Thursday, 18 February 2010

Exclusive: World's First Avatar Review!*

I finally saw Avatar last week, a mere two months after its release. I realise that by now nobody gives a crusty snotrag what I thought about it, but it would be remiss of me not to at least comment. In fact this post may have the smallest target audience in The Incredible Suit's history, aimed as it is at people who haven't seen Avatar. So put your glasses on Mum, you're about to be educated.

Avatar is awful.

Inexplicably, shockingly, apocalyptically awful.

To take various awful elements and individually analyse their awfulness:

  • The story is awful. It feels like it was written in the 1980s and left on a dusty shelf in a broom cupboard for 25 years while the rest of cinema evolved and improved its storytelling to the point where this kind of formulaic claptrap would be laughed out of Hollywood if The King Of The World hadn't written it.
  • The script is awful. There's not an interesting, inspired line in its 162 minutes. The one-liners are as cheesy and flat as a Cheddar slice. I lost count of how many times a character appeared to be in mortal danger before predictably being rescued by another character, or by a herd of alien cows not seen since the first reel. By the time the hero delivered his rousing Braveheart speech I had my head in my hands, or I would have done if my 3D glasses hadn't got in the way.
  • The characters are awful. The bad guy is the kind of tediously one-dimensional villain not seen since '80s 'classics' like Commando. I couldn't have cared less about any of the main characters if they'd been played by Shia LaBeouf.
  • The music is awful. It's one thing to have all that jungle drums and wailing choirs nonsense but to have Leona Lewis squonking all over the credits is beyond a joke. I suppose it gets people out of the auditorium quickly so they can get on with the next fleecing - sorry, screening.
  • The 3D is awful. Actually it's not awful, in some places it's quite good, but it's either in-your-face and therefore distracting, or subtle and therefore pointless. Also after about 15 minutes I felt like James Cameron himself had been pressing his thumbs into my eyeballs.
I could go on, but even my Mum will have lost the will to live by now. Let me just say that for all Avatar's technical innovations, Cameron seems to have completely forgotten how to tell a good story. Either that or he thought a few 'Ooh's and 'Aah's would do in lieu of an interesting, witty, intelligent story. And judging by the $849 squintillion he's trousered so far, he was right.

Final obvious, childish pun and submission for DVD cover quote:

* to use the phrase "crusty snotrag"

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  1. BRAVO! ENCORE! GOOD SHOW MAN! I can't believe people fell for it either! I have not seen it, but I saw the first trailer back in yarn and thought "It looks just AWFUL! And who the hell names an element Unobtainium??", so clearly I've made the right choice and can continue to extract the unobtainium out of all my friends that rave about it like drooling lunatics.

  2. Agreed. I wrote a post along similar lines a bit ago:

  3. I quite enjoyed it, however I took the precaution of leaving my brain on ice with Mrs R as she waited in the foyer with it.

  4. I saw Avatar last night and I couldn't agree more. I would have prefered if he had remade The Abyss as a 3D film. Great story, characters and is not 75% a cartoon.

    I think this is a truly great movie. I wonder if there is an independent test to verify this by freezing the frame every 30 minutes. Just wondering.

  5. Some rebuttals:

    The story: Personally I found the story of a bloke that transfers his conciousness into a hybrid body so he can help negotiate a peace with an alien species but ends up joining them quite original compared with the many remakes, films about vampire teenagers...etc that have been coming out over the last few years. I've generalised the plot quite a bit above.

    Script: The main character is saved by giant cow things once. He gets saved by the love interest once. Lets say it happens a couple of more times. That is 4 times. You can't count to 4? Personally I think the story about a planet that is basically an organic network to be quite interesting and original.

    There are two bad guys. One is a fairly one-dimensional evil military guy. The other is a corporate bloke who feels quite guilty as the film goes on though it isn't explicitly explored. The scientist characters are a little more fleshed out but to no great extent. Enough to make the film work. The focus is on the two main characters, and theirs are pretty good.

    You are complaining about the end credit music. "I don't like The Godfather because the font they use is crap!"

    The effects are fantastic. Your point is that they are to in your face/subtle. Funnily enough, they are generally in your face when there is a pause in the plot so you can appreciate them. They are generally subtle so you don't think "This is a special effect laden monstrosity."

    It could have been better but to say it is awful, given the swill coming out of Hollywood, smacks of attention seeking contrarianism.

    I think I just invented a new word.

  6. Contrarianism? What have you got against Rhianna?

  7. Current 3D is a waste of time. It works after a fashion for close objects. If you move your head the relationship between middle and far distance objects should change but in film 3D it is fixed. This faulty technology is more confusing for the brain than watching regular 2D, is more expensive and requires silly spectacles. Beyond middle distance binocular vision is not as important as head movement. Those with one eye do not as a general rule bump into furniture. A standard 2D tracking shot provides sufficient clues for the scene to have depth. 3D is a passing fad.

    As for AVATAR I repeat my view that it is a bog standard Western with bows & arrows, blueskins in place of redskins and unobtainium in place of gold. John Wayne and John Ford would be at home with AVATAR. Sigourney Weaver has the best line as Grace to Jake "Just relax and let your mind go blank. That should not be difficult if you just pretend you are the Incredible Suit".

  8. Anonymous, thanks for your comments. Usually if you say you don't like Avatar on the internet you just get "WTF dude avatar ROCKS UR so GAY hahaha!!!!!!!!!!1"

    Anyway to address your points:

    The central conceit is indeed interesting, but it's just the idea, it's not the story. The story goes from A to C and it's pretty easy to guess what'll happen in between.

    Even if Jake is saved from certain death at the last possible second (after a buildup of swelling music) only twice, that's still too many times. It's lazy writing and makes you realise he'll never be killed in that kind of situation, thereby removing any dramatic tension.

    I'm one of those losers who likes to stay through the credits to listen to the music. I think it's an important part of the film because it gives you time to think about what you've seen while you're still in the world of the movie. But when some screeching harpy comes on, bawling into my ears like a Stars In Their Eyes Celine Dion, I just want to run away screaming into the night. Why not just have James Horner's score over the credits? Because more people will buy Leona Lewis' single, that's why.

    The effects ARE fantastic. I didn't say they weren't. It's the 3D that bothers me.

    I don't know if 'contrarianism' is a new word but I like it. However The Incredible Suit is never contrary for the sake of it. I speak my brains and make no apologies for it. Besides, it's not as if I'm the only one who feels this way, as these comments show.

    Anyway I'm glad you liked Avatar and I'm glad you took the time to read my review. It would be a boring old world if we all liked the same stuff and I wouldn't be able to come on the interwebs and be an attention seeking contrarianist ;-)

  9. Hmm, I suppose I went into the film knowing that the main character would never be threatened so didn't have such high expectations.

    Interesting what Tony Cox says as I'm a big fan of Westerns.

    I'm just glad I didn't involve a pouty 17 year old vampire really.

  10. Wait a minute, do you really think they hired Leona Lewis to sing the end credits song so that they could sell records to make money? That’s crazy, I can't think of any production company's or director's that would be wild and bold enough to try such a stunt as making money and increasing the films profile through end credit songs (Robin Hood, The Bodyguard, 4 Weddings, every James Bond film…), I mean, film and popular music have no reason to work together at all do they :-)

  11. this review makes me happy

  12. on imdb is rated so high. what the fuck!