as a movie, it's on a par with Gigli.

    "To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well." Justice Robert Jackson, Chief Prosecutor, Nuremberg.

    by Wayward Son on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 07:07:13 PM PST

  •  I saw it 3D and visually it was (10+ / 0-)

    stunning but it's no Star Wars.  the plot, the dialogue, the one dimensional characters, boring.

  •  Saw it in 3-D... (11+ / 0-)

    Interesting to look at for a while, but way too long with a simplistic, Disney-esque plot.

    I thought it would never end.

  •  I thought it was great, even though the dialogue (6+ / 0-)

    was stilted.  But it was a great story, and superbly done.  The animation and special effects were fabulous, in both 3-D and "normal" version (we saw it twice, once each).  I loved the messages, and the clear depictions of good and evil.  I loved taking my 10 year old son to it.

    And what kind of acting were you expecting from digitally enhanced humanoid animated figures, anyway?

  •  I refuse to take the kids (6+ / 0-)

    because it is so heavily promoted on TV by McDonald's.

    Screw that. We'll go buy a few books each instead.

    "One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity nothing beats teamwork." - Mark Twain

    by greendem on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 07:10:32 PM PST

  •  I just dropped 25 bucks (4+ / 0-)

    to go see it in IMax 3d on Sunday. So I'll get back to you. But I already know I'm not going for the story as much as I am going to see the 3D and  CGI

    In the choice between changing ones mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.

    by jsfox on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 07:11:23 PM PST

  •  It is because the bar (5+ / 0-)

    has been lowered.  Check out reviews for the past few years.  There aren't many movies put out today that can stand the test of time.

    •  Movies today are like the NFL (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wonderful world

      There are just so many movies being created today compared to a few decades again.  I do think the average quality today is better than years ago (see "Benji" as a reference to a really bad movie that was a big hit in its day), but the overall talent pool is diluted.  Low budget "direct to cable" films are now "direct to DVD". Tomorrow, I suppose it will be "direct to on demand."

      And don't get me started on the remakes of movies that weren't great to begin with, and the sequels that continue ad nauseum.

      It's just like the NFL, which had a lot of classic games before it grew and grew with expansion teams. The average football player is probably a lot more athletic and coached than in years past, but the average game is more likely to be mediocre.

      •  The remakes of mediocre movies (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fabian

        Better that than when they try to remake a really great movie...remake Psycho? Why? No, really, why?

        "No, it's all right," said the prospective diner. "The slugs have formed a defensive ring." -- Moving Pictures. Terry Pratchett.

        by wonderful world on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 08:23:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  There are some exceptions to the remakes rule... (0+ / 0-)

        My favorite exception being John Carpenter's "The Thing".

        Compare that to the 50's version with James Arness dressed as a giant carrot. (It's been a LONG time since I watched that, but I seem to recall it was reasonably faithful to Campbell's story. There was just no way to pull off a decent film effort in the 50's. Carpenter had the technology, and even stayed pretty much faithful to the original story line - the best of both worlds. Of course, that sombrero was completely ridiculous...)

        But, usually, yeah - remakes are just to make a quick buck off someone else's efforts.

        I sure wish my government gave me as much privacy as they demand I give them.

        by Daddy Bartholomew on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 08:29:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  See it in 3D (8+ / 0-)

    or don't see it at all. Best entertainment money I've spent all year.

    Don't go into it expecting Academy Award winning dialog or anything. Just go there expecting some fun and incredible visuals. If you do that, you won't be disappointed.

    "Could care less" = you care about it with room to spare. "Couldn't care less" = you don't care about it at all. Don't misuse: "begs the question."

    by dickinabox on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 07:15:44 PM PST

  •  I watch the DVD (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wonderful world

    which they say will have the unedited silly looking sex scene.

  •  I think it was made for the demographics. (6+ / 0-)

    As adult sci-fi it's weak but compared to what's out there it's good.
    Too fluffy, stereotypical bad guys and juvenile emotional relationships.
    In spite of that, it was still worth seeing and I would recommend it.

    Movie of the year, no way. Go see "Up in the air."

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 07:18:57 PM PST

  •  Anybody else think 'FernGully'? (7+ / 0-)

    Guy sent to scope out rainforest 'magically' become flying fairy, falls for fairy girl, big bulldozer comes along, guy saves forest by leading the fairies...?  Does this sound familiar?

