Being a cutting edge amateur critic, I didn’t watch the highest grossing film of all time when it first came out in the cinema. No, I had to wait until Dad bought it on dvd yesterday. I have to be honest here and say I don’t appreciate what the fuss is about. For all the hype, you’d think James Cameron had personally resurrected Jesus and convinced him to create really pretty graphics for Avatar.
Apparently, this film was amazing in IMAX cinemas and watching it in 3D. If so, then you’d think they would release it in 3D with the silly glasses, wouldn’t you? But they didn’t. What they did was release a dvd that had nothing but the film, subtitles and the menu. Not only is the film 2D (causing it to lose one of its major selling points), it has no featurettes on the making of the film and no director commentaries.
I will not limit my reviewer-hate to the quality of the dvd release, however.
When I watched the film, I couldn’t help but notice how much it all just felt like CGI. I realise that is exactly what it is, but after so much time and hearing people gush about how pretty it looks, it seems like a letdown to me. I was expecting to have my mind blown by the pretty graphics, but I didn’t even notice the difference between the quality of Cameron’s graphics and (for example) those of the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy.
The plot revolves the Navi (not that annoying fairy from Legend of Zelda), a race native to the planet Pandora. The antagonists come in the form of an army of douchebag Americans who threaten to tear down the Navi’s beloved forests and landscapes to mine some precious metal (called Unobtanium). A crippled marine goes undercover as one of the Navi to find a way to get them to relocate before America wages another pointless war. Among other things, I noticed a distinct similarity in plot to the PS3 game Haze and even heard the in-game words (specifically, ‘Get Some!’) repeated a few times. Things are complicated when he falls in love with the princess of the tribe, and living as one of them would mean that he could get the use of his legs back.
The morals in this movie are so heavy handed that you will end up as a Looney Tunes-style stain upon your chair. I agree with the messages brought forth in the movie, in that man should be more in touch with nature but after a certain point it becomes grating. It’s such an obvious allegory that it’s pointless to even mention that it’s fusing a message about the pointlessness of war with a message about being in touch with nature.
Good thing I didn’t mention that then.
Visually, there is a lot to see here. There is always something colourful jostling for your attention, and it certainly looks nice. But therein lies the problem. It doesn’t look particularly outstanding, just slightly better than average.
The actual interaction with the Smurf stand-ins was pretty clever to see, merging live action and CGI as it did but it doesn’t stand out as anything revolutionary. I’m not going to spoil anything for you here, but G.I. Cripple and Smurfette have sex. And I don’t know about you, but if I wanted to watch blue people having sex, I would watch Smurfette Does Smurftown1.
Anyone who wants to buy this would be better off waiting for the bulkier re-release and opting for a 3D version if they release one.
1 I hope I’ve just made that up but it’s more than likely that I haven’t.