Dec 29 2009
Did anyone else see Brendan Fraser in Sully? I sure as hell did
Alright kids. Let’s have at it. I saw it. I saw Avatar. I felt the hype. I felt the amazement. Hell I was even nauseous before I saw the damned thing. I was ready to be shocked beyond all belief. I was ready for the experience of a lifetime. I was ready to feel “this is the next Star Wars.” When I left the movie all I kept thinking was, “Yeah? And?” And yes people, I saw it on IMAX 3D.
Don’t get me wrong folks, I want to talk about why the movie was great as well (though you can just read Tassi’s review for about as much shining on a movie as I’ve seen in a long time) but I gotta get some stuff off my chest….
OK, let’s talk about why I like movies. I like movies for the acting, the directing, the story, the cinematography, and most importantly I want to like the characters, like the story, and “feel” the movie. If I’m not sympathetic to anything in the movie, I’m not going to like it. So put it this way. You can have the greatest technical cinematic achievement known to man (which is exactly what Avatar is) but if you don’t actually care about the movie? Well then it’s just another Jerry Bruckheimer film with a bunch of visual effects that leaves me thinking “ok it was cool to look at but I didn’t like the actual movie.” On the other hand you can have a piece of shit movie but if you like everything in it aside from the special effects then it can be amazing (or at least likeable). Case in point? Um, any low budget movie with a great story and great acting. There are 1000′s out there that I’d rather watch than Avatar.
Now, let me at least acknowledge what an amazing achievement this film is. I don’t want to dog James Cameron and put him anywhere near Bruckheimer status with ridiculousness in movies. I was simply making a comparison in terms of big budget movies that don’t exactly deliver on storyline and great acting (not to mention cheesy screenplays). I can’t possibly fathom the amount of work gone into this film. I respect the precision. I respect the detail. I respect that an entire world was created from nothing. I’m impressed that the future of cinema lies in the technology used in this movie. I know that movies shall only improve upon the foundation that was laid here (they friggin’ better). I was dazzled yes. I was visually “stunned.” I’m in full agreement that this movie blew me away technologically more than any movie I’ve ever seen. The difference between me and my counterpart Mr. Tassi is that where he was so impressed with this visual display, I was overrun with anger at how bad an actual movie this was. You see, from what I’ve heard, everyone has mostly agreed that the acting was subpar (even comical), and that the story isn’t all that great but that you’ll just be so blown away by the visuals in this film that it won’t matter. Well you know what? It mattered. It mattered a lot. Because those are the elements I find most dear in a movie. So 20 minutes in when I’m done saying “wow!” I’m left thinking “is this going to be a good movie?” And that’s where I think the film failed. The amazing computer enhanced canvas of a film didn’t overthrow me. It didn’t wow me enough to say “ah screw the other stuff.” I’m sorry, I just can’t let it slide.
Oh and let me just say something about Star Wars before I even start. Star Wars my friends, had an amazing plot. It had the coolest friggin’ characters known to man, and it actually had likeable robots. I mean what the hell movie in the 70s had likeable robots for Christ’s sake? I’m sorry but please don’t ever compare Avatar to Star Wars with the exception of ground breaking technology. That is the only comparison we should use.
Now that my intro is out of the way. Let’s get into why this movie was not good.
Really James Cameron? Come on buddy! Hell this is the same guy that wrote True Lies which I thought was pretty clever and funny. Could he have not come up with better lines here? If anyone didn’t nearly puke when they heard the word “Unobtanium” then I really don’t know what to say. Sadly this is a real word used by real scientists but I still can’t accept it. Me and my buddy literally looked at each other and said “are they serious?” “The trees that network them to their ancestors?” I mean what the hell kinds of lines were these? There was comedy in this movie right? Um, how ridiculously bad placed was it? There were times when Sully would say “shit” and I’m thinking “OK that’s like a normal thing to say.” But it wasn’t normal because I had no clue why he said it. Yes he said it because he was having a hard time flying on a dinosaur but it’s like he’ll say it one time and then be serious the next. Honestly it just didn’t make sense. I’m sorry but the dialogue never even allowed me to take this movie seriously. BY FAR the best lines were given to Giovanni Ribisi and it’s not even close. Unless you count the lines given to Sully’s commanding officer which if you think those were good lines then go see Conair and have at it with the most stupid one liners ever. Come on people. You have to agree with me on this. Please, for the love of God tell me this movie did not have a good screenplay.