    I know this was a movie Cameron always wanted to make but come on...he must have seen Dances with Wolves, Shogun, and Pocahontas at some point? Wouldn't you think 'oh, shucks...guess I better come up with something fresh.'  The visuals were amazing but where was the brain not to mention the heart of this movie? I cry at effing Folgers Coffee commercials and this left me cold.

    "No, it's all right," said the prospective diner. "The slugs have formed a defensive ring." -- Moving Pictures. Terry Pratchett.

    by wonderful world on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 07:19:34 PM PST

  •  Oh God, The English Patient (6+ / 0-)

    I haven't seen Avatar and I know this is a tangent, but I just gotta bond with you over The English Patient.  After being excited about the reviews, my wife and I saw it and were totally WTF??!

    We like indie films, we like foreign films, and occasionally there's a good Hollywood film that comes along.  I think it's The English Patient was just the kind of movie people thought they were supposed to like.  Critics, too.

    Talk about a lack of chemistry between characters, lack of any believable passion, tedious and flubby dialog. Man.  Nice scenery, though.

    We waited to give my best friend our opinion on it until he saw it and were so relieved when he hated it too.  And then when we saw Elaine on Seinfeld hating it, it was cathartic.

  •  Looking forward to Bright Star ( rotten tomatoe (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    subtropolis, wonderful world

    rates it 84%. And the new Amy Adams movie(she did Doubet and Julie and Julia)is out tomorrow. Won't be seeing Avatar.

    Insulin in Ca public schools ruling STAYED during appeal. Great ruling for 15,000 diabetic students. http://preview.tinyurl.com/dxafql

    by foggycity on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 07:27:34 PM PST

  •  No..... (8+ / 0-)

    The visuals are amazing, but from the beginning of it I could pretty much map out the plot & was just waiting for all the pieces to fit in their formula slots. And it follows that formula to a "T." There is no point in the movie where you are surprised by what a character does.

    The movie is visually stunning, especially if you see it in IMAX 3D, but I heard someone make a good point about this. A lot of the reviews lauding this film as a "classic" are basing it on the visual effects, but in 5 to 10 years when every sci-fi/action film has similar or better visuals, are people still going to feel that way, since when you strip the effects away, all you have is a formulaic plot.

  •  I went to see the construction of the anti heroes (11+ / 0-)

    Since we are asked to root for savages as they kill American soldiers, I wanted to see how many tweaks it would take before the audience lusts for American blood. First were the tweaks to the American side - they weren't soldiers, they were ex soldier mercenaries (I line which I never understood, but it seems to be a powerful one in the national psyche), and they were mean to the wheelchair hero. Second were the savages -- a perfect, gender equal and free society, well dressed -- no sagging exposed breasts here, only finely toned emaciated bodies that our models would die for.  They don't worship some sort of war god or some bloody superstition, their goddess is real and she's nice, nature and unity and all that stuff. New Age still flies apparently. And their tactics were immaculate. No campaign of terror or asymmetrical warfare for them, no, they were prepared to stand and fight and die en masse rather than resort to any of that nefarious stuff.

    So given the perfectly noble adversary, Americans could conceivably root against their own troops. Fortunately, in the real world, any opponent can be tainted and demonized for not meeting these impossible standards, so in effect this movie acts as a vaccine against any possibility of real Americans opposing their war machine and its heroic volunteer servants.

    Of course we will have Fascism in America, but we will call it Democracy. - Senator Huey Long

    by Marcion on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 07:34:18 PM PST

    •  There was some asymmetric... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pesto, Fabian, pico, mamamedusa

      ...warfare at the end there; of course, one must excuse the deus ex machina.

      Apart from your criticism, I'd add the following:

      -Aliens weren't actually, you know, alien in any interesting way.  They tamed animals and acted like noble savages while practicing an inoffensive, slightly advanced form of animism.  

      -Lost an opportunity to comment on the apparently failed state of health care in the future, as the purpose of hero's participation was to secure an expensive form of surgery.

      -Yet again, no explanation of the type of interstellar travel used, although someone pointed out that the system was Alpha Centauri so sublight would have been sufficient.

      The best apology against false accusers is silence and sufferance, and honest deeds set against dishonest words

      by Alec82 on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 08:33:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  They weren't "our troops" - (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fabian

      they were mercenaries working for a rapacious, planet-raping, resource-extracting, heartless, profit-obsessed corporation

      - in case anyone missed the parallels to a certain other recent heinous war crime.

