Sunday, December 20, 2009

Movie Review: Avatar - A-

Who's In It: Sam Worthington (and his dog, Spot), Sigourney Weaver, Zoe Saldana.

What It's About: It's the year 2154 and people still make references to the Wizard of Oz and the War in Iraq. The evil American military-industrial complex sends an obviously Australian marine to infiltrate and learn the ways of a group of people, who are so enlightened they apologize to their food for eating it.

What I Was Expecting: It's James Cameron. I expect bang for my buck, visuals like I've never seen and dialogue that causes physical pain to my ears.

What I Got: Everything except the last part. Okay, there were a few zingers from James Cameron, who apprarently learned to write dialogue by watching Ed Wood movies. But, in general, it's not too bad. Or I was just so dumbfounded by what I was seeing on screen, I didn't notice. I have never seen anything like this film. This film should not even be shown in 2-D. There's no point. It was obviously made to be seen in 3-D. And it's the 3-D effect where Cameron really shows his genius. Most 3-D movies focus on having things come at the screen. Cameron focused on moving things away. It was brilliant how many times there would be a character or two up front and how much movement there would be some 50 feet behind them. That is what makes it seem like things are happening right in front of you. As for the rest of the movie, as brilliant and inventive as the film is visually, plot wise, it's just okay. There is not a single, non-cliche character in the film. The performances are just passable as well. Sam Worthington apparently learned to do an American accent by watching Russell Crowe movies. I did like Giovanni Ribisi, but I liked his character much better when Paul Reiser played him in Aliens. Overall, the film is an experience and needs to be seen in 3-D, in a theatre.

Grade: A-

Oscar Potential: This film will get a lot of Oscar love. Nominations for Picture and Director, for sure. And the technical awards, just check them all off. How many it will actually win is a different story. Visual effects and the sound categories. But that may be it.

Five Random Thoughts:

1. I wonder how much screen time actual actors must have in a movie to make it not qualify as an animated film. Or is it that the animation looks so real in Avatar that you forget that minutes go by where you don't see anything not created with a computer.

2. Invoking Rule 34 on the Na'vi in (If you don't know Rule 34, google it.)

3. Any particular reason why the 3-D glasses look like Wayfairers?

4. They invent an entire language for this film, create all kinds of new species and the best sound they could come up with for the horse-like creature is an actual horse? And the best name they could think of for the Na'vi home tree is "The Hometree"?

5. James Horner should be shot for the score at the end of the film. If you've written one of the most recognizable film scores in recent memory, you don't rip it off. And it was an emotional moment and I found myself singing along to it, "Near...far...."

Trailer Park:

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief: I've reviewed this same trailer before, but it was the first time that I recognized the kid playing Percy as the kid from 3:10 to Yuma and the TV series Jack & Bobby.

Salt: Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Wait a second. Hasn't Angelina Jolie been nominated a couple of times for Oscar recently? What on earth is she doing making this crap? The problem with coming up with such an awful title for a film: No one will forget it. You couldn't change it at this point.

The Book of Eli: Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman....and Mila Kunis? Malcolm X, Beethoven and...Meg Griffin? Okay, I'm game. Looks great.

Alice in Wonderland: I'd seen this trailer on the internet before and I didn't think much of it. Now that I've seen it in 3-D, it looks amazing.

Despicable Me: I've reviewed this one a couple times as well. Had no idea this one was also in 3-D. Looks fun. Especially with THAT cast.

Shrek Forever After: I hated this trailer. I hate this title. When have you ever heard "forever after" in a fairy tale. And what happened to the original title "Shrek Goes Fourth"? Well, if it makes me laugh once, it'll be better than Shrek the Third.

1 comment:

Brian Barker said...

And before "Avatar" and "Star Trek" there was Bill Shatner speaking Esperanto, in the horror film called "Incubus".


As an Esperanto speaker I found it terrifying! His Esperanto pronunciation that is, not the film.

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