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Avatar post-release discussion - Printable Version

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- phil - 12-19-2009

I'm not sure how much more time I'm going to invest in this movie, so if this has been covered in the previous seven pages, please forgive me.

I dug the hell out of the 3D. It was pleasing and compelling. And I had a massive headache for 6 hours afterward which may or may not have been a result of it.

The digital world completely worked for me; I stopped "staring at effects" early on and was just watching a movie. I wonder, though, if that helps or hurts a film that took this long and cost this much to make. Should the time and effort and money it required to make that world all go into background that's so real it becomes invisible? Probably not, if the story has nothing new to offer. And holy shit did this story not have much in that department (except for that cool USB ponytail thing). The film was most engaging when it gave you a 100% alien world to stare at; as a result my favorite part was when the movie turned into a 70s stoner teen's blacklight poster. But when the "ooh, pretty" novelty faded, what was left is a pretty shopworn story. I think even that would have gotten a pass if Cameron's dialogue didn't suck big blue tail. And that voiceover was patchy as hell.

I think some of the geek excitement for the movie is nostalgia-based, with folks getting jazzed watching Cameron dick around with Space Marines again.

I can't say I disliked it, as it's 100% what I thought I'd be getting (I called it "expectation porn" earlier today); I was pleased that 12 years off of movies didn't make Cameron's style feel particularly stale.


- captain mal - 12-19-2009

I feel like Cameron's weakness of dialogue is being a bit over-stated. No, he's never been Mamet, but his characters speak with unique voices (which is more than can be said for a lot of screenwriters), and he's got an undeniable flair with the rousing, corny one-liners (personal favorite from this movie: "You're not the only one with a gun, bitch."Wink He won't be winning any screenwriting awards any time soon, but his dialogue gets the job done without ever approaching, say, Lucasian dreadfulness.


- devincf - 12-19-2009

That's a terrible line you've quoted there.


- phil - 12-19-2009

Number of laughs in Avatar predicated on the word "bitch": Two. This movie is twice as quippy as Aliens!

Quote:

his dialogue gets the job done without ever approaching, say, Lucasian dreadfulness

And I'm a better dancer than someone with spina bifida.


- jake - 12-19-2009

Saying "bitch" = unique!


- thunderbird - 12-19-2009

I think what Captain Mal was trying to say is that each character had their own style even if they did fit into some form of a cliche role. He even admits that the lines are corny. But only that one character would have said that particular corny line.


- captain mal - 12-19-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by devincf
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That's a terrible line you've quoted there.

Of course it is! So is "Hasta la vista, baby." But these lines clearly aren't meant to be taken with a straight face -- they're fun.


- thunderbird - 12-19-2009

I kept thinking how interesting it would be if Neyteri (the Na'vi played by Zoe) had faced Jake as a human and seen how he was physically handicapped. While she does see his true being at the end, I'm not sure if she still really understood how Jake's Avatar allowed him to "be free" in the sense of being able to walk again.


- duke fleed - 12-19-2009

Avatar...F. Horrible film, even worse than...The Abyss. Stephen Lang is the only interesting character. Keep it!


- captain mal - 12-19-2009

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Originally Posted by Jake
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Saying "bitch" = unique!

Was about to mount a verbose clarification of my point, but I see Thunderbird did it succinctly for me.


- captain mal - 12-19-2009

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Originally Posted by Phil
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And I'm a better dancer than someone with spina bifida.

Cute, but disingenuous.


- phil - 12-19-2009

You're defending Cameron's dialogue by holding it up against Lucas'. Come on.


- captain mal - 12-19-2009

I'm not "defending" it so much as encouraging us to keep things in perspective. By your own hyperbolic example, Cameron isn't on the same level as someone like Lucas. So if Cameron is terrible, how do we classify a writer like Lucas? Super-duper-extra-very terrible? Cameron's writing is serviceable (and sometimes fun) is all I'm saying.


No Gays or Transgenders in Avatar?! THIS IS AN OUTRAGE!! - tonyrockyhorror - 12-19-2009

Dallas LGBT blog wants you to protest Avatar.

Stop Avatar Movie blog site are attempting to rally the LGBT community and allies to protest the Friday opening of James Cameron’s Avatar.

Quote:

On Friday, December 18, 2009 thousands of people will be protesting the release of the James Cameron movie, Avatar. The purpose of the protest is as follows:

1) To make all people aware that heterosexual arrogance, assumptions or exclusions of alternative sexualities in movies is no longer acceptable. Diversity and tolerance are human rights.

2) To speak out for all gay, bi-sexual, genderless and transgender people who are not represented by any character in Avatar.

3) To educate people about Evolution and humanity’s transition to transgenderism.

