LITERALLY, the best title I could come up with at 3am… on a Friday… after an 1181/fountain filled evening. To be fair- let’s pretend I have it in me- the movie was good. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t completely bad either. Was it “Best Picture” worthy? Oh Hellllll to the no. The funniest thing about that award this year (aside from the mormon-esque family of 10 nominees idiocy), is the ex vs. ex battle going on between James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow over the Best Pic title. How the HELL did these movies make it to the top? I realize La-La land is essentially a circle jerk of nepotism with “benjamins” as condoms and tears of the “little people” as lube when it comes to awards and the like, but come on “academy”, get it together. “Hurt Locker” literally had me HOPING the protagonist (ugh, if you could call him that) would die already so the movie would end faster, and “Avatar” was just plain pandering.
My favourite revelation of the night was how to appeal to the cheetos-lovin’ mid-western fams with a blockbuster: be pro troops or be pro religion… these two movies did just that. While “Hurt Locker” decided to go SO viciously “hate the war, love the soldier” that I nearly puked (seriously Bigelow, you think the throngs of 17 year-old soldiers in the Middle East are THAT patient with shooting “suspect locals waving a cell phone, 100 feet from a bomb”? Bitch, Please!), “Avatar” on the other hand went all “God” on our ass. Our alien-lovin’ director opted to paint the war-hungry Americans (cause, let’s face it, those soldiers had zero accent and were 95% white) as frenetic monsters who can’t get enough “savage blood”… well, that is of course for the one female foreigner: “You’re not the only one with a gun, bitch!” (best line of the movie ps.) So, in lieu of bein’ pro-Bush, the flick went all God and religious on our ass: Oh, America… you’re everything most off with the world, but I love your boys, and about 9 of your cities hehe.
All that aside, there were definitely some big issues I had with this movie. And, I decided to you Homorazzi to rant about it ;) Really, why can’t directors just send me a copy of their movie before they hit the print button? Here are my top 5 problems with this “Best Picture” (hopeful).
Okay, I know that Australians were trying out some “instant tan” pill a few years ago, but apparently Stephen Lang was the ONLY one poppin’ it come year 2045… This muscle daddy (hot right?) was SO bronzed even I felt casper-esque while wathing him on the big screen. Not only do the humans have zero ability to leave the barracks, but not a single other soldier had anything past what I would call a “Topher level” of colouring (click on my fellow writer’s name to see what I mean ;). So… what’s up? Did Colonel Miles Quaritch have his own tanning booth set up in his bunker? Cause, that doesn’t exactly follow up with his character per se. It was distracting, and- not going to lie- made me a little jealous, and I don’t like that :P
While I loathe to define the expression (mostly because I have a deep-seeded feeling that only 7 people continually follow my rants and I’m sure they all know what it means ;), I’ll boil it down to this: Latin term for “God from the machine”. If you remember watching “Funny Games”, the remote control that the bad guys use to turn back time and save themselves is basically the best example of this that I can refer to. It was (and truly only should be) used in ancient Greece during Oedipal plays and the like when it was reasonable to the audience that God might intervene in the daily lives of the plebs and change the direction of fate. In “Avatar’s” case, it came in the subtle (yet ridiculous) form of the jelly fish “mystic seed” ploppin’ down on Neytiri’s arrow to stop her from shootin’ Jakesully near the beginning of the film. COME ON! First, there was about 8 seconds for “god” to intervene with a floating seed so I guess the planet is not only all connected but psychic and fast acting as well? Secondly, the hand of god is such a tired cliche that unless performed by masters of the cinema (yes, Michael Haneke, you’re allowed), it looks facile and lazy. And, speaking of this magical planets…
I understand that you need to build that tension before that archetypal climax and eventual denouement (god, sounds like the kinky afternoon I had today ;), but seriously, if we’re going to spend 30 million dollars or whatever on brand new graphics, you can pay your writer a couple extra bucks to intro something original to the script. So- spoiler alert here- when Jake begs Pandora’s god to help out and we all (please tell me we all knew this) realized it meant the monsters/creatures of the land were going to come and help out the big blue guys, I kind of saw the final battle as being something along the lines of “Lord of the Rings” with trolls fighting next to elves fighting next to trees… But, no. Instead, the Pandorans were left on their own to fight for the first 10 minutes until they start loosing and more than half of them are slaughtered and THEN the beasts decide to show up. Seriously? If the planet wanted to save its inhabitants, why wait until they’re nearly all blasted away? According to the mystic seed that saved Jake’s life in 8 seconds, the planet can react as fast as it needs to, so why let those poor alien horseys get shot down? Oh, right, it makes for a better and more dramatic fight scene… LAME! Those hammerhead rhinos could have killed every single land sentry in no time and likely without a single casualty and that horde of pterodactyls could have handled the few dozen planes before they could shoot off a single missile. Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb.
So, Jake Sully, a long-term loyal Navy boy gets ordered into an Avatar body and goes CrAzY. I’m sorry, but my uncle is in the Marines and I completely understand how ingrained in them it is to take orders from their superiors… and yet, the instant this loyal warrior got into his avatar, he went out of control. Literally, he was ordered over and over again by the doctors in charge to sit, calm down, not move. Instead, he knocks them over and bursts out into a world he knows nothing about. I don’t care if this was his first time with working legs in a year or however long it had been, Navy boys know how to follow direction, and this douche just plodded through the scientists? Once again, opting for yielding a positive reaction (this time laughter I suppose) from the assumed, brain-dead audience over proper characterization, “Avatar” proved itself to be an eye-roller rather than brain-pleaser. It may seem petty, but, as this movie is already such a basher of soldiers and armies (not that I’m pro war AT ALL), you’d think they’d try to do them SOME justice in the one area they do do well: being subservient.
This one goes out to Brian as it pissed him off more than it did me, but, I do agree it was a huge weakness in the film. Clearly there were deleted aspects of the film that didn’t make the final version that would have helped paint a fuller and much needed better picture of Earth. What the Hell was up with that mineral they wanted so badly? Patrick and I assumed it must have been for energy, cause what the heck else would you go so rabid over that would be that $$ by the kilo? While others ranted at the “unsatisfying” end to “The Sopranos”, I am able to appreciate the beauty in the unknown… but this was just something that didn’t make final edits. That an entire civilization would get genocided on camera for some rock that gets no explanation of purpose is just ridiculous. Tell me the rock powers babies’ pacemakers and make me understand the desperation, or tell me that it’s used as hair conditioner for the rich and famous and make me hate this version of the human race even more, but give me something. Furthermore, what in the world (forgive the pun) happened to Earth that the final lines of the movie include referring to it as a “dying rock”? And, how is the government just over a hundred years from now SO different from today’s that they would allow a private company to take over an alien planet and pillage the people and land without a single word of oversight except for Gio-freakin-vanni Ribisi?? The lack of background info offered adds up to create such a vague picture of what led to the current sad state of humanity that we’re left assuming the Republicans must have taken over from Obama and never given up the White House again.
Okay, I realize that Patrick is rolling his eyes as he “informs” me that not every movie can be perfect and that there’s always mistakes, but for something clearly vying for and succeeding at hitting a “Best Picture” nomination (and for a movie as nutballs expensive to make as this one), I expect more and feel it’s only fair to attack when there’s such dumb decisions made behind the screen. Let me know if anything pissed you off about this movie, unless of course like Patrick you’re trying to sell your used ticket for the thing online (I’m not joking).