December 29, 2009

Review: Avatar


Well, the hype is true. You really should see this movie, and you should see it in 3D as the director intended. It is a visceral, visual feast that should not be missed.

James Cameron has made his reputation on movies that overwhelm visually. He knows how he wants his scenes to look, and if the technology doesn’t exist to give him exactly what he wants, he invents it. He owns patents from technology he created each time in order to make “The Abyss,” “Terminator,” “Titanic,” and now “Avatar.”

The one caveat I have is the same complaint I had for “Titanic:” Cameron really needs to let someone else do the writing. In the disaster flick, I found young Rose an irritating shrew and the romance a side plot to the real story. I can say, though, that I agree with a critic’s assertion that Cameron’s greatest achievement in “Titanic” was making us sorry to see Leo DiCaprio die.

“Terminator” appeared to be his greatest writing achievement until a lawsuit revealed that Cameron borrowed heavily from Harlan Ellison’s writing on episodes of “Outer Limits.” In “Avatar,” my husband said he recognized plot elements from C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series. Even though I haven’t read them, the plot remains predictable. There are no surprises in the story line; but like in all the movies mentioned, it’s a forgivable weakness that is compensated by visual splendor. Cameron’s ability to make real the images of his mind’s eye combined with another writer’s fine, complex characterization and plot would make the masterpiece he has yet to create.

8 comments:

the hobbit said...

When I saw the previews, I thought: "Native Tribe-sploitation meets Sportsperson with Cancer movie."

I'm glad it's fun to watch. There are so few things that are that are legal. ;)

Rox said...

3D with the glasses? I always get barfy when I wear those. I'll wait for the DVD. I'm just so not a theatre person, too much wrappers unwrapping and popcorn munching for my liking! LOL

Ur-spo said...

movement on screen makes me ill
and I don't like Smurfs
so I will pass on this movie !

Jeaux said...

Cameron is a remarkable filmmaker. I hadn’t seen the Predator series but was completely wowed by True Lies. The movie has a genius for leveraging reality into surreal dimensions without ever leaving the realm of plausibility. Then just when you though you’d seen it all, he brings on another climax more jaw dropping than the first. “This guy is Tchaikovsky,” I told my friends. They looked at me askance. “True Lies??!!” His next movie was Titanic. Seems it was just a matter of time before took the leap into the next dimension. I’ll see Avatar. I enjoy 3-D. But I hope he doesn’t lose his flair for exploiting the potential for amazement in the world in which we already live.

Blobby said...

"Predictable" is the exact word I used to describe the film - which you can see in my blog post tomorrow. :)

...yes, a shameless plug. sue me.

Anonymous said...

Birdie - You really do have a flair for writing, and apparently movie reviews as well. I thought your point of view was right on mark with Avatar.
The story line may be predictable, but the sheer beauty of the animation/artwork is worth the price of admission. Remember that behind Cameron's visionary concept lies a field of exceptionally talented artists that made it reality. The pure inventiveness of the landscapes, creatures and Pandora ecosystem in combination with the fluid 3D CG animation was great fun to experience. Go see it with the kind of wonderment in a child's eye. Cheers, Jay

tornwordo said...

It was a fun ride. Best not to nitpick in my opinion.

Meli said...

You really must read Narnia.. they are so much more than children's books!