All protests will be peaceful and non-confrontational. Suggested methods of protest:

Stand outside of theaters with signs and pamphlets to express your views

Sit down in theater lobbies and do not move unless the police use force or violence upon you

Stand up during a viewing of Avatar and remain standing

Buy tickets to Avatar in bulk but do not attend showings. An empty theater sends a message

Bring your mate to the theater and show affection to each other.
Reminder: SILENCE = DEATH.

We will be silent no more.

Retarded. Buy $1000 in tickets. That'll show 'em...


- matches_malone - 12-19-2009

Wait a second. They're protesting the fact that there are no gay, lesbian, genderless(?), transexual characters in the film?

They should be overjoyed.


- phil - 12-19-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by Captain Mal
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I'm not "defending" it so much as encouraging us to keep things in perspective. By your own hyperbolic example, Cameron isn't on the same level as someone like Lucas. So if Cameron is terrible, how do we classify a writer like Lucas? Super-duper-extra-very terrible? Cameron's writing is serviceable (and sometimes fun) is all I'm saying.

His writing is trite when it needn't be. Holding it up next to Lucas doesn't make it less so. This isn't a conversation about Lucas.

The well-traveled story beats of Avatar would have been less of a stumbling block if the film had less "corny" (not a positive from where I'm sitting) dialogue.

"Hasta la vista baby" made me cringe in 1991 and it's not exactly aging into something sublime.

And I'm not crying to the heavens about his dialogue; it's what I expected. It's just a bit of a drag that all this amazing effects work and world-building was in service of a "serviceable" script. I don't know how that can be argued in earnest.


- yeroc7890 - 12-19-2009

What, are they going to protest the ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS movie next week, too? Not to derail the thread or anything, but these people must be awfully fucking busy with protests.


- tonyrockyhorror - 12-19-2009

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Originally Posted by Yeroc7890
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What, are they going to protest the ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS movie next week, too? Not to derail the thread or anything, but these people must be awfully fucking busy with protests.

Seriously. It's a lost cause.

We need to rally together and protest Natalie Portman movies that don't have lesbian sex scenes (an even bigger atrocity)

edit: Also, as far as Chipmunks 2 goes. I always got a lesbo vibe from Chippette's Jeanette.


- moltisanti - 12-19-2009

Michelle Rodriguez was in the print I saw.


- policar - 12-19-2009

Damn it, that blog isn't serious; it's mean-spirited satire written no doubt by some "family values" asshole. Its two driving concepts: American culture is so deeply and safely "heteronormative" that gay/lesbian groups will protest anything, no matter how innocuous or how tangentially sexuality-related; we can't "evolve" toward transgender norms because evolution more-or-less requires males/females for sexual reproduction.

It's amazing that the discussion re: this movie has actually gotten stupider; wow.


- syd - 12-19-2009

When the noble alien chief showed up, all I could think of were these guys:




- warren peace - 12-19-2009

Something that is great about the movie: It pisses off Right Wing assholes. Anything that does that can't be all bad.

The other thing that's great: There's a trailer for Pirana 3 on this (at least in my theater). That it's on a James Cameron film is fantastic.


- phil - 12-19-2009

It's kind of lame that Beaks' Avatar review is already off AICN's front page.


- rando - 12-19-2009

This is not a good movie. It's cliche-story tropes in 3D. It would've been a 10 out of 10 if at any point Jake plugged his ponytail into an amp and played some guitar.

It's also about 45 minutes too long. The end.


- mercury318 - 12-19-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by Matches_Malone
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Wait a second. They're protesting the fact that there are no gay, lesbian, genderless(?), transexual characters in the film?

They should be overjoyed.

I dunno, maybe it is the lezzie in me putting subtext where it need not be but I gave Weaver's character a rich queer life all from the "I'm with her" line. I choose to believe she is referring to her Na'vi lover and not the giant tree goddess....

As for the movie? I liked it. An old story but I almost think such a tired story and predictable dialogue were necessary. Visually it was very different and new and strange and close to that ol' Valley and that story was like a nice warm cup of cocoa to his strange as hell biscotti.

I liken Cameron's storytelling to Noh theater...it isn't about the story it is about the execution. Yes that's my cheap pseudo intellectual get out of jail card but I'm using it because I really enjoyed the movie.


- kriegaffe - 12-19-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rando
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This is not a good movie. It's cliche-story tropes in 3D. It would've been a 10 out of 10 if at any point Jake plugged his ponytail into an amp and played some guitar.

I just had this mental image of Jake plugging his hair into an amp and playing "God gave rock and roll to you" over the final scene and credits.