      •  still can't distinguish (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fabian

        So working for a a rapacious, planet-raping, resource-extracting, heartless, profit-obsessed government makes you a hero, but working for that government's patrons makes you a bad guy? I just don't get it, I think I missed some childhood conditioning having moved to this country at a later age.

        Of course we will have Fascism in America, but we will call it Democracy. - Senator Huey Long

        by Marcion on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 10:39:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I think it's more of a young peoples' movie than (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian, wonderful world

    Star Wars was.

    I think it will stand the test of time the way a lot of Disney films have.

    If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

    by rhetoricus on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 07:35:49 PM PST

  •  Another problem with it (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian, mamamedusa, michlawa2, Kevanlove

    Buy cheap plastic glasses probably made in China, processed overpriced food, drive to a theater, and watch a movie with a giant carbon footprint preach to you about environmentalism.

  •  Was it all that? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pandoras Box, wonderful world

    Compared to Slumdog, Avatar is Shakespeare in characters and storyline.  Avatar is far better than the phoney hype of last year's annointed best picture.

  •  author states that he tried to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    subtropolis, wonderful world

    tell the story from the indigenous experience perspective which is a mistake unless you happen to have lived and experienced as an indigenous person. If a story is to be told about the tribal peoples of the Amazon, for example, it would have to be one of them as the story teller at some point in the process. I think this may be the first failing of the film which gave rise to the other perceived shortfallings

  •  moving images (3+ / 0-)

    the visuals in terms of aesthetic quality were incredible, and i think that the depiction of military might wielded so callously is one of the best snapshots of contemporary global power relations i have ever seen

    yeah, they rest wasn't so hot, but what do you want?  this is hollywood after all; if we can get folks to think twice about shooting missiles at the lawful, the innocent, and the strange then its a far better film than most made any year

    •  I've heard that argument a number of times... (3+ / 0-)

      ... but is this really news to most people? Similar stories have been told for years. Does a movie really have any chance of making an impact? Has there been a surge of anti-war rhetoric since the film came out?

      This is just another big, friggin', over-hyped, overblown, damn-near-three-hour Hollywood floater, albeit, with new technology.

      I don't think this movie is going to open anyone's eyes, frankly.

      We'll see, but the argument that this movie will make anyone in this country "think twice about shooting missiles at the lawful, the innocent and the strange" is a pipe dream.

      Tell me when the first film-goer who has never given such things a second thought decries the killing of innocents in the Pakistan border regions at the hands of U.S. Predator Drone missiles.

    •  I really disliked the depiction of the military (5+ / 0-)

      not because I like the military, but because Avatar makes the Colonel (and his friend, Giovanni Ribisi's Asshole Exposition) so cartoonishly greedy, racist, and vengeful that it's no longer a critique of the Pentagon or militarism -- it's just a critique of vicious, racist, hateful people.

      It would have been much more effective if the Colonel had been a Colin Powell type -- intelligent, friendly, humane, and yet up to his eyeballs in evil.

      "Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!" -- Situationist graffito, 1968

      by Pesto on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 08:27:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I really liked the movie but I admit (0+ / 0-)

        that a few of the characters were definitely aricaturish (is that a word?) :)

        "We struck down evil with the mighty sword of teamwork and the hammer of not bickering!" - The Shoveler

        by Pandoras Box on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 08:52:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  agree (0+ / 0-)

        i think my issue is that i don't mind that there is a pentagon or military, just that they have been used for vicious, racist, and hateful reasons.

        i think it's helpful to show that sometimes (well, many times) the individuals responsible for making a decision to attack are acting vicious, racist and hateful.

  •  I enjoyed the visuals, and found many of the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pesto, wonderful world

    scenes on Pandora very inventive and beautiful.  But the script was very derivative: part Dances With Wolves, part Indiana Jones, part (a large part) Star Wars, part Jurassic Park.  I liked the idea of the main character being in a wheelchair, and thought he did a decent job with the silly things he had to say.  Outside of that there weren't any believable quirks to the characters.  They were either all good or all evil.  Particularly the main military guy--he was such a ridiculous caricature that you could only laugh at him, not fear him.  They should have had a real actor in that role; someone who could have been truly a threat. (Besides, a great actor would have insisted on better lines to say).  And the last fight went on and on to the point where we were both laughing.  I preferred Sigorney Weaver in Ghost Busters (a film I never tire of).  

