James Cameron's AVATAR

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Comments

  • WinfreyWinfrey waddafuh Missouri
    edited January 2010
    ""Our whole consumer culture right now is facinated with low-quality crap.""

    Kind of a blanket statement, no? You know the saying, "one man's garbage is another man's treasure." Who gets to decide what quality goods are? A bunch of stuffed shirt critics? A bunch of self important actors who claim to be "in search of the human condition?" How about James Lipton? He seems like a cool cat, he is an acting professor, surely he is the most qualified.

    Here lies the problem, its all subjective, and you know what, I think its refreshing when the critics and the masses agree every now and then. Lets face it, critics are critics because they crave validation that their opinion should be more valued than everyone else's. Often a critic will resist convention just to maintain the facade that they are somehow more enlightened to what makes great art than the average consumer.

    Return of the King, was that garbage because a load of people saw it not that long ago? How about Dan Brown Novels, or Stephen King, or JK Rowling, is it all garbage because the masses find appeal in it?

    Is a Phish fan more artistically sophisticated than a Green Day fan, I'm just wondering....

    Saying that any 3D special effects extravaganza would have done just as well is dismissive to the cinematic accomplishments of AVATAR.

    I read all of that with Andy Rooney's voice. It had a nice overall effect.
  • edited January 2010
    Winfrey wrote:
    I read all of that with Andy Rooney's voice. It had a nice overall effect.

    I want his job. A few minutes to bitch every week on a national platform, honestly, who has a better gig than Andy Rooney?
  • WinfreyWinfrey waddafuh Missouri
    edited January 2010
    You've got first dibs in my book :bigggrin:
  • GrimnocGrimnoc Marion, IN
    edited January 2010
    Saying that any 3D special effects extravaganza would have done just as well is dismissive to the cinematic accomplishments of AVATAR.

    Unless the cinematic accomplishments of Avatar are purely found in it's 3D effects, which is what CB, myself, and most people who didn't think Avatar was all that great are saying. We're not denying that the film is technically great. But, as CB said, take away that and what are you left with?
  • GrimnocGrimnoc Marion, IN
    edited January 2010
    UPSLynx wrote:
    I still don't get it - do you guys not understand what I said, why 'adjusting for inflation', despite being simple economics, is a moot point in regards to cinema? It is not a reliable benchmark for many different reasons, and it is foolish to say that its box office worth is decreased because of inflatation and past releases. Did my comment go completely ignored?

    No one is saying that Avatar has not done phenomonally well financially. But, if we are talking purely money (and if the numbers from that website are correct) than Avatar hasn't made more money than any other movie. That's all. That's the point. It's not about Avatar being "worth" more or less, that's for a different argument.

    And adjusted for inflation is not moot for cinema just as it's not moot for anything else. There's no such thing as it being moot as long as it exists. It affects all industries equally across the board.

    Just as paying for a car now "costs" such-and-such more than paying for a car then doesn't mean that cars somehow are more expensive today, it simply means the money supply has inflated. So, to find the true cost of cars in the various years of their producation you must "adjust for inflation." It's simply a matter of finding the real cost of things. Once again, this holds true for Avatar as well as every movie ever made.
  • BobbyDigiBobbyDigi ? R U #Hats ! TX
    edited January 2010
    Grimnoc wrote:
    Unless the cinematic accomplishments of Avatar are purely found in it's 3D effects, which is what CB, myself, and most people who didn't think Avatar was all that great are saying. We're not denying that the film is technically great. But, as CB said, take away that and what are you left with?

    You are still left with a movie that some people didn't like and some people did.

    -Bobby
  • chrisWhitechrisWhite Littleton, CO
    edited January 2010
    Okay, we're going in circles and no one's going to change their mind here. Lynx and I think it's amazing, Prime loved it, some of you guys have a lot of valid criticisms, what more is to say?
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX
    edited January 2010
    That everyone who disagrees with me isn't actually expressing an opinion. They are, in fact, simply wrong.
  • edited January 2010
    I think saying Avatar got where it is solely based on it's special effects is wildly off-base. There have been plenty of movies that had nothing to offer buy shiny FX without a decent story or acting, sure some of them did well at the box office (Phantom Menace comes to mind here) but that's not usually enough to both drive ticket sales and get rave reviews from the critics. Sure, there's always a handful of critics that are idiots, but you don't get an 82% on Rotten Tomatoes unless there's something more than pretty CGI there to back it up. Just because you didn't like the movie, be it because you went in with a bunch of preconceptions about it being preachy or you just didn't get into the story, doesn't mean it's a bad movie. It means you didn't like it. You're entitled to not like a movie, but we're also entitled to point out that all evidence available suggests your opinion is in the minority, and a pretty small one at that. Like it or not, whether or not a movie is considered "good" is largely dependent on how it is received by it's audience and the vast majority of people who have watched Avatar have liked it... in some cases they have liked it far too much.
  • chrisWhitechrisWhite Littleton, CO
    edited January 2010
    Thrax wrote:
    That everyone who disagrees with me isn't actually expressing an opinion. They are, in fact, simply wrong.

