December 22, 2009

James Cameron’s 1000 Gamerscore

After a little getting the band back together (which, honestly, has left me completely hoarse. I was singing way too intensely. Heh.) I was invited, last night, to a showing of James Cameron’s Avatar, a complete reinvention of how movies shall be made forever more. Why not go? I mean, if nothing else, there was going to be a bunch of talk going on about it on all my podcasts and shite. It would be good to actually know what’s up. I paid my crazy 12 dollars for the stupid glasses and ticket, and went.

I had went into the movie planning on completely hating it. Well, not completely hating, but certainly thinking it very silly, and very bad. All the reviews I had heard so far talked about how breathtaking it was to watch, and how empty the story was. Not usually one to be taken by visuals alone (not that they don’t help), I expected to be pretty down on the whole thing.
The farther you get away from Avatar, the more holes you find in it. But while I was in the theater, I admit I was mostly entranced. Pandora is fucking beautiful, and the Na’Vi are animated just… so fluidly, they really don’t look out of place next to the fully-human, filmed characters, which is a real feat. Well, let me rephrase that: they look out of place, but that’s because they’re aliens, awkward, and don’t know how to treat the smaller humans, as opposed to it being “oh, there’s a CGI dude next to that human dude.” There’s no doubt that all of that is really, really impressive. You’re seeing a lot of cool stuff.

The plot, though… there are no surprises. It is what I have heard described as a “noble savage, mighty whitey” storyline, and it is completely. Human becomes a Na’Vi, learns their ways, becomes their leader, better than them all. It’s… predictable. You know exactly what’s going to happen in this movie before you even sit down. You can see all the plot twists coming from two miles away. There are no surprises, and none of the characters are deep enough to give a shit about whatsoever, which I’m sure was something that was intended. People die, and you can tell it’s supposed to be moving, but it really just isn’t. The only thing that pulls at your heartstrings a little is when Love Interest (can you tell how important the characters on when I can’t remember the names of any of them) is upset and crying. Whoever did her acting and voice acting did something so seriously raw that you can’t help but sympathize a bit. Certainly some of the best anguish. But the moment she stops, you realize you don’t really agree with her. It wasn’t a great loss. It was just some stereotype that died. Besides that moment of crying, none of the acting takes these characters out of the realm of stereotype.

Seriously, if you’re going to spend so much money on making such a fucking beautiful movie, you really could spend some time on the acting. For example, this blew my mind: the ore the humans are on Pandora to get is literally called Unobtanium. Yes, the joke term for MacGuffin ores that allow fantastic sci-fi tech to work is the ACTUAL TERM for the ore. They really couldn’t have taken a few minutes to come up with an ore name while they were coming up with an entire Na’Vi language? That’s the kind of thing that’s in the first draft of a script, but then is written out. Ridiculous.
You could also, of course, write a story that doesn’t blatantly steal from most of early American literature. I mean, sure, steal from it. Nothing particularly wrong with that. Keep those themes and put them in a Sci-Fi setting. But dammit, at least try to mix it up. Just a little. To disguise what you’re doing. To leave some tiny inkling of suspense.

There is just so much that could be said on an English Majority thing about how bad the whole story is too, but I think I’ll leave that to the experts. Or at least finally see what they and Spoony have to say and see if that inspires me to write a companion post where I do that.

As I said, though, I can’t claim I didn’t enjoy it while I was in the theater. It is just such a technical showcase that it is just pretty damn cool to see play out. But goodness, if you want to see this film, see it in theaters. If you take away the 3D and the huge screen, I have a feeling it will be even harder to forgive its flaws. All the fun comes from that spectacle. This is a solid spectacle. But not a particularly good movie, and it is a shame that such effort was wasted on a plot so lackluster.

I can agree to an extent though I like how they used Unobtainium but I am sort of skeptical of the argument that ‘It’s been done before’. I personally have never really been surprised by any movie (with the exception of the movie Inferior Affairs that no one has ever heard of) But every movie is a copy of another movie. Spoony references that the Mech suits in the Movie are copies from the Matrix, but those are copies from countless other movies. I think it was a good movie, albeit it unoriginal, I don’t really know what people will expect. Literature, Movies, Video Games, in my own experience, they have always been predictable. Thoughts? :3

Comment by Kalllllleeee — December 22, 2009 @ 1:36 pm

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