WOW! I gotta say, Avatar was impressive to look at. As long as your brain wasn't turned on too much it was a great ride to the movies. Visually it was absolutely stunning. I enjoyed it a great deal.
(Now to the shit. [That means spoiler alert!])
HOWEVER, I have trouble turning my brain down too much, especially in the face of laziness and very little imagination. (Huh? What? Little imagination?) Yes. VERY little imagination. I like Jim Cameron. He's a huge sci-fi geek with Hollywood clout. And he is definitely an innovator when it comes to the technology of films/movies. But story-wise he's a bit lazy. (Interestingly I read a blog by Steven Barnes that kind-of, sort-of explains this. Here's the piece 'cause it's a long blog and I don't feel like having you find the part I'm talking about:
"This is such a lovely trap, really. It works like this: in general, the deeper the characters, the simpler the story. And the more complicated the story, the shallower the characters. It isn't that people deliberately set out to do this: it is that a writer only has so much talent. Let's say they have a hundred cubic units of talent to expend upon a project. If they go for a story with wild twists and turns, and serious extrapolation...that uses up more units, and they just don't have as many left over for their characters, which often come out shallow and unconvincing...but WOW! That plot! And the stories with deep, resonant characters are usually stories of everyday life, small drama writ deep and wide. Scathingly real human beings against a backdrop of the mundane.")
And here, with Steve's reasoning, we have a somewhat obvious explanation (except in this instance there's nothing deep about the story or the characters, with the exception of the Na'vi people as a whole a bit. The divide here is Cameron's focus on tech/SFX versus story/character. He's so focused on pulling this shit OFF that all elements of the story suffer.) However there is also another. And that is that this is the exact same story that white people (men) KEEP TELLING OVER AND fucking OVER!!! (Here's a rather good article on this particular storytelling problem. Ironically, and [maybe] thankfully, written by a white person.)
I mean I was kind of cool with Cameron's portrayal of the Na'vi up until Sully gets captured. When the Na'vi warriors ride off to home tree what do I hear? The same exact shouts/calls/hoots I've heard in every film/movie that had some depictions of Native american warriors/braves/people. I mean THE EXACT FUCKING SOUNDS. These are not human beings. Yeah, they have two arms, two legs, a torso, a neck, a head, and kind of speak like we do. But they use their voices in a way so much more involved than humans, especially english speaking humans. Damn James, you could turn fine ass Zoe Saldana into fine ass Neytiri, a ten foot tall blue alien, but you couldn't come up with some alternative sound tech as well as film/visual tech to make her and all the other Na'vi sound different than us? That shit really bothered me for the whole damn movie. Basically the Na'vi were a combination of pretty much ALL non-white peoples on earth.
And then here comes some humans, mostly white, to take shit over. But a choice few, like less than ten among hundreds, want to learn and co-exist peacefully and ONE has to learn the hard way. And of course that one, is an outsider to those choice few but is an infiltrator among them as much as the natives. And "naturally" it's a MAN and he's WHITE. And too late he realizes he was wrong and switches sides. And LEADS the natives against his own kind, 'cause you know, they're wrong and just need to be shown the error of their ways. Check this here man: http://www.battleforterra.com/. Same exact movie, just the details were a bit different. And obviously more money was spent on Avatar.
OH YEAH, almost forgot the biggest twist of the knife: white boy gets to fall in love with the daughter of the local chief and life mate with her.
Don't get me wrong, there are some things I did enjoy though.
--I like the fact that it was a corporation that was there to rape the natural resources from this planet for profit. Earth is dying or dead and humans are still chasing money. SO US.
--I like the fact that the two humans, non-avatars, that helped the human-avatars against the corporate army were NOT WHITE, a female soldier and a male scientist. Michelle Rodriguez is so cool. I find it funny that the women who turned on the humans died but the two human-avatar white males lived. But the female soldier, Michelle, and the female LEAD scientist, played wonderfully by Sigourney Weaver (SO GOOD to see her back in Sci-Fi!), were BOTH killed and both by the same asshole, the leader of the coporate army. (Note: The ladies dying is something I DON'T like. At least Michelle's character. I understand why Sigourney's character had to die.)
--The humans get their ASSES KICKED!!!
--The one black dude, who seemed to be a kind of NCO, lives. He's light-skinned and had a really small part but he's black and we don't see him die, so that's like a first for James Cameron. Thanks James.
--Sully has his consciousness fully transferred to his avatar body, completely leaving his humanity behind. I'm not sure if that's the unspoken ultimate white people fantasy but I thought it was cool. Did notice he waited until AFTER the big battle to do it though. Even though he knew it was possible before the battle.
--Reminiscent of one of my favorite Alan Dean Foster novels, Midworld, which is a very good thing.
Ultimately James Cameron did what he does best, delivered some super-duper kick-ass sci-fi on screen. And I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Oh yeah, one thing I wanted to put down. For those who know me, for obvious reasons I didn't write about the 3-D aspects of the film.
For those who don't know me: I only have sight in ONE eye. Therefore the 3-D aspects really had no affect on my enjoyment of the movie. All the glasses did was make the movie look normal to me. Thank god. I wasn't sure what would really happen. It was interesting though because obviously so much more is being projected and is designed to be taken in by two eyes, so about halfway through the movie my eye got real tired. I had to close it for like a full minute to give it a break and then I periodically blinked on purpose just to avert more fatigue.
Even though I just saw it a few hours ago, I'm tired. I think I got everything I needed down. SO, aside from the seriously obvious and tired old story mold here, I enjoyed the hell out of watching it. There are bangin' SF novels out there and it would be nice if just ONE of them were properly adapted to screen.
All for now. LAterz.