    I think that's common knowledge whenever we see your name on a post.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX
    edited January 2010
    I just wanted to clarify. ;)
  • edited January 2010
    This thread makes me not care that I have not seen this movie.
  • BandrikBandrik Elkhart, IN
    edited January 2010
    A few comments I wanted to throw out since I've been quiet this whole time. I'm definitely on the "holy crap I loved it" side of things. Having said that, I can see why the characters are criticized as being rather simplistic and predictable. You're shown a man that has no use of his legs being given the accidental chance of running again in a more-or-less improved version of the human body. Most people can pretty much expect right off the bat that Jake's character is going to end up enjoying his Avatar body over his limited human one. You know who else became addicted/dependent on a similar thing? The disabled man in the "Real Adventures of Johnny Quest" who wanted their virtual reality "Quest-World" for himself, as he could walk, run, move, and talk again while his real-life human body was a mere husk for his mind to inhabit.

    Point is, it's no surprise that the characters moved through the story as they did. And honestly, that really isn't all that important. Even though the characters themselves are a bit simplistic, there were more characters than just the "actors" on stage. I argue that the entire groups of people were made out to be characters as well. The struggle between the human colony and the native Na'vi took on a characterization of its own that became much more complex than what Jake did by himself. This is the part of the story that really sucked me in.

    I love a story that has two sides that are fighting, and each has a very understandable reason for their cause. It makes a moral dilemma that isn't exactly black-and-white, paladins against a great evil. I was able to gain empathy for both the humans and the Na'vi. To me, the biggest tragedy of the entire movie wasn't the deaths of certain characters. It was the fact that a diplomatic solution couldn't be found, and both sides refused to back down. THAT was the main essence of the drama to me. Not the struggles of individual characters, but the overall conflict between two large groups. Yes, it became rather evident that the Na'vi had the moral high ground, but if I understand the human's reasoning correctly, the Unobtanium was valuable BECAUSE of its use as an energy source that could bring the salvation of a decimated mankind that had exhausted Earth's resources. It may paint humanity as greed-stricken and destructive, but still fighting for survival.

    Another point is about the graphics and effects. While they were indeed total eye candy and very exhilarating to take it all in, I honestly think the movie could have still held together if we used yesteryear's technology. I could have looked past well-made character costumes and chroma-keyed "greenscreen" technology with CGI or footage shot in the Amazon and still enjoyed the movie immensely. I would still witness a great struggle between two rivaling groups, and the struggle of a man falling in love with the race he was sent to infiltrate. Breaking the uncanny valley was a great trip, but not fully necessary to convey the same level of storytelling.

    Oh and yes, monetary revenues and level of movie quality are not necessarily directly correlated. Nor is it a good prediction of the amount of enjoyment I as an individual, with my own sets of preferences I want to get out of any genre of movie, will receive from watching said movie. For example, I really enjoyed Final Fantasy: the Spirits Within - however for all its groundbreaking all-CGI technology, it was financially a monumental failure, the likes that almost wiped out Squaresoft. I saw it opening night, and expecting to have to fight to get good seats, I was one of only ten or so that showed up.

    This pretty much sums up my thoughts on everything. Hopefully it'll give something for you to chew on.
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI
    edited January 2010
    You should see it like I did, Mas0n: go in with a "meh" attitude and come out with a "wow, that was really good" smile.
  • edited January 2010
    Grimnoc wrote:
    Unless the cinematic accomplishments of Avatar are purely found in it's 3D effects, which is what CB, myself, and most people who didn't think Avatar was all that great are saying. We're not denying that the film is technically great. But, as CB said, take away that and what are you left with?

    "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts"

    You can't say, oh, take the CGI away and all your would have is.....

    Thats like saying, lets remove the violence from the Good Bad and the Ugly and see whats left, oh, lets take Tom Hanks not quite "full retard" performance out of Forest Gump, see how it fares, take the surprise ending out of the Usual Suspects and see what remains.

    The bottom line is this, when you add everything up that makes Avatar what it is, its amazing.
  • edited January 2010
    "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts"

    You can't say, oh, take the CGI away and all your would have is.....

