It is not really fair me to review James Cameron’s “Avatar”. I watched it in four parts over the course of three days via HBO on Demand. I saw it on the small screen, and this film was clearly meant to be watched on the silver screen. And is saw it in two dimensions when again, it was conceived in 3-D.
I also watched the film almost a full year after release. So even though I avoided spoilers I was hit by the hyperbole on both sides of the fence regarding the film. I thought it wouldn’t impact me. But even a year later I found myself reflecting on some of the criticism and praise while watching the film. And that is too bad; I feel like “Avatar” deserved better.
That is not to say that I get the people who thought it was robbed of the “Best Picture” Oscar. It wasn’t. I would’ve went went with “Up”, District 9″ or the incredibly underrated “A Serious Man” before going with the box office behemoth.
“Avatar: did not have a unique or original story. What does these days? You could point to any of the three films I listed above and all three of those tackled well worn themes.
Cameron did a great job of creating a world. That is no easy task. Pandora lives and breathes even when viewed in 2D on a screen 1/100th the intended viewing canvas.
The visuals were amazing. As I said before I would watch shots and think, “oh man, if only I had seen this in 3-D. That says something as I have been toeing the line on the format. I think it is overused and overexposed. I punted on paying the extra for “Toy Story 3″ and “Tangled”. I would gladly pay to see Avatar as it was intended should they re-release it.
The detractors who bashed Sam Worthington’s performance as Jake Sully, I don’t get it. I thought that he played a broken man extremely well. Being a twin myself I found his sullen, monotone delivery early to be dead on. The man was taking over a role from the person in this world that he was most like. I don’t think there is anyway to understand if you are not a twin, which may sound pretentious, but I don’ think it is any less true. He nailed it.
His digital performance? I was impressed as well. Again I like the guy. I think he did a great job in his role of Marcus in “Terminator:Salvation” and he showed some different stripes here, especially during his time as a Na’vi.
As for the criticism that the story is too anti-War, anti-corporation and Pro-Hippie, love the earth? So what? It obviously hit a nerve with people who went to see it again and again. I can see where if you were a Beck disciple it would get to you. There is plenty of media out there for you.
The film worked for me. I enjoyed it and hope to see it someday as it was intended: on the big screen in 3D.
I don’t see where a logical sequel comes from. I know you could have the corporation fight back and try to take Pandora back. And then the second sequel could be Jake Sully trying to save earth and make it more Pandoraish…but it just feels inorganic, a money grab and totally counter to what the film stands for.
In fact it feels like the RDA Corporation from the film would do.
There are few things in life that compare with the joy of watching your parents play with your kids. I still remember the first time my parents met both James and Anna. It was the ultimate “Hey Mom and Dad, look what I did.”
Adding to that sublime joy every time I visit my parents is that I get a chance to watch Starz. I know that sounds lame, but I am behind the times on films. I rarely get to see them in the theater and as easy as RedBox is I always pause at the kiosk and wonder whether I am really going to feel like taking the plastic wafer back the next day. The answer is almost always, “probably not”.
I refuse to buy both Netflix and HBO, and HBO wins out. Yes I know that I will have access to many more films if I get Netflix. But if I chose the current choice of most people then I would be without “Real Time with Bill Maher”, and “Boardwalk Empire”. I find that idea without any merit, HBO wins out.
That does not mean that I do not long for any other distribution of media, of course I do. I feel very strongly about staying in budget for things that are not fundamental needs. So one premium channel or service it is…
Except when I am at my old haunt in the T.O.T. I curl on the coach and horde the remote. No longer am I any part Smeagol, I am all Gollum. Sleep is sacrificed in the name of catching up on films. This past weekend I caught two really good ones on Starz on Demand, “Armored” and “Moon”.
“Armored” is the inferior film of the two, but I thought it was excellent for what it was: an extremely well-produced caper movie. There is an economy to the storytelling that I think is missing in most films today. Director Nimród Antal does not repeatedly hit you in the face the plot threads. He states the case of the main character, Ty, and lets him react to the action as it unfolds.
I recommend it if you are looking for a nice short,tight and well edited action film that clocks in at a very lean, tight 87 minutes.
“Moon”, what can I say? I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but it is the best science fiction film I have seen since “Children of Men”.
Sam Rockwell plays “Sam Bell”, a contract worker who harvests moon rock, the future of clean energy in the 22nd century. Rockwell nails his role. I really do not want to speak on the film that much as I feel that you should go in fresh.
It is smart, well shot, and feels like a film from a different age, to me that is a good thing. I look forward to seeing more films from first time director Duncan Jones; he made a great film in “Moon”. It is among my favorite films of 2009 with “A Serious Man” and ” District 9″.*
* List subject to change as I am constantly catching up with last years films. I hope to be able to watch more when I visit my in laws next month. They have Showtime…yeah buddy.