    Still, I enjoyed it, especially the 3-D.  It's my theory that the more over-the-top the hype is for a movie, the more disappointing it will be to see.  

    Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it. --Mark Twain

    by SottoVoce on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 07:50:04 PM PST

  •  I was underwhelmed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pesto, wonderful world

    Yes, it was visually stunning in its creation of a world, but as for the 3-D effects? Well, I didn't feel they added anything (I felt more visually engaged and fascinated by the non-3-D Lord of the Rings trilogy.) Yes, they were more fully integrated into the entire film, but in the end I found it mostly boring and--dare I say it?--cheesy.

    The characters were stock and cliched. The anti-imperialist, pro-ecology message that dominated the film was to my mind largely undermined when it all devolved into a typical mass slaughter of both sides battle near the end.

    I admit that I'm not that much of a blockbuster, sci-fi, animation  or special effects aficionado. Still, I had been looking forward to seeing it, came out feeling generally underwhelmed though still glad I'd gone, and now, some hours later, find the movie is leaving a bad aftertaste for me.

    The adults are back in charge.

    by DebtorsPrison on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 07:51:40 PM PST

  •  I haven't seen it (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian, Kingsmeg, wonderful world

    But I can tell you this, when I saw Titanic, I felt like I was seeing cliches that had never been used before. It was like some kind of super-cliche -- something so profoundly dumb and obvious, it's instantly irrelevant. So it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest to learn that he has repeated the feat.


    "Preventive war is a crime not easily committed by a country that retains any traces of democracy." -George Orwell

    by Zackpunk on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 08:00:31 PM PST

  •  It was MUCH better than Titanic! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pandoras Box, wonderful world

    I went into the theater thinking "awesome special effects, mediocre plot/acting".

    Actually, I was pleasantly surprised.  The story/acting were better than I thought, and the visuals (and especially sound) was unbelievable.

    Join National Youth Rights Assocation, http://www.youthrights.org and join the youth rights revolution

    by teenvote on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 08:16:29 PM PST

  •  Yeah, I heard the Star Wars line too (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wonderful world

    by my very enthusiastic sister-in-law.
    "Really", was my response since I was 15 when Star Wars hit the big screen and that was THE film event of that era.

    Something tells me in a months time Avatar will be forgotten.

    •  Besides it's hard to dress as a nine-foot tall (4+ / 0-)

      skinny blue Smurf at a con. Though God love them, they will try...

      "No, it's all right," said the prospective diner. "The slugs have formed a defensive ring." -- Moving Pictures. Terry Pratchett.

      by wonderful world on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 08:27:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hmmmmm.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wonderful world

        I have a thing for blue alien girls, after a little flick I stumbled on called Space Nuts....

        I can't wait to see if this Avatar spawns any fan conventions.

        Mark Twain -Let me make the superstitions of a nation and I care not who makes its laws or its songs either.

        by Kingsmeg on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 10:40:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  No one thought Star Wars was profound (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fabian, Pandoras Box

      Well, except for Lucas, evidently, whose insistence on exploring the profundities of "the Force" messed up the rest of the movies in the series.

      At the time, the exciting thing about Star Wars was precisely that it wasn't profound or deep or edgy -- it deliberately evoked Saturday-morning serials, and it was just a lot of fun.  Animal House was a huge hit soon after for similar reasons.

      "Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!" -- Situationist graffito, 1968

      by Pesto on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 08:34:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No Star Wars wasn't profound (4+ / 0-)

        It was fun. It was engaging. You cared about the characters.

        Does anyone care about these blue people?

        I cared about the Indians in Dances with Wolves. Really, when the big tree was being attacked I just wished it would fall down already.

        O great creator of being grant us one more hour to perform our art and perfect our lives. ::: Jim Morrison :::

        by Kevanlove on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 08:37:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Given that its worldwide gross ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pandoras Box

      ... was $1 billion in 17 days, no, it will not be forgotten in a month's time. In fact, it will still be raking in the money.

