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Avatar post-release discussion - Printable Version

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- Nooj - 12-17-2009

Thanks for the heads-up about Beaks' review. Good stuff.


- kriegaffe - 12-17-2009

Having had the day to think about it, I'm really agreeing a lot with beaks:

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/43400

"There is honestly not a surprising beat in the entire battle; everything unfolds as it would in a bargain, made-for-SyFy movie. Thankfully, Cameron summons all of his crowd-pleasing powers and, at times, overpowers the decibel-shattering sameness by sheer dint of his considerable talent. And that's the one heartening takeaway from AVATAR: Cameron can still pin an audience to their seat and give them a spectacular night out at the movies; even on his worst day (and I do feel AVATAR is his weakest effort to date by a significant margin), he can plop them down in a fantastic world populated with fantastic creatures, and make them never want to leave."

This sums it up for me. I had a good time, the spectacle is there and the action is done well. It's just so plain and predictable over the long 2.5 hrs.


- diaglo - 12-17-2009

So he's basically saying "I didn't like it, but it's a good movie."


- Nooj - 12-17-2009

Naw. He enjoyed what was an OK movie that was competently made.


- clarence beaks - 12-17-2009

Came in to praise Devin's review, but thanks, Kriegaffe!

Devin's 100% right with his KING KONG remark. Dazzling technique, but unless you want to dig into the (unintentional, I'm sure) anti-American sentiment, there's nothing much to discuss.


- the rain dog - 12-17-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by Clarence Beaks
View Post
Came in to praise Devin's review, but thanks, Kriegaffe!

Devin's 100% right with his KING KONG remark. Dazzling technique, but unless you want to dig into the (unintentional, I'm sure) anti-American sentiment, there's nothing much to discuss.

We miss you.

Top review too sir.


- subotai - 12-17-2009

I like how Mr. Beaks' objective review of Avatar has somehow brought his film-assessing abilities under suspicion by the hordes over at AICN. Gimme a break. The man put Ali and Miami Vice on his top 100 list - 'nuff said.


- Nooj - 12-17-2009

Which is why he should come back here!


- chet ripley - 12-17-2009

Yes Beaks, please come back to Chud. I thought your review was excellent and brought up a bunch of good points. Do you ever actually read through any of the talkbacks on your articles/reviews at AICN? It must be pretty frustrating to put up with some of the idiotic comments posted.


- clarence beaks - 12-17-2009

Aw, you guys are the best. Can't wait to check out your reactions. Wonder if IMAX will make any difference.


- the rain dog - 12-17-2009

Well it looks like I'll be the only 2D viewer of this round these parts so I'm happy to represent that demographic for y'all.


- nexus-7 - 12-17-2009

I'm more with Nick than Devin on this one, but yeah, I dug it lots. Just watched it in 3D and Devin is spot on. GREAT use of depth. The first shot of the marines getting out of the cryo chambers had me sold, and everything after that is aces. Very very well done 3D.

Other than the lame song in the end credits, and the same clunky dialogue I was expecting, I have no major complaints. Even "mechsuit with knife!" didn't bother the shit out of me anymore.

Jake Sully is a total dick for leaving behind his pterodactyl thing(trading in for a better one). They'd bonded!


- kriegaffe - 12-17-2009

I liked the mech suit with a knife. I know Cameron is a bit of an anime fan and this reminded me of Evangellion. It makes sense if you are out in Pandora with the very large animals which have skin resistant to gunfire.


- stelios - 12-17-2009

Now for my bit. First a disclaimer. Due to theaters mostly sucking here, this was the first time I watched a proper digital projection and a 3D one at that. So I guess the wow factor was more pronounced for me than for someone already familiar with this stuff.

On to the movie, then. I fall right between Nick's and Devin's opinions in this. Was this a 'game changer'? No, unless you're talking about the business side of cinema as a spectacle. Enticing people out pf their homes with huge resolutions, booming sound and 3D. In terms of movies as art, as a storytelling medium? Definitely not. Was it photorealistic? No, unless you're talking about the environments. The various animals were the biggest offenders in this, looking plastic at times rather than organic. Is it a masterpiece, either of the genre or in Cameron's career? No and no, Terminator is still safely Cameron's best film. Did it work as a pulpy action movie, though? Yes, and with flying colors. Cameron still knows how to set up and direct the shit out of an action scene. Plus, the visuals, especially the environments, were at times admittedly quite immersive and lovely.