    Thats like saying, lets remove the violence from the Good Bad and the Ugly and see whats left, oh, lets take Tom Hanks not quite "full retard" performance out of Forest Gump, see how it fares, take the surprise ending out of the Usual Suspects and see what remains.

    The bottom line is this, when you add everything up that makes Avatar what it is, its amazing.

    The difference between your examples and the CGI of Avatar is that your examples are actual foundational elements of the storyline or characterization, while the CGI is simply a portion of the story's presentation.
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI
    edited January 2010
    What a crappy argument, Grimnoc. I expect better from you.

    You seem to be operating under the assumption that a movie is a stage play adapted for screen, and that anything else that makes it a modern motion picture is simply "tacked on" for gimmicks' sake.

    You could make the argument all day. "CLASH OF THE TITANS WOULD BE DUMB IF THE KRAKEN WAS MADE OF A SOCK PUPPET". I mean really? Would Star Wars be Star Wars if the lightsabers were metal swords?

    A movie is the sum of its parts. It is a different form of art than a novel, a stage play, or a Kabuki Theater piece. The CGI of Avatar is not "what makes everyone like the movie"... It is simply another aspect of the combined pieces that go into making a movie.
  • CBCB Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Der Millionendorf-
    edited January 2010
    It is simply another aspect of the combined pieces that go into making a movie.

    Except that in this case it's the only part that makes the movie worth seeing. It must be, since everything else about it is so crumby.
  • edited January 2010
    CB wrote:
    Except that in this case it's the only part that makes the movie worth seeing. It must be, since everything else about it is so crumby.

    I respectfully disagree. I cared about Jake, I cared about the world, I cared about the Navi. The battle at the end, though predictable, had weight. Its like Luke Skywalker going down the trench of the Death Star, you knew he was going to get the job done the first time you saw it, but if you did not feel some aspect of joy and relief when the Falcon pops in the frame, well, theres no hope for ya. I don't want to get too specific about Avatar because of the spoiler potential for the half dozen people on planet earth that are yet to see it, but I had that similar child like feeling, a sort of out of body experience that I had the first time I saw Star Wars.

    The audience I saw AVATAR with applauded at the end, and it was not simply for the effects or technical accomplishment, they were taken to another world full of imagination and possibility. Its predictable, sure, I say, so what? The characterizations are nothing particularly innovative, sure, once again, so what? Though, let me make one point that I do enjoy the characterization of Navi women being highly respected and completely bad-ass.

    CB, what makes a good film in your eyes? Let me guess, you have a DVD rack full of period pieces. Somewhere between your copy of the The Pride and the Prejudice and Much Ado about Nothing is your prized copy of Shakespeare in Love?

    Please excuse the rest of us if we prefer entertainment to boredom.
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm Madison, WI
    edited January 2010
    CB's dry wit was lost on you, Cliff. It's hard to pick up, though.
  • edited January 2010
    Snarkasm wrote:
    CB's dry wit was lost on you, Cliff. It's hard to pick up, though.

    So, were essentially saying CB is funny, by not being funny? ;D
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm Madison, WI
    edited January 2010
    I chuckled when I read it this morning, at least. :)
  • BuddyJBuddyJ Dept. of Propaganda OKC
    edited January 2010
    We're
  • kryystkryyst Ontario, Canada
    edited January 2010
    Still haven't seen it still don't care, though this thread is amusing.

    My wife saw it she said it was cool and worth seeing. Personally I don't care for the special effects, which isn't to say I don't find them impressive, I just don't care. The main thing that has killed interest in this movie for me can be narrowed down to one word "unobtanium".

    I have nothing more to contribute on this fact. I hear about the battle for unobtanium and my brain shuts off it can't process beyond that point.
  • DogSoldierDogSoldier The heart of radical Amish country..
    edited January 2010
    Avatar is basically a sci-fi update of 1987's The Mission - with Sam Worthington playing the part of Robert De Niro - The Mission is a far better film in my opinion. It's both intellectually stimulating and personally moving. Like Avatar, it's also beautiful to watch (Oscar, best cinematography). The score by Ennio Morricone was also Oscar worthy.
  • BobbyDigiBobbyDigi ? R U #Hats ! TX
    edited January 2010
    weir

    -Bobby
  • GrimnocGrimnoc Marion, IN
    edited January 2010
    A movie is the sum of its parts. It is a different form of art than a novel, a stage play, or a Kabuki Theater piece. The CGI of Avatar is not "what makes everyone like the movie"... It is simply another aspect of the combined pieces that go into making a movie.

