Wizard
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Wizard
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December 27th, 2009 at 10:05:59 AM permalink
Avatar is about a marine (Jake Sully) sent to the moon Pandora, which is occupied by an alien race (the Navi) who are very adept at living off the land. Comparisons to American Indians would be easy to make. The human base on Pandora is occupied by both scientists, interested in studying the natives, and soldiers, interested in displacing them to get at valuable mineral ore where they inconveniently decided to form a population base. The movie takes place in the year 2154 (you can tell from the video logs), by which time humans learned how to grow a Navi body, called an Avatar, but control it remotely like a puppet. Doing so allows them to adapt to the lower gravity and thinner air on Pandora, as well as be accepted by the natives.

Jake is apparently working with the scientists, but secretly reports to the military, who are growing impatient with diplomacy to get the Navi to relocate. They allow Jake 30 days to get to earn the trust of the Navi, in the hopes of working out a peace treaty. In the process of earning said trust, he falls in love with his Navi tutor. The make a long story short, his efforts to persuade the Navi to move fail, and he has to choose a side in the inevitable conflict.

The movie itself is very over the top, I'm sure deliberately so. Much like one of the Myst games, the animation is overwhelming. Maybe some would not categorize it as "animated," but I am. Whatever category The Polar Express falls in, you can add Avatar to it. The characters and dialogue are straight and to the point, like in a comic book. There are lots of plot points going on at once. Avatar covers a lot of ground in its 2 hours and 42 minutes, so it doesn't feel like a long movie. However, the themes are nothing new. Name any one of them, and it can be found in Dances with Wolves or Apocalypse Now. Judging by the average age in the line to get in, that shouldn't pose a problem to most of the audience.

I'm sure I would have enjoyed this movie more in my younger years. At my showing, the audience was very caught up in the final minutes of the movie, often openly cheering. When it ended, many applauded. My grade would probably have peaked at about age 15. However, on my 0 to 10 scale, this 44-year-old gives Avatar a 6. That reflects how much I liked it, not a prediction about how much anybody else might.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
odiousgambit
odiousgambit
Joined: Nov 9, 2009
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December 27th, 2009 at 11:37:28 AM permalink
Navi short for Navajo?

the special effects techniques used are supposed to be ground-breaking with use of a "virtual camera', the only reason I would consider seeing it. Is it worth it for that?
the next time Dame Fortune toys with your heart, your soul and your wallet, raise your glass and praise her thus: “Thanks for nothing, you cold-hearted, evil, damnable, nefarious, low-life, malicious monster from Hell!” She is, after all, stone deaf. ... Arnold Snyder
Wizard
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Wizard
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December 27th, 2009 at 3:11:43 PM permalink
No. A good story should be what carries any movie.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
pacomartin
pacomartin
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January 23rd, 2010 at 6:40:26 PM permalink
I was disappointed at the quality of the writing. I would rank it as the worst writing James Cameron has ever done. He seemed to have resorted to fairly simplistic characters compared to his other movies. Sigourney Weaver was the best one in the movie. The movie came off as preachy.
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Even "The Abyss" which was his least successful movie had overwhelmingly dramatic scenes where the characters are facing the possibility of drowning. But Terminator, Terminator II, Aliens, Titanic all had memorable scenes.
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I don't think the movie will get an acting nomination. Consider that King Kong was the pinnacle of technological achievement in 1939. But if you watch it today, it is still riveting, even though the technology is meaningless today.
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Supposedly he is planning two sequals. I hope he brings more drama or even humor to the sequals.
boymimbo
boymimbo
Joined: Nov 12, 2009
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January 23rd, 2010 at 11:14:04 PM permalink
I saw this movie last weekend. It's a 3-D marvel that is for sure and a technological breakthrough and for that I enjoyed it. And I thought that it carried a decent message for the audience that could appeal to the masses. No it won't win any acting oscars and I don't think that was Cameron's point. It probably won't win best picture either. The storyline was entertaining enough. The detail in the visuals are completely amazing. It is this generations "Star Wars".
----- You want the truth! You can't handle the truth!
Flash1296
Flash1296
Joined: Jan 24, 2010
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January 24th, 2010 at 8:00:47 AM permalink
The movie must be viewed ONLY in 3-D in an iMax theater.

The story is dumb and completely predictable.

It is like "Ferngully" on steroids.

It is a love story for adolescent girls set against a backdrop of exploitative colonialism.

The colors and so forth are excellent, but if you want a story to engage you or character development or real engaging dialogue or surprises, etc. you are nbarking uip the wrong tree.
pacomartin
pacomartin
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January 24th, 2010 at 5:33:10 PM permalink
The movie Avatar is headed for $2 billion worldwide, so it is interesting to see how it did compared to Titanic. Here is a look around the world as an interim report when Avatar and Titanic are both at 1.2 billion (foreign box office)
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-22% Most of Western Europe liked Titanic much better than Avatar
+67% Spain Portugal and Angola: Avatar was favored over Titanic
-20% Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay hated Avatar, rest of Latin America loved Avatar
+1910% Russia and Ukraine loved Avatar (may be due to more movie theaters in last 12 years)
+48% Eastern Europe went for Avatar
+85% Australia New Zealand and Fiji loved Avatar big time
-61% Japan hated Avatar (didn't see that one coming)
+120% China,South Korea and rest of Asia liked Avatar more
-25% Trinidad & Tobago Jamaica preferred Titanic
-31% South Africa preferred Titanic
-73% Egypt, Syria, Lebanon despised Avatar
-26% Israel preferred Titanic
130% United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait & rest of Gulf states decided they can go to movies without offending Allah

So a lot of the improvement is in areas with movie theaters that didn't have them 12 years ago. But many countries simply did not care for Avatar nearly as much as Titanic.

In the USA boxoffice sales were about half the population for Titanic. They are starting to creep over 1/4 of the population for Avatar.
Last edited by: pacomartin on Jan 31, 2010

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