Paul hit it right on the head with Zoe Saldana. The ONLY character in the entire film that I empathized with and felt had redeeming qualities was Neytiri. Other than that? Like I said Giovanni Ribisi was hilarious. Tell me you guys didn’t notice this. Um, Sam Worthington’s accent? He started off as American. Pretty sure by the end of the movie he was either Australian, English, or a blend of the two. This was way worse than Kevin Costner in Robinhood and that’s saying something. Part of a movie’s effectiveness is to create a reason for us to care for the characters. As an audience member I want to give a shit. I want to care about who I’m seeing. I want to feel for a character. I felt nothing for anyone but Neytiri (and maybe her people) and that’s a problem. Sully just seemed dull and listless. His emotions were lame. Yeah I kind of get that he falls for Neytiri but it’s like it’s not enough. I just feel like things fell short. I don’t know man. And come on Sigourney Weaver. Did she even need to be in this movie? OK, we get it. You like to collect samples. But I mean, who cares? The acting was subpar and maybe it’s not even the actors’ fault. Because how the hell are you supposed to act well when the whole movie is filled with major plot holes?
OK, I get the plot. I understand that Unobtanium (I’m still laughing at this word even though it’s real) is needed, or do I? Um, what the hell is it for exactly? Yeah I know it’s like $20 Mil a kilo but did the movie ever go into this? Do we ever know what it’s actually for? Nope. I guess I understand why Earth needed this land (or so I thought, Unobtanium? oh wait we don’t know what that is) but come on folks. I really can’t go on here.
Shall we dive into the obscene amount of plot holes here? OK humans, you guys are able to blow up a tree the size of a skyscraper but then flying animals and spears take you out? Really? And wouldn’t human beings have better weapons past the year 2100 than retarded looking Robocops? What the hell is this? I mean I felt like I was watching Robot Jox. Come on guys. You’re better than that. Michelle Rodriguez wearing Pandora paint? Painting her helicopter?
And let’s talk about Sully’s commanding officer saying “you get yourself a little tail and now you’re ready to abort?” You know something? You’re damned right. He was right. Sure the guy was a douche and a murderer without care, and you get why Sully becomes one of them and respects them, but he’s still a soldier on a mission. Do your job soldier. Don’t just fall for some hussy and then try to save an entire planet from your homeland.
And wait a second. Sully and Neytiri have sex right? They’re partners now and Tsu’tey doesn’t give a shit? I’m not even gonna go there. There are just too many holes in this film.
OK now I’m just being a dick but still. Here’s the bottom line. Is there a potentially good story in here? You bet there is. Are there underlying plot lines like Nature vs. Technology? Yes, sure, I get that. Are there more “grand” undertones and world issues at stake in the film? Sure. I’m not a complete moron. I see some of the messages and I get them. But let me say this. You cannot complete this story and have a beginning to end in 2 hours and 30 minutes. You just can’t. I felt like I needed at least 8 more hours of explanation in this film. Bottom line is that I see the story but it’s just not fully there. And I don’t think Cameron ever really intended for this to happen because he knew his audience would be in awe the whole time from the CGI. Well not me. Story matters. Filling in gaping plot holes matter. I was pissed during the film and still am now.
Honestly folks this review would take me 6 more days if I really gave a shit. This is all what’s fresh in my head and I had to get it off my chest. I know it’s not all that clear. I think I could write an entire book on this but it’s not worth my time.
Like I said, I think this technology will be something we can build on and I think that it’s a great start. However, if we don’t combine it with a solid story and great acting then I fear people will eventually get very tired of this kind of blockbuster film. Think about it. What if Avatar had a sequel and the acting was this bad again and the story had this many holes again? I don’t know. I’d be pretty bummed and I think eventually the fans of Avatar might as well. Like I said, a good first step in this new age of movie, but not a good movie itself, if that makes sense.
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