    Okay, look. I seem to be the guy who has been mischaracterized as hating Avatar. Let me make it clear, I do not hate Avatar. I saw it opening weekend and drum roll please...................I basically enjoyed it. As you and Cliff pointed out a movie can indeed be more "than the sum of its parts." This is partially why I was able to enjoy it.

    However, a movies' "parts" do matter, greatly. One can enjoy something while at the same time criticize a specific part of it as being mediocre or bad. With Avatar I can enjoy the watching of it (which I did), while believing parts of it were not well done. Truly great movies can have certain aspects removed from them and still retain their greatness if other things are well done. For instance, yes, you could remove the violence from "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" (aside: Once Upon in the West, For a Few Dollars More, and Fistful of Dollars are all better) and still be left with a very good film. This is because you still have other aspects which are great; the characters, dialogue, and fairly new cinematographic techniques for the time.

    I don't believe Avatar holds water in the areas outside of the purely technical aspects. Seriously, think of new things that it does or areas in which it is better than other similar films (outside of the VFX and the newly developed technologies that go with them). There are none. If I'm missing any go ahead and name them, but I seriously doubt that anyone can. Or, let me rephrase it so I don't sound like a jerk. Think of areas in Avatar that could potentially be better. I bet you can think of a few, and this is what I'm trying to convey. When I say mediocre I don't mean it sucks, it's just that it could be better. And I just so happen to believe that there are many areas Avatar could improve, and when comparing certain aspects of Avatar with other films (dialogue v. dialogue, etc.), Avatar more often than not loses.

    I also understand that picking a film apart based on it's "parts" while ignoring it's "whole" can be going a tad overboard. But, this is no more overboard then claiming that weak parts of the film don't matter because it succeeds as a "whole." They do matter, and they matter precisely because if they are made better the film becomes an even stronger "whole." Arguing otherwise is absurd.

    Avatar would lose nothing by having better writing. It would lose nothing by having better characterization. It would lose nothing by having a setting which utilizes the strength of science fiction. The only time it loses is when it does not strive for more in it's "parts."
  • GrimnocGrimnoc Marion, IN
    edited January 2010
    CB, what makes a good film in your eyes? Let me guess, you have a DVD rack full of period pieces. Somewhere between your copy of the The Pride and the Prejudice and Much Ado about Nothing is your prized copy of Shakespeare in Love?

    Please excuse the rest of us if we prefer entertainment to boredom.

    And this is the point, regardless of how you or I feel about Avatar or Pride and Prejudice the latter has better writing. In comparison, Avatar is the ramblings of a retarded child, while Pride and Prejudice bespeakes an actual writer.

    I'm not saying Avatar needs to have the level of writing that Pride and Prejudice attains, but refusing to acknowlege ones' vast superiority and anothers' lack is what bakes my noodle.

    *Avatar has much better fight scenes. See there? I'm grading them based on what they deserve. It's easy.

    **Cliff, I'm joking around with bolding Pride and Prejudice. Please don't kill me. :)
  • BandrikBandrik Elkhart, IN
    edited January 2010
    Grimnoc wrote:
    In comparison, Avatar is the ramblings of a retarded child, while Pride and Prejudice bespeakes an actual writer.

    See, this is where I disagree on a fundamental level. I agree that Avatar has rather simplistic writing when it comes to the story itself. But instead of scorning this, I actually welcome it. I really don't think I would have enjoyed Avatar further if it had an extremely complex story filled with mystery, unexpected turning points, and intricately laid surprise betrayals. Far from it, I feel that these would have hampered the sense of storytelling.

    From my designer's standpoint, simplicity can often leave a rather powerful impact. In contrast, a very busy and chaotic design is often ineffective and just leaves the viewer feeling lost. There's also the phrase "KISS", or "Keep it Simple, Stupid".

    Point is, keeping Avatar's story simple and straightforward was something that really makes it have a solid and to-the-point angle, using (admittedly breathtaking) visuals to help direct the story as much as character dialog.

    And that's why I liked it.
  • edited January 2010
    Grimnoc wrote:
    And this is the point, regardless of how you or I feel about Avatar or Pride and Prejudice the latter has better writing. In comparison, Avatar is the ramblings of a retarded child, while Pride and Prejudice bespeakes an actual writer.

    I'm not saying Avatar needs to have the level of writing that Pride and Prejudice attains, but refusing to acknowlege ones' vast superiority and anothers' lack is what bakes my noodle.

    *Avatar has much better fight scenes. See there? I'm grading them based on what they deserve. It's easy.

    **Cliff, I'm joking around with bolding Pride and Prejudice. Please don't kill me. :)

    :bigggrin:, I just love to argue
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