Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Avatarred and Feathered

Took the family to see the megablockbuster hit, “Avatar,” the other day.

Here’s my capsule review:

Visually stunning, kinda preachy, but with a message I can more or less get behind, but in the end, I think the film embodies the very values it sets out to critique.

While it purports to send the message that cultural imperialism in the name of monetary profit is bad, isn’t the very essence of a James Cameron film the full-on promulgation of corporate entertainment values to the destruction of anything else?

Where was the nuance, people? The real humanity? It’s ironically amusing, as I’m sure many critics have pointed out, that the main characters are simulations; Cameron’s conception of the inner lives of human beings (and their non-human analogues) goes about as deep as a digital representation of the real thing; the only actor that I thought showed any real life was the guy who played the boss of the earthling operation; and even he was a kind of cardboard cutout of the evil chief executive, right down to his golf-putting during office hours.

But maybe this is all because I didn’t see it in 3-D.

Prior to this cinematic event, the most recent film I’d seen in a theater was “The Fantastic Mr. Fox.” Strange how the stop-motion animals in that movie had more depth of emotion than anyone in “Avatar,” isn’t it?

I have no doubt, of course, that Cameron’s film will win the Oscar for best picture; and it certainly deserves high praise for its production values and the way in which it represents a technological leap forward in film-making. But then, “Tron” was pretty cool in its day, too.

By my perspective on this, I’m once again, I realize, illustrating what an old fogey I’ve become; probably somebody wrote a similar review about “The Jazz Singer” when that, the first “talkie,” came out.

Sound, though, made films more like life; “Avatar,” by contrast, does the opposite.


Blogger Kat Reinhart said...

You didn't see it in 3D?? That's worse than not seeing it at all. Because now you have to go back and see it again, before it leaves theaters, IN 3D. I can't imagine being impressed with the special effects or storyline if it weren't for the (admittedly gimmicky) 3D.

6:26 PM  

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