Recently, the film world, critics and general viewers alike, has been aflame, raving with positive words for James Cameron's new epic "Avatar". There are some things I would like to point out as to why it does not deserve the 8 out of 10 it has been receiving.
Let me start by saying, I was entertained by the film. It was enjoyable to watch, but that was all it was, nothing deeper. Having said that, let me begin with the praise for the film. It was, undoubtedly, a masterpiece of film technology which was an absolute pleasure to behold. The world was intricate and intense - reminding viewers of older generations of the children's classic "Fern Gully" in some respects. The animals were creative and the native people were beautiful to behold, despite the fact it felt like they were merely alien mash-ups of pre-existing native peoples, but more on this later. The battle scenes were epic and kept you wanting to see more, and the sweeping shots made the 3D a very interesting experience, one which takes the first ten minutes of viewing to get used to. But don't get me wrong, 3D is the ONLY way to see this film on the big screen. I would also like to extend congratulations to relative unknowns Sam Worthington (Terminator Salvation) and Zoe Saldana (Star Trek) for their prowess at portraying their roles of Jake Sully and Neytiri respectively.
Now, the problems. As I mentioned earlier, the alien race of the Na'vi are merely a combination of blue skin and earthling natives. More specifically, they are seemingly racist stereotypes of Africans and Native Americans mixed with the fictional race of Night Elves from the online game World of Warcraft. I would also like to point out that aliens in films are always one of two things: either a) they vastly outdo Earthlings on the level of technology or b) are completely primitive. The fact that the Na'vi are the latter does not do much for the case of them not being racist stereotypes of existing native peoples.
Secondly, the story. Sure, it can be said that it is "an oldy but a goody", but that does not stop this film from being "Pocahantas" with Aliens. I suppose if it had been told in a way that wasn't completely the same as all the others, it would be great, but unfortunately, it's not. Also, when a film has to have a Deus Ex Machina as large as the one at "Avatar"s end, it does not show much for the screenplay.
Thirdly, the dialogue. Wow. I can't even express how bland, predictable and outdated the dialogue was, especially Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang) seemingly taken from one of Cameron's other films, "Aliens". When there is actually dialogue like this in a film:
Sully: It's over!
Quaritch: It's not over as long as I'm still breathing!
Sully: I was hoping you'd say that.
it's obvious there is a serious case of 80's going on.
Lastly, I'd like to say that, despite enjoyable and accurate acting by the whole cast - Sigourney Weaver still being a pleasure to have on screen with her delightfully disagreeable Dr. Grace Augustine - the characters were frighteningly two dimensional and predictable.
In my humble opinion, this film deserves a 7/10 at MOST, and maybe even a 6/10 because story and characters are so important as far as a film goes - a film should not have to blind you with graphics to distract from its predictability and lack of depth. Mahalo.