A quick question about Avatar

After months of having been nagged by a friend about how in the world have I not seen Avatar yet and oh god it’s so good, I finally went ahead and rented it. (My capsule review: I want my dollar and two and a half hours back - no, actually, I feel like I should be compensated for having sat through that plotless steaming heap of crap).

Regardless: So us evil white men are on Pandora to mine unobtanium (seriously, they weren’t even trying, were they?), because it’s a very useful metal for making mountains float or whatever the hell. And then they decided to create some sort of Navi-Human hybrid, because…well, why? I was under the impression that by the time they started making the avatars, the locals had made it clear that they didn’t want them there. So…why bother?

And yes, I’m painfully aware that I’m looking for internal logic in a plot which consists of “giant space cat people run around mostly naked and ride giant space dragons and also white people’s big corporations are mean.” (Did I mention how much I did not like this movie?)

It’s a pretty movie. That’s all it’s got going for it. And I think the Na’vi designs are crap even so.

Irrelevancies aside, the Avatar program was not a new thing. It was an ongoing project that the humans cooked up in order to deal with the Na’vi on equal, peaceable footing. It worked for a time, and Sigourney Weaver’s character had had a school open to teach the Navi English. By the time the movie started, that all had fallen apart and the Na’vi were hostile. I can’t recall exactly why they were, other than the humans threatened to encroach upon sacred land or something.

FWIW, there was a scientific/research contingent, that was trying to understand, communicate learn and educate themselves about Pandorian life and vice versa, it was good PR for the corporation, but the main reason was to attempt diplomacy. It was an ultimate failure, because the Na’vi didn’t want anything us humans offered. Plus it’s more convenient to explore a planet with bodies adapted to the environment. This, is what I gathered happened before the events of the film.

The film is a technological triumph in filmmaking, with a trite story, unfortunately.

I went to see this in the theatre in 3D long after it was new. I am frankly pretty easy to entertain when it comes to movies, and I found it a reasonably enjoyable couple of hours. But … as soon as I left the theatre I realized on reflection that it was pretty damn thin in a lot of places. They spent so long making it pretty and it seemed like the plot was a total afterthought.
I agree that the whole avatar program seemed kind of pointless, and the Navi school was just a convenient means to make all their characters speak English (why would the Navi, especially the warrior types like the guy Jake’s girlfriend was supposed to marry, want to learn English?). It also bothered me that they told us right off that a spinal injury was fixable - it’s hard to believe that the cost of that surgery would outweigh the cost of decades of GI benefits and the cost of training a new soldier. The way he tamed the giant dragon bugged me too - after it was drilled into us that it was impossible to ride, all he had to do was jump onto it.

I was pretty surprised when the Oscars came around and people were angry that it didn’t sweep every category. All it had going for it was looks - the plot was pretty shitty. I have also heard that people were plunged into deep depressions afterwards because they couldn’t live on Pandora, and that there are websites for people who know believe that their ‘true selves’ are Navi’s. I really can’t understand how this movie inspired that kind of following.

I’ve been trying to get up the effort to watch Avatar the whole way through, but i’m actually getting bored with it, if you set aside the flashy CGI, then where’s the plot?

I also find the “six legged mammals” and “deep-sea-space-invertebrates” a bit lacking in creativity, i mean you have “Space-Tube-Worms”, “Space-Jellyfish” and almost every lifeform on Pandora has symbiotic phosphorescent bacteria in them, it’s like they went down to the Marianas Trench (for ten minutes) and used deep-sea life for the inspiration for Pandoraforms

Perhaps I’d be a tad more forgiving of this lack of creativity if the Pandoraforms weren’t so overwhemingly over-the-top yet bland somehow…

…Oh look, it’s a horselike creature, but with six legs, oh look, monkeys with six arms, looks like Doctor Mephesto from South Park ships his rejects here…

They did. James Cameron is a big fan of exploring the deep sea.

Reasonable enough answer. I somehow missed that.

Exactly. I admit to approaching it with a bias - when was first released in theaters, it was only showing locally in 3-D, I can’t do 3-D movies, and so all the hype around a movie I couldn’t see kind of sucked. But people have kept telling me what an amazing movie it was, so I guess I had some expectation that it would be an interesting movie, not just a visually interesting movie when seen in a 3-d projection in the theater.