Shame about the story and script, though. It would really benefit from a pass from some more subtle hands. It's the kind of movie I'd write when I was fourteen having first learned about Wounded Knee. Way too broad. At one point Quaritch calls Sully a traitor to his race. What race? Except for the small team of humans we're supposed to like everyone else is human in name and appearance only. Would some nuance be really that bad? Still it did it's job of setting up the action and it wasn't dumb. Just broad and simple.

Overall, I say it's about an 8-8,5 out of 10 but trending downwards as the impression of the presentation fades. I'll probably check it out again and see how it holds up.


- james - 12-17-2009

I fall right in line with Beaks review on this. It's a very well made but thoroughly mediocre film. I don't think that Cameron was invested in anything else as much as he was the effects and imagery.

I'd gladly return to Pandora, but it needs a better film around it.


- jim barg - 12-17-2009

I need to decompress to give it more detail, but in short: presentation was fantastic, story was pulpy fun and yes, I'd see it again.

(Oh, and I met my first Chewer today. Blunt = great guy.)


- weasels rip my flesh - 12-17-2009

I went in with high hopes, but still held onto my reservations, Cameron has made 3 of my favourite pieces of blockbuster entertainment and I even found enough to love in True Lies and Titanic to make them not feel like wasted ventures, but it's been a long time since Cameron was King of the World, so I didn't know what to expect...

I admired the hell out of the craft gone into it, the design work was stunning, and the cg was breathtaking but I was utterly uninvolved for the entirety of the movie. I didn't connect with a single character on even the most base level (something I know Cameron is capable of thanks to The Terminator and Aliens) and so every emotional beat the movie tried to hit, missed by a wide margin, and as a result the action that followed left me cold.

It looked stunning but at the same time I never once felt dazzled or involved by what was on screen. Just talking scifi blockbusters as a comparison, the first ten minutes of Star Trek left me dazzled, and felt involved in the action for the rest of the movie, and District 9 had me emotionally invested in the action. That's all down to character, something Avatar lacked.

I barely even registered the 3D, the big selling point. I thought Up had better 3D than this. I could have easily just watched this in 2D and saved myself some considerable pocket change.


- slop101 - 12-17-2009

So Devin liked 2012 AND GI Joe better than Avatar?


- matches_malone - 12-17-2009

So this movie is going to be the "Batman Begins" of 2009 on these boards. Fan-fucking-tastic.


- james - 12-17-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by slop101
View Post
So Devin liked 2012 AND GI Joe better than Avatar?

Please lets not have another derail because of this. Wow you mean Devin liked different films that set out with vastly different agendas compared to Avatar? Lets not start endless discussions on what a reviewer should like, it's already dragging Beaks' review down cos the AICN crowd seemingly can't handle a negative review.


- ocallaghan - 12-17-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by stelios
View Post
Shame about the story and script, though.

That's all that really needs to be said about this film. From a purely spectacle point of view this film is literally breath taking; the nocturnal stuff on Pandaroa with the phosphorescent fauna was just amazing, some of the most beautiful stuff I have ever seen on film, but fuck me if the movie itself isn't boarderline offensive in it's crapness. I was so insulted by the opening twenty minutes or so that it tainted some of the Wow Factor for me as it started to amp up.


The whole thing is so painfully predictable, as soon as mention was made of how deeply the Na'Vi respected the hot chicks great grandfather or whatever for riding the Bad Ass Red Flying Thing, you knew what was coming. Boo.
I think I'm genuinely over the phases of my life where I get excited by Epic Third Act Battles as well; not a fault of the film as the conclusion is pretty amazing, I just think I've gotten old and over it.
I blame Lord of the Rings for that.

Agreed with the reviews that single out Zoe Saldana as the best thing in the movie. The film crackles with actual energy and vibrancy when she is on screen. Camerons 100% successful in creating a species you would bone if you had the chance.
Screening I went to had about five people in it.
For what it's worth, the friend I went with who has excellent taste in movies loved it. He didn't give a shit about the crappy plot (he agreed it was retarded) and just tuned out for the eye candy. If you can do that you are sorted; wasn't able to, personally.


- Nooj - 12-17-2009

Now, is the plot actually crappy/retarded? Or is it simply tired/derivative? It's hard to tell what people mean when they talk about plot.


- james - 12-17-2009

It's tired/derivative.


- mike dexter - 12-17-2009

I thought the brief scenes of Zoe Saldana explaining the history of pandora and training Jake was much more interesting than any of the scenes with Quartich.