      We were married in each others heart, mind, body and soul. We were married in the eyes of our community and our respective Deities. We were married!

      by The Werewolf Prophet on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 08:43:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  well i loved it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wonderful world

    i have no trouble suspending my disbelief and just enjoying the ride

    "We struck down evil with the mighty sword of teamwork and the hammer of not bickering!" - The Shoveler

    by Pandoras Box on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 08:28:06 PM PST

  •  And another thing... (6+ / 0-)

    A couple days ago, in the Midday Open Thread, a link was provided to a review of Avatar from a black perspective.

    It was interesting to read and provides a different angle on why to NOT like the film for all us progressive liberals out here (well, for me it was a different angle I rarely thought about).

    Yes, the movie slams imperialism, corporate greed, anti-environmentalism, yada, yada, yada. All the things we appreciate in a good movie.

    But, at the same time, the movie promotes what the reviewer calls the white saviour complex. In a nutshell, those poor indigenous blue monkeys couldn't save themselves from the baddies and it takes a white guy to save them. And not just a white guy, a crippled Marine white guy who becomes not only Na'vi in three months but a Messianic, kick-ass, blue-in-the-face Na'vi.

    Just sayin'.

    We have met the enemy, and he is us. -- Pogo

    by prophet on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 08:28:57 PM PST

    •  This is the same as the AI plot (0+ / 0-)

      The poor robot child is so mistreated by the humans and only aliens in the future care enough to save him.

      There's another movie I didn't care for.

      O great creator of being grant us one more hour to perform our art and perfect our lives. ::: Jim Morrison :::

      by Kevanlove on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 08:39:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yah know, sometimes a cigar is JUST ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fabian

      ... a god damned cigar, and not some veiled, "white privilege" driven anti-people-of-color statement. Honestly, I'd take Afro-centric criticism more seriously if the critics didn't come across as utterly self-centered.

      We were married in each others heart, mind, body and soul. We were married in the eyes of our community and our respective Deities. We were married!

      by The Werewolf Prophet on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 08:51:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, it's hard not to have this reading (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fabian

        when the aliens are modeled so closely on indigenous stereotypes.  Cameron wants you to make that connection, so the cigar comes with a message attached: "Read me as a parable about colonialism!"  As a parable about colonialism, it's kinda bad.

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 11:11:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Straight from the pages of Joseph Campbell... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian

    ...just like Star Wars. The movie deliberately invokes archetypes and story lines that feel familiar because they ARE familiar. Campbell's "The Power of Myth" is a great read. From that perspective, at least for me, Avatar is an attempt to recast the myth of the hero, with his quests and challenges, in 21st century terms.

    Wag more, bark less.

    by sgrAstar on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 08:32:11 PM PST

  •  Notice how people get mad at you (0+ / 0-)

    for saying you didn't like it?

    It's kind of like when you tell people their religion is simplistic. lol

    O great creator of being grant us one more hour to perform our art and perfect our lives. ::: Jim Morrison :::

    by Kevanlove on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 08:43:35 PM PST

  •  10 Years of Best Picture Suck by Zachary Woolfe (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    subtropolis

    There was no tragedy this past decade greater than the utter implosion of quality among the winners of the Academy Award for Best Picture.

    Some might point to the 90s as the time our troubles began, and I admit that Dances with Wolves and Forrest Gump were bad omens. (The 90s did end with the intolerable American Beauty!) But you also had Silence of the Lambs! Shakespeare in Love! And, OK, Schindler's List, in all its retardedly black-and-white-and-oh-my-God-her-dress-is-red glory! There were glimmers of light, is what I'm saying; yes, 2007, sure;and that light of hope is shows what was missing in the awful aughts. Let me show you.

    No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.

    by fab 3 on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 08:44:58 PM PST

    •  agreed (0+ / 0-)

      But i liked No Country for Old Men. Much of that was the fascination with the Cohens' treatment of the novel. I thought it was superbly done.

      look out honey 'cause i'm using technology
      ain't got time to make no apology
      – Stooges, Search and Destroy

      by subtropolis on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 01:28:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've heard the movie criticized from the left (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mamamedusa

    Philadelphia Weekly's review said the movie basically used the Noble Savage trope to make a heavy handed point.

  •  I saw it in 3D... but would have preferred 2D (4+ / 0-)

    The story itself... B
    Acting ............ C
    Special effects.... A+

    There is no real drama to the arc of the narrative.  You know basically what is going to happen about 20 minutes beforehand.  Almost everything is foreshadowed in the movie.   I can't seriously think of a single thing where I said "Wow, didn't see that coming."  