- dynamotv - 12-19-2009

So what happens if you plug your usb cord into your mate's while having sex? Missed opportunity there James. Also, this movie might be one of those films where a longer cut would've felt shorter. It would bum me out if there's nothing on earth in the eventual extended cut.


- harleyquinn22 - 12-19-2009

In 3D IMAX, this is a visual knockout. The story didn't engage me, though, and the final fight felt like a weird mashup between the Ewok fight from Jedi and the Gungan fight from Phantom Menace.


- count floyd - 12-19-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mercury318
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As for the movie? I liked it. An old story but I almost think such a tired story and predictable dialogue were necessary. Visually it was very different and new and strange and close to that ol' Valley and that story was like a nice warm cup of cocoa to his strange as hell biscotti.

I liken Cameron's storytelling to Noh theater...it isn't about the story it is about the execution. Yes that's my cheap pseudo intellectual get out of jail card but I'm using it because I really enjoyed the movie.

Not picking on you (er, specifically ) because this has been mentioned by others too but I don't really get this. I don't need Cameron to re-define what we talk about when we talk about structure but there are ways of making a traditional story at least feel fresh (mostly through dialogue) and it's not here at all. And, I mean, there's not one tiny new wrinkle in the plot. Not even a brief feint before hitting the usual story beat.

I don't harbor the movie any ill will but it was really on the verge of losing me completely before the admittedly stunning (in 3D) finale.


- dynamotv - 12-19-2009

I just gotta express love for the Industrial Size Bowie Knife that all mechs seem to have in the movie. I guess it makes sense if you run out of bullets or something.


- mercury318 - 12-19-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by Count Floyd
View Post
Not picking on you (er, specifically ) because this has been mentioned by others too but I don't really get this. I don't need Cameron to re-define what we talk about when we talk about structure but there are ways of making a traditional story at least feel fresh (mostly through dialogue) and it's not here at all. And, I mean, there's not one tiny new wrinkle in the plot. Not even a brief feint before hitting the usual story beat.

I don't harbor the movie any ill will but it was really on the verge of losing me completely before the admittedly stunning (in 3D) finale.

You aren't picking on me. Unlike all those Twitter folks I'm not so passionate for or against the film that I'll cry or despise you.

My initial response in this thread was all over the map, what with references to Noh theater and the like, but I do feel that the triteness of the story was necessary in a lot of way. Film goers can be smart and they can be forgiving but if you get too crazy and too out there they won't go with you. They need to be grounded. Smurf Thundercat babies are really out there. Flying jellyfish and piranha hyenas are strange and this movie is all about them. This is the Mos Eisley Cantina for over an hour. Staring at the scenery in awe can only carry you so far. You need something to ground your audience.

And this story is familiar. We've been watching it in awful Ed Zwick films for twenty years. It's perfect for grounding the audience. Could it have been better? Yes. I would have loved to see the deaths towards the end of the film carry more weight. I would have loved to see her realization that her big bad warrior lover is a tiny cripple. It didn't happen and that's why the film ISN'T perfect, but it IS a lot of fun. And no one can argue that the technical execution isn't nearly flawless and that the acting isn't pretty fantastic, and that the pacing isn't just about perfect.

So back to Noh. That's the way I see it. It isn't about finding something new, it's about seeing old hat being done nearly perfectly. It's different from Noh in that those plays are usually pretty good on their own merit.


- rando - 12-19-2009

One query: how come Rodriguez wasn't in any trouble for her abandoning of the bombing of the Hometree or whatever it was called? Seemed odd.


- neoolong - 12-19-2009

Yeah, I noticed that too. Maybe she faked a malfunction to cover why she left.


- moonbasenick - 12-19-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by devincf
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Here's the making of: they stood in front of a green screen and acted. Nerds sat in front of computers for three years and coded. The end.

After talking to a friend of mine that has worked on it, yeah, that's about right.

I love the film, it's been awhile since I was "wowed" in a film. Hell, the Lord of the Rings films are the last that have given me that feeling :-)


- khaunshar - 12-19-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by MoonBaseNick
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After talking to a friend of mine that has worked on it, yeah, that's about right.

I love the film, it's been awhile since I was "wowed" in a film. Hell, the Lord of the Rings films are the last that have given me that feeling :-)

Well, if movies like Avatar, 300 and Revenge of the Sith are coming out of that process, and the actors are able to bring good performances under these circumstances, I dont see much wrong with it.

There will always be the Ridley Scotts, who take the big, epic, practical approach and deliver 2D badass movies. But its about diversity, and Avatar, 300 and other almost entirely greenscreen movies are nothing if not stunningly made, visually interesting and ... well, cool.

Dont get the hate for greenscreens. Movies dont get better because they put more pot plants in their set pieces.