If you haven't seen Avatar, please stop reading. If you have seen it and loved it, stop reading. If you fit neither category, read at your own risk. Everyone made up their mind? Have you donned a flame retardant suit? Put on your tin foil hat?
Good, if all tray tables are in their upright positions and your seat belt is fastened, let's get this party started.
I love movies. I don't generally like to go to a theater and since the advent of video tapes, DVD's and Blu-ray's, I have been enjoying the bliss of watching, commenting and crunching as loudly on my own popcorn as I please in the comfort of my own home.
It takes a special "something" to get me out the door and into a movie seat. You all know what I mean. It's $20.00 for tickets, $20.00 plus on food and drink, gas getting there, an hour carefully planning and layering clothes in case the theater is either hot or cold, and a plethora of sprays and wipes to get a movie seat degermified.
Everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE I spoke to insisted I must, simply am required, to see Avatar in 3D IMAX goodness.
I acquiesced after the 20th person hounded me.
With my interest peaked, I convinced my partner in crime to buy tickets online for the 3D IMAX Avatar experience.
I had forgotten my 3D glasses in the car and had to use the theaters. Antibacterial wipes made them "ok" to use. I took a shower when I got home. Yes, I know the theater cleans them. I simply have a different level of cleanliness than the average under paid pimpled adolescent boy whose job is mind numbingly boring and sanitizing the glasses reminds him that he hasn't showered in a couple of days.
With a great deal of expectation I sat in a crowded theater on Monday afternoon for 3 hours of blue people.
Let me begin with the diatribe my poor partner has to listen to all the time. Whose godforsaken idea was it to make 3 hour movies? I will put up with the odd aberration. The Lord of the Rings trilogy for instance. I was fine with 3 hours. Every movie I go see now requires me to practice bladder exercises for a week before I can go to the theater, or else I can't get a drink for fear I might need to go potty during some director's idea of epic storytelling and miss an important clue to the nonsense scrolling before my eyeballs.
Let's move on, shall we?
James Cameron, the director and apparent creator of this monstrosity, has never been good at beginnings. He makes fabulous endings, but Terminator, The Abyss, Terminator 2, True Lies, Titanic (another 3 hours of torture) all had lackluster beginnings. He hasn't gotten any better and I spent the first 20 minutes trying to find the story threads so I could start enjoying the movie. Narration for minutes on end with cut scenes equals painful. I think this is when I started considering a nap.
Before you move on with your day, let me say this movie has FANTASTIC graphics. Phenomenal use of all the kinds of eye goggling goodness. The candy flashing before my eyes almost made up for the fact it was horrible.
Can I just ask this? Is there a writer in Hollywood doing anything original at all anymore?
About minute 30 or so I came to a realization. I had seen this movie before. I just couldn't place it.
About an hour in when I cuddling in my coat wondering why I wasn't at home on my couch, I remembered.
Avatar is a Cowboy and Indian story. Humans versus the Blue People (Na'vi even sounds Native American.)
Seen a John Ford picture? Yup, its a John Wayne movie people.
It's about an hour and a half in when I convinced myself I could sit there and make it to the end just to see if there would be some miraculous twist I wasn't expecting.
There wasn't one.
So to recap. Some studio paid James Cameron $300 million dollars to make a suped up Cowboy movie set in space. The writing was so bad about the time our main character was told he could't shoot the space mastodons with bullets due to their tough hides being impenetrable, I made a mental note to see how long it would take for them to be an integral part of the last battle scene.
And yes, it was a cowboy and indian movie, ergo, there had to be an epic battle.
We killed a main character, check twice. We had the bad humans versus the na'vi indigenous people, check. Environmental concerns hitting me over the head for 3 hours, check. Corporation bad, check. Lone cowboy saves the world and marries the beautiful Indian princess, check.
The epic battle scene at the end almost, almost made up for 2 hours and 45 minutes of torture. It was expected, and went according to plan. Like I said, James Cameron sucks at beginnings, but he makes up for it in his skill at endings. Action packed.
I honestly thought I couldn't be the only one suffering from a sense of deja vu, so I listened as humanity threaded itself out of the theater.
They loved it. Some couldn't wait to see it again.
I must be really jaded. I won't say I hated it. The graphics were fantastic.
I simply want surprises. I want originality. I don't want a moral story so blatantly obvious I am disgusted at the writers lack of skill within the first hour. I want to immerse myself in a movie and have my reality fog over in my brain.
Avatar never let me suspend my disbelief.
Instead I was making a grocery list and wondering if I could get my character to 30 in Lotro when I got home.
I am going to have to stop going to the movies. At least on a Blu-Ray I can fast forward through the boring stuff.
Oh, and my partner loved it. Of course, I ranted until we got to the restaurant for dinner. I vented almost as much as I did when I left Batman:Dark Knight disgusted at the 3 hours of bad editing resulting from Heath Legers tragic death being taken advantage of by a director hungry to make as much coin as he could by utilizing every spare scrap of B roll he'd taken of Heath Ledger during filming thus inducing a choppy almost unfathomable story so muddy I had to goggle it to figure it out.
At least the popcorn wasn't stale.