Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Avatar Misses the Mark

I would like to second every bit of this critique.

Ross is absolutely right: Avatar may be a visual masterpiece, but the hackneyed premise was pretty disappointing. It was not a particularly good movie, but it was certainly amazing to watch.

One of the few times I've walked away from a movie feeling both awe and indignation.


MediaMaven said...

I've found in my very limiting experience that visually spectacular movies tend to always fall short on the storytelling. They're great for watching once, but no matter how much I love the visuals, I get bored if there's not a coherent story to tie me through.

mikhailbakunin said...

Yeah, but there are some that manage to do both. I'd cite Pan's Labyrinth and The Matrix (the original) as two pretty good examples of movies that had really engaging storylines and great visuals. Even Terminator 2 had a pretty interesting storyline.

Avatar was just filled with cliches. Some of the characters seemed like they were transpanted right from Aliens, and the whole premise was just kind of lame and uninspired.

(Also, as Tyler Cowen pointed out, Avatar has virtually the same plot as Battle for Terra.)

mikhailbakunin said...

*Sorry, that was Alex Tabarrok, not Tyler.

JB said...

Indignation? Isn't that a bit strong? Of course it wasn't original, but it was engaging. That's more important in a story.

Also, Douche-hat's critique is weak. It's yet another Christian attempt to deny the validity of any religious tradition other than monotheism. Why are paganism and pantheism "lesser" forms of religion? They're older and have led to a lot less mass murder. And what's wrong with seeing nature itself as holy as opposed to the creation of a holy creator? There's nothing inherently better or worse about either interpretation. By agreeing with this critique, you're buying into his monotheist chauvinism.

JB said...

By the way, his misunderstanding of pantheism is so extreme that he's not even talking about the same thing. Pantheism isn't just conflating nature and God, it's a rejection of dualism altogether. It has nothing to do with the "circle of life." It's not the Lion King. It's a philosophical-theological statement of oneness which replaces the juvenile conception of God as an anthropomorphic deity with magic powers and sacred rules (the chosen religion of Douche-hat and his right-wing cronies) with a focus on reality itself as numinous. The God of the Bible, with his praises of slavery and condemnation of gays, not to mention his convoluted system of salvation which ultimately boils down to "worship me or burn for all eternity", is far less rational than simply recognizing that the infinite universe ITSELF is all the God we need.