Saturday, January 2, 2010


47 words about Avatar:

Worse than the bestiality,
pagan idolatry,
the subtext that a marine would not only sell out his country but his species,
and its dreadful script,
’s greatest sin is dullness.
Man, is this flick
Sure, effects are great, but after 10 minutes that grew stale, too.

A few more words on Avatard:

The flick is so many different kinds of stupid that when you start to pick apart one specific area of retardation, another begins unraveling, and then another and so on until the whole thing falls apart.

I’m absolutely willing to accept a goofy “white man’s burden”-type adventure, but lordy, was Avatar pretentious—as well as condescending and insulting to my intelligence.

And I can’t believe people are wetting themselves so much over the effects.
They just looked like more of the same to me.
It's a cartoon, people!

James Cameron yelling at technicians is nothing compared to
The Mighty Frankenheimer destroying multiple locomotives and cameras for his incredible The Train (1964).

Avatar may be an epic, but more akin to Liz Taylor’s Cleopatra, not Lawrence of Arabia.

We caught a showing a few nights ago (on December 30)—the last theatrical movie screened for The National Film Board of Ivanlandia in 2009—and while there’s nothing bad per se, the film is so repetitious that it becomes preachy and unimpressive.

This movie did not need to be almost three hours long. It could’ve ended much earlier, like at the 90-minute mark.
That would have been a relief!

Basically, the flick peaked too early for me—almost instantly we’re in uber-cartoon-land,
there was no real build-up,
and then the flick works frantically (jeez, would that camera stay put for once?!?) to constantly recreate that “sense of wonder.”

It’s too damn eager—it’s all spew and no foreplay.
(Which sounds about right for a super-macho, overachieving Alpha-male, A-type personality with an almost fetishistic “mom” complex like James Cameron.)

And the flick really could’ve used a ghostwriter of quality, like Robert Towne, to polish it up, to make it less bogus “noble savage” bullshit, and a little more gritty.

Fuck that “white guilt” shit—this is a dopey flick!

As The Missus pointed out, if the flick had ended at that moment when Traitor Marine’s connection to his cartoon cat-monkey body is cut,
right after the Big Tree has been blown up,
then the movie would’ve been great—
and all the treehugger nonsense from the Apache Smurfs would have been much more tolerable:
They lost, so they’ve got a right to be self-righteous.
The flick would’ve had more of a 1970s vibe then, too, like Little Big Man or Soldier Blue.

[Aside: this “ending early” would’ve also fixed Spielberg’s ultimately craptastic Minor Report (2002)—that is, concluding when Tommy Cruiser is placed into cryofreeze, instead of dragging on for another 20~25 minutes:
Had the flick stopped there, with an admittedly bummer ending, it would have been so much better, so much more “Phil Dickian.”
Oh well.]

Getting back to Avatard:
And why wasn’t a tactical form of nuke used on the Big Tree?
We have them already, so why aren’t they using them in the future?
Then they could’ve fried the monkey-cat-smurfs all at the same time.
And we never really saw the inside of the Big Tree, did we?

And if the Big Tree/World Brain/Earth Mama nonsense wasn’t some cheap third-act “deus ex machina,”
I’d ask why didn’t the Big Tree/World Brain/Earth Mama stop the mining company when it first showed up on the planet?
Did Pandora-Gaia not recognize what those big earthmovers were doing?

And there’s a bunch of engineering issues that crop up from living and working in a poisonous atmosphere—and even though we see humans wearing gas masks, often their arms are bare—aren’t they worried about the parasites and smaller insectoids that must be on the planet?
Industrial work crews in jungle environments, like oil-rig builders in Nigeria or Venezuela, routinely have to deal with malaria and/or other tropical diseases, and heavy delays can result from employee sickness. But obviously the corporation’s medtechs in Avatar have solved the vaccine problem….

This is what happens, you pick at one strand, like you would with a cheap rug, and then another and another strand show up.
And soon, you have a pile of threads on your floor.

Look, I hated Titanic, so I was the moron for thinking that James Cameron would’ve returned to a stripped-down, coherent and/or unsentimental way of filmmaking.

And everyone who loves Frank Herbert’s Dune series or Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series is going to love this flick—even though one of its many confusing, contradictory and often hypocritical messages is that the blue Afghanis are going to kick The US War Machine’s ass.
Does Rupert Murdoch, who owns the News Corporation which owns 20th Century Fox, which released Avatar, know this?
More importantly, if the money’s rolling in, will he even care?
Is this the penultimate example of the capitalist selling the rope that will be used to hang him?
We will broadcast enemy propaganda as long as it makes us money?

(So, if you’re counting, Avatar does rip-off/pay tribute to quite a bit of Old School sci-fi: in addition to smatterings of Herbert and McCaffrey, there’s a mega-dose of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars series—is that why all the animals have multliple legs?—
as well as humongoid tip of the blue hat to Poul Anderson’s “Call Me Joe.”)

In conclusion, The National Film Board of Ivanlandia does not recommend seeing Avatar, and except for the ability to now have an opinion on a contemporary cultural issue, regrets seeing the flick in the theater for real money.

Avatar did not show me anything that Werner Herzog going down the Amazon hasn't already shown me--and much, much better.

So, the really important question:
How many chicks at the next sci-fi or comic convention are gonna get all nekkid and blue?

Or at least wear a lot of blue?

Or at least some blue clothing?


  1. "Is this the penultimate example..."
    Ouch, get a dictionary!

  2. To "Anonymous":

    Although 'penultimate' can work fine in the sentence, implying a future 'ulitmate' example, my main question is, "Do you surf around the internet analyzing grammatical details rather than content on blogs?" ANSWER ME, IDIOT!

  3. another great one Ivan!

    i can tell you honestly the main reason i'm in no hurry to see Avatar hinges on the fact that the blue people look like smurf/ snork love other words dumb.

    "apache smurfs" is a pretty apt description too. sad to say 90% of James Cammeron's movies leave me cold and this one looked totally skippable. maybe i'm missing something but chances are I'm not.

  4. Wiec?:
    You won't be missing anything if you wait to see Avatard on DVD, or never.
    Cameron's work only seems to be good when he has strong collaborators on the writing and producing end, like Gale Anne Hurd with Terminator, and Walter Hill & David Giler on Aliens.
    All his other stuff is really dopey junk.

  5. Content review: I hated avatar and the writing was better and more organized than this blog post I just read. Do you do drafts first? If not, you need to. If so, damn, there is no hope. This post was everything you hated about that movie. The imagery was useless, it was nauseatingly repetitive, it was preachy, did not end soon enough, and plain stinks.