    The special effects, are impressive in large part because they seem so real you don't ever find yourself going "Wow....."   The first jump to hyperspace in Star Wars, although primitive by comparison had the audience in the theater literally jump.

    I think the only action scenes that grabbed me was when the hero gets his first riding animal.  The action was incredibly fast and unlike gladiator none of that crappy stolen frame stuff.  

    It was ok and will probably have a big impact on future movies, but honestly -- Toy Story is much better plotwise and actionwise.  

    Don't think we're not keeping score, brother.

    by 8ackgr0und N015e on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 09:30:10 PM PST

  •  Stunning visuals. Silly plot. But... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian, subtropolis, pico

    It's absolutely another remake of White Man Dances With Wolves:  It's that fantasy whereby the descendants/benefactors of violent colonialism can pretend that if they had been there, they would have been good guys-- just like Laura Ingalls crying because the last dark-eyed Indian baby was leaving the territory her Pa had illegally settled.

    I enjoyed the visual thrill ride.  It was a fun sensory experience.  That's not going to come across for anyone who sees it 2D and definitely not for anyone who sees it on a TV screen.

    The really good movies are the ones that are still on my mind a few days later; the ones I can have substantial conversations about.  For Avatar, it's mostly been conversations about the White Savior thing.  There was one moment, though, that I appreciate more and more:  Near the end, the Na'vi love interest character interacts with the human body of the hero protagonist.  After watching their (admittedly hackneyed) relationship develop with him in his avatar body, it's startling to see the contrast in scale between their bodies.  It's an evocative moment of alienness and connection.

    A day or so after I'd seen the movie, I was thinking about this scene and the jarring effect of making this romantic pair so alien to each other again.  Then I realized that I had completely overlooked the fact that this was a live-action/CGI blended scene.  It's a fun doubling of illusion & illusion-breaking:  The protagonist was in the human body all along, being projected into an alien body he/she/we came to think of as "him."  The audience's suspension of disbelief is a parallel kind of projection into a CGI otherworld.

    Not a great work of art.  Eye candy.  Brain candy only insofar as it's a way to play with the brain's ability to infer a shared world from what should be unconvincing sensory input.

    •  This is dead-on, right here: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fabian, subtropolis, mamamedusa

      whereby the descendants/benefactors of violent colonialism can pretend that if they had been there, they would have been good guys

      I have the same problem with 99% of Holocaust movies, where we're allowed to feel better about ourselves because we align ourselves with the people who save and shelter the victims.  Much more powerful are works like the Hungarian film Cold Days, which shows how ordinary people become complicit, or the Oscar-winning Czech film Shop on Main Street, etc.

      We all want to be the good guys, and I guess that's a natural feeling.  If Avatar had been less on-the-nose in stabs at 'relevance', it might be more enjoyable as pure escapism.  

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 11:14:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  macaroni and cheese (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian, subtropolis

    To me, Avatar was like macaroni and cheese.  It completely lacks the finesse of a good soufflé, but it's still enjoyable.  It's full of carbs and sodium, and you know that eating lots of it is bad for your health, but it's still good eats anyhow.

    Watching Avatar was like having macaroni and cheese made by Wolfgang Puck.  Sure, it's way overpriced at $22 for a side dish, and the way he makes it is something I could approximate at home, because frankly, how hard is it to make macaroni and cheese?  But it's still worth the experience.

    Did you notice that the actors' performances were transferred pretty faithfully into the computer graphics?  Did you notice that the Na'vi tails conveyed  exactly the same emotions as it does in cats?  Did you notice that the eyes moved naturally?  That the scene with the hundreds of Na'vi moved differently?

    The answer to the above questions is probably no.  And it shouldn't be, but up until now most 3D movies and movies with CG were enamoured with it.  Kind of like macaroni and cheese that uses gouda and roquefort, just to be different.

    Man, now I'm just hungry...

    •  You haven't had my macaroni & cheese (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fabian

      5yr-old cheddar (yes cheddar, not something from an industrial park), fresh pasta, a bulb and a bit of roasted garlic, powdered mustard, and a couple of minced chipotle peppers. Add a handful of grated Applewood smoked cheddar for extra tasty goodness.

