Avatar ain’t as amazing as you say it is
I’ve been arguing with anyone who comes close to me that Avatar is not a five-star movie, or even a four-star movie. It is, as Time Out New York (but not the rest of the critical world, apparently) asserts, a three-star movie.
For sure, the visuals are fantastic. Cameron has re-invented a part of filmmaking. It is one of the defining movies of the decade.
But that doesn’t cover for the fact that it has a trite and cliche-ridden story with stodgy schoolyard analogies, brazen caricatures, wooden actors and a disappointing ending.
But, no, some people won’t listen. “It’s the best film ever ever,” they practically say.
My question to the Avatar-is-five-star crew is: what if someone next does a film that captures the same visual (almost visceral) experience that Avatar has, but couples it with a story that is even slightly more complex than a tiddly wink? If Avatar gets five stars, it’s impossible to improve on, right?
So it’s nice to find some affirmation of my views on one my new favourite internet web sites on the World Wide Web: The Awl. I quote their contributor:
the really worst thing is the ham-fistedness of Avatar’s alternate history. Okay, so this time the Native Americans are able to throw off the European oppressor. Note well, however, that l’homme sauvage, for all the purity of his Native Wisdom, is still quite helpless without a white man to show him what the hell to do. So what if this “hero” “goes native,” just like in Dances With Wolves? (Even as he goes about gathering “the horse people of the plains” to assist him.) It still takes a white man to tame the really BIG dragon, and to outfox the enemy.
He will also take the “best” woman, the noblest, the highest born, the smartest, whose token resistance will dwindle its sorry way from faux-contempt to near-drooling adoration in a matter of days. Her former man will die, and her father will, too; her whole civilization will lie in ruins. She will pretty much get down on her knees to thank this white man, anyway
I heard James Cameron tell MTV that he’s bringing to the cinema films he wished he had when he was a 14-year-old. That figures.
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