Every character was literally one dimensional... but with no comedy or satire. It was really bizarre. In an attempt to make sense- there was no Billy Zane in Titanic in this movie or Paul Reiser from Aliens. The characters had little charm- I guess you'd say.

It was a weird movie.


- ocallaghan - 12-17-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by mcnooj82
View Post
Now, is the plot actually crappy/retarded? Or is it simply tired/derivative? It's hard to tell what people mean when they talk about plot.

Well, it's tired/derivative which in my mind=crapp/retarded.
If you tell people it's Dances with Wolves IN SPACE, you are essentially sorted.


- ocallaghan - 12-17-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike Dexter
View Post
In an attempt to make sense- there was no Billy Zane in Titanic in this movie or Paul Reiser from Aliens. The characters had little charm- I guess you'd say.

It was a weird movie.

Devin mentions there being no Hudsonesque character to liven things up a little and that's spot on. Sorely missed.
Sigourney Weaver still is smoking hot though. 60 years old and I'd still hit it.


- Nooj - 12-17-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by OCallaghan
View Post
Well, it's tired/derivative which in my mind=crapp/retarded. Hope that helps!

It does, actually. Classical/conventional/cliched/derivative storytelling still works for me when it's done with some flair/competence. Thanks.


- weasels rip my flesh - 12-17-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by mcnooj82
View Post
It does, actually. Classical/conventional/cliched/derivative storytelling still works for me when it's done with some flair/competence. Thanks.

I personally did not find the storytelling to be all that impressive, it mostly thuds along until the obligatory conflict finally reers it's ugly head and the movie actually begins to gain some momentum. The presentation is the epitome of flair, however.


- devincf - 12-17-2009

I really felt like Cameron didn't care about a lot of the story. Like when Netyiri finds out that Jake was sent to infiltrate them - it's just played out so obviously, quickly and flatly that it felt like he was hitting an obligatory beat as opposed to really giving a shit about this part of the story. Like he knew he needed to get Jake into a position where he really had to prove something to the Na'vi and couldn't be shitted to come up with another scenario.


- slop101 - 12-18-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by James
View Post
Please lets not have another derail because of this. Wow you mean Devin liked different films that set out with vastly different agendas compared to Avatar? Lets not start endless discussions on what a reviewer should like, it's already dragging Beaks' review down cos the AICN crowd seemingly can't handle a negative review.

Well then if it's a variable scale, specific to each movie and it's agenda, it's misleading and arbitrary and they should do away with a numerical scale altogether and let the written word stand on it's own.


- Nooj - 12-18-2009

If you know how to read reviews and treat number/star ratings as the arbitrary silliness they really are, then you should have no problem ignoring it. Sometimes, I won't want to read the review till I actually see the movie, but the number is still a helpful gauge if I want to know what a critic generally thought of a film beforehand.


- james - 12-18-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by devincf
View Post
I really felt like Cameron didn't care about a lot of the story. Like when Netyiri finds out that Jake was sent to infiltrate them - it's just played out so obviously, quickly and flatly that it felt like he was hitting an obligatory beat as opposed to really giving a shit about this part of the story. Like he knew he needed to get Jake into a position where he really had to prove something to the Na'vi and couldn't be shitted to come up with another scenario.

This is what I was explaining to a friend of mine. It seems like Cameron told the simplest story possible precisely because he wouldn't have to worry about it and could instead just focus on everything else. It essentially writes itself, and it's a lot quicker to write a script when you know exactly where it's going.


- ocallaghan - 12-18-2009

There were at times I was thinking I would have rather seen a Faux Documentary about Pandora's ecology instead of what we were watching. The story is so flat and predictable you are really just going through the motions until the inevitable Big Biffo at the end, which ends exactly the way you think it's going to.
Repeated home viewing will likely kill this films reputation.


- Nooj - 12-18-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by OCallaghan
View Post
There were at times I was thinking I would have rather seen a Faux Documentary about Pandora's ecology instead of what we were watching.

They actually had one online narrated by Signorney Weaver. Did you see it? Hahaha. I don't know if I have the link anywhere.


- ocallaghan - 12-18-2009

Quote:

Originally Posted by mcnooj82
View Post
They actually had one online narrated by Signorney Weaver. Did you see it? Hahaha. I don't know if I have the link anywhere.

Wow- didn't see that.Awesome.
Devin is spot on when he writes it doesn't seem like Cameron really gave a shit about the story; it seems more like a burden to him than anything else. I can't help but think if he thought he could get away with it, we would have just had a two hour Imax doco instead of this.