      I wouldn't charge you $22, and it doesn't take $300 million to  create spectacular cinema, either. Unless the main point is some tired gimmick to sell electronics.

      look out honey 'cause i'm using technology
      ain't got time to make no apology
      – Stooges, Search and Destroy

      by subtropolis on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 01:50:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  i went in expecting a preview for a video game (0+ / 0-)

    so i was pleasantly surprised.

    surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

    by wu ming on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 11:25:52 PM PST

  •  I thought District 9 was a much better film (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian, subtropolis

    It had aliens interacting with humans and the aliens didn't try to look "humanoid" at all so we could have sexual tension and a love story to get the teenage girls to go see it.

    It was a better plot, had far better acting and dialogue and it was original.

    Actually, the special effect that impressed me the most in Avatar was that they made the guy in the wheel chair really appear to be a paraplegic. I thought the blue people looked real in some instances and not real in others. I didn't think their eyes looked real, but their mouths did. They didn't move like they were real, but their hands looked perfect.

    See, the aliens in District 9 weren't trying to look real at all. It didn't distract from the story.

    O great creator of being grant us one more hour to perform our art and perfect our lives. ::: Jim Morrison :::

    by Kevanlove on Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 11:49:34 PM PST

  •  haven't seen it, probably won't (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian

    The trailer sure was an eye-opener but revealed far too much of how crappy a film it was going to be. I'm quick to be turned off by canned dialogue, for one thing. And, even without knowing the storyline, it seemed rather unimaginative.¹ Yeah, there were a lot of cool things going on, but the bottom line is that it's pretty standard fare. Hollywood is such a gigantic bore. And James Cameron, for all his ability producing these epic films, has become less capable when it comes to story, IMHO.

    I love science fiction but loathe a significant amount of its cinema treatment (and, no—superhero pajama fantasy thrillers aren't even science fiction). I'd love to see Guillermo del Toro or Peter Jackson take on the Gaea Trilogy². Now that would rock my socks!

    I was disappointed that David Fincher's Rendezvous With Rama project was shelved. David Freaking Fincher!

    ¹ Case in point: Unobtainium. The first time i saw that mentioned wrt this film i didn't realise that Cameron had literally used that name. Good grief! Way to destroy our cultural heritage, dumbass!

    ² Don't be put off by the well-hung centaurs in light of Avatar. Wait 'till 50ft Marilyn Monroe make her entrance and the buzz-bombs come to play wreak havoc and take their dinner.

    look out honey 'cause i'm using technology
    ain't got time to make no apology
    – Stooges, Search and Destroy

    by subtropolis on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 01:21:47 AM PST

  •  There is a lot more to the film. (0+ / 0-)

    I don't think many people get the real message.

    It isn't anything at all what most people either left or right really get.  It is about communications, cooperation, and the need for coalition building in the face of dire consequences.

    •  How do you change the dominant paradigm? (0+ / 0-)

      Does the movie explain that?

      The part of Happy Feet that I really couldn't stand is when the humans go "OMG!  What are we doing?  We must change our ways!".  That's a movie.  I hoped it educated some people and changed some consumer habits, but no corporation will stop fishing if that's how they make a profit.

      Show me the POLICY!

      by Fabian on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 04:54:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The way its always done (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fabian

        Or rather, the way it has never been done.

        Humans are very good at making the same mistake over and over again.

        Reminds me of a personal anecdote- was at an antique restoration workshop in Pine Hill, NY.  They had a rather large open space separating the home and work areas, with a staircase diving one of the rooms.  They had two dogs in that room, and there was a hole in the staircase big enough for the two dogs to barely fit their heads through.

        Every once in a while a dog would bark.  And as dogs often do, its head would lift and the top of the skull would contact sharply against the upper stair.

        Woof, BANG, woof, BANG, woof, BANG.

        Bet that wasn't the first time, bet that wasn't the last.  You'd think they'd learn from their mistakes?

  •  One really lame special effect (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian

    They do the transubstantiation thing? Where they go into the Avatar's body? And onscreen is this dumb pattern that looks like they pasted it from RealPlayer.

  •  No, it wasn't all that. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kevanlove

    "Sherlock Holmes" was far better and far more deserving of your money.

    Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

    by Whimsical on Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 05:15:42 AM PST

  •  The final word on Avatar. (0+ / 0-)

    "To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well." Justice Robert Jackson, Chief Prosecutor, Nuremberg.

    by Wayward Son on Sun Jan 10, 2010 at 05:12:51 PM PST

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