It's been a while since I last took on a pop culture topic here on the Tiki Bar...far too long. I've been busy, though...lots of smoking cigars, not to mention the holidays with the family (both sides actually), traveling, getting sick, working my butt off (at the stuff that actually pays the bills). I finally started watching more movies on DVD here lately, reading more books that might actually make it into reviews here on the blog, and doing other stuff in my spare time besides playing Angry Birds (that game is the devil). For those of you new to the Tiki Bar since I last posted about a movie, I just give my own general thoughts on a movie I have seen recently, almost always on DVD since I won't go to the theater these days (too much money, too many annoying, rude people, can't stop the film to go to the bathroom, etc.)
Anyway, I might be the last person on the planet to see the top-grossing film of all time. My wife actually saw this one at her sister's house before we watched it together. I avoided James Cameron's blockbuster as long as I could for a couple reasons...and they actually will comprise everything I want to say about this movie.
First, everything I heard about the film made it sound completely derivative and predictable. Did this turn out to be true? Absolutely. I guess if I hadn't seen Dances With Wolves 20 years ago, I would not have known the difference, but...I did...practically everyone of movie-going age saw Dances With Wolves. Cameron basically lifted the storyline almost completely whole from that, set it in outerspace and slapped some fancy 3D computer graphics on it.
Second, I had heard the film was highly politically charged. True? Again, yes. Cameron's approach to politics is ham-handed and mean-spirited as evidenced by the movie and his reaction to others since (challenging people to debates, allowing them to spend thousands of their own money, then pulling out at the last possible minute). I do not watch movies to be proselytized in politics, but I am willing to abide it if the movie is good.
Bottom line for me: the special effects were great. The computer generated characters were among the best I've ever seen, but they still look computer generated. To be honest, Peter Jackson did better with The Lord of the Rings, especially Gollum. I cannot speak to the 3D because I haven't seen it in 3D, but I'll give Cameron the benefit of the doubt that it was groundbreaking. The acting was uniformly excellent; Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez, Sam Worthington and the rest were all well above average. The directing was excellent; I'll give James Cameron credit for being one of the best directors of this generation. The story was derivative. The script was insipid. Whatever else Cameron does well, he is not at this time a good writer. To clarify, he should not be writing his own stories or screenplays.
I could say more, but I found this great review by John Nolte on Big Hollywood that says just about everything I could wish to say about the subject.
And just for fun, I've included a link to this YouTube video that has more creativity with its script than Avatar does. Watch as Hitler reacts to the news that the movie's trailer sucks.
Have something to say on the subject? Please feel free to leave a comment below!