I think that had Cameron set out to do a visually stunning short, it would’ve been great - even in 2D, the visuals were impressive…at first. Ooh, look, pretty glowy things and ten-foot-tall aliens and for some reason everything is bioluminescent, but hey, it’s pretty. And then there was some story which didn’t stand on it’s own very well at all, but was an excuse to show us more glowy plants and jellyfish/seedpods/things. And now here’s an hour-long training montage, featuring…ten-foot-tall aliens and even more glowy plants! And by that point, with no compelling story about the glowy plants or space cats, it’s just trying to be three hours of “look at the shiny! We made it with computers! Isn’t that neat?!” And, well, sure, well done guys, but you haven’t given me three hours worth of reason to care. Ten minutes? Sure, absolutely, because you can get away with “look at the shiny” for ten minutes. It’s like if 90% of Titanic had been the ship actually breaking apart and sinking - vaguely interesting to the eyes, but not a compelling story in and of itself.

ETA: just to clarify, it’s not that I dislike 3-D movies; I have a vision condition which prevented me from ever developing proper stereoscopic vision, so I literally am incapable of seeing the 3-Dness.

Yes, all the lifeforms were roll eye worthy when you instantly realize every creature happens to be an earth-like counterpart.

It’s also obvious to me that Cameron’s obsession and experience with deep sea life is what inspired the world of Pandora. He basically brought the peculiarities of deep sea creatures to land life.

Plus, after all that, the intelligent beings happen to look very humanoid. sigh Cameron should know better.

Although, I heard there might be an over-arching explanation to account for most of these issues that may appear in future sequels. It’s only rumors at this point, but i’ll spoiler it anyway:

That the next film might explore some Pandora sea life. And also, the life on Pandora and the life on earth may have a common “designer”, in a Panspermia sort of way. Hence a lot of similarities, but also interesting differences due to habitat and the course of evolution.

Imho, it’s crap in 2D. Too bad you didn’t watch it in 3D.

If it helps, try to imagine that the Navi are live-action smurfs.

Oh, he does. He intentionally made the Na’vi “sexy” in order to draw audiences.

Ignore the plot. Extra-extra-ignore any notions you have of a “message”. Wait for the movie to return to the theater this fall in 3D IMAX (or just IMAX if you are allergic to 3D) with a few extra minutes of footage. Imagine you are Jake, diving off waterfalls and flying dragons. Enjoy. Rinse. Repeat.

Heh. Supposedly Avatar will focus on the water creatures of Pandora lol.

I just saw it last night and thought it was one of the most creative and original movies I have ever seen.

I didn’t post in the last Avatar thread, afraid of threadshitting but since you brought it up NC, yes it was trite crap. It was dumbed down to the point of being insulting. They threw every fucking movie clique in there they could think of. Honestly I half expected the last line of the movie to be “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”. Drek!

No it wasn’t. Beyond some creative computer graphics it was a steaming pile.

The 3D effects SUCKED. The plot wasn’t good enough to suck. The actors were forced at suckpoint to read a script devoid of any challenge beyond the task of signing their checks.

I invite Cameron to go back to driving a truck, on a frozen lake, during Summer.

You’re too young or too old to have watched the Smurfs, aren’t you.

Or Ferngully, or Dances With Wolves

I generally liked it, but was rolling my eyes almost from the start. When Jake was threatened by the Wolf-things, and the Navi Chick makes her first appearance, I couldn’t help but (verrry softly) yell “Save him, Pocahontas!”

Huh? That’s what I meant by “technological”. The CGI was state of the art, almost mind-boggling. A triumph that currently has no equal. The story was trite, predictable, and watered down for the masses.

I work in VFX, yet was much more engaged in the movie Splice… No where near the amount of VFX as in Avatar (although what was there was well done), but a much more interesting and original story (albeit with a few flaws).

And it wasn’t even in 3D.

I can’t believe that anyone really demands originality of this level. What’s wrong with having ideas similar to previous movies? There’s barely a single movie made per year that can realistically be claimed to have been based on a unique idea. Why does this one get all the shit for it?