You’ve already heard and will continue to hear plenty of ridiculous praise for James Cameron’s Avatar from people willing to overlook it’s glaring flaws in the name of perceived technological advancement or, whatever it is that makes us so willing to hump Cameron’s leg. And sure you can be a sheep, follow the crowd, shut off your brain and hold hands with the person next to you while you Smurf up the box office, buy a ticket, and join the Cameron cult. Or, you could think for yourself and find something better to do. Maybe spend money on a movie that deserves your dollar. I hear this Up in the Air thing is really, really good.
Unless you’re a slave to hype, Avatar may not deserve your time. If you’re already brainwashed then click over here to have your positive outlook affirmed. Otherwise, weigh these options before buying in. You might want to skip Avatar if…
…You’ve Ever Read Something Good
It’s one thing when Roland Emmerich scribbles “blow up everything” on a page and then makes an entire movie out of it, but normally we expect better from Cameron. This is the guy who wrote Terminator 2 and True Lies. But the script for Avatar feels like it was written using blue crayolas, with underdeveloped hero characters and cartoonishly stupid villains. The movie opens with one of those awful, unbearable scenes that every badly written movie has, in which characters inexplicably sit around and explain the plot of the film as if they themselves don’t know what’s been going on in their own lives. It’s downhill from there as characters resort to video blogging, as a desperate plea to for sympathy or resonance, or maybe just to find some semblance of common sense. It’s like watching a movie written on Twitter. We already have one Roland Emmerich, don’t encourage James Cameron to become his long lost, bigger budgeted, CGI-addicted twin brother.
…You’d Like To See Your Popcorn
Avatar is the pinnacle of 3D technology which is to say, it looks like all of the other 3D movies you’ve already seen recently, except slightly better. So if like me, you’re getting a little tired of being forced to wear horn-rimmed spectacles assembled by Paraguayan child laborers every time you want to see a movie, then there’s no better time to send a message to Hollywood than right now: Enough with the gimmicky 3D. Sometimes 2D is just fine. If Avatar makes a billion at the box office, then you can bet your blue ass that from now on nearly every movie in every theater which can handle it, will be in 3D. And you thought The Final Destination was bad. Buy a ticket for Avatar and say goodbye to the days when you could look down and actually see your Junior Mints without having to squint through a polarized haze and say hello to Old Dogs 3D.
… You’re Not A Pot-Smoking, Prius-Driving, Tie-dye Wearing Hippy
It’s one thing when Michael Moore or Al Gore does it, at least then you know what you’re in for when you swipe your debit card. But heavy-handed, bullshit environmentalist propaganda really has no place in a big spectacle movie like this one, especially not one this poorly written. And I’m not just talking about the more general be nice to the planet and get some excercise notions put forward by movies like WALL-E. Avatar isn’t asking you to pick up your trash or take care of the world around you, instead it turns tree-hugging into a religion and presents hanging out in the woods listening to the wind while barefoot as the pinnacle of civilization, as if we’re all stupider for owning wireless routers. Well I’m not about to give up my George Foreman Grill just so I can stab a jackrabbit with a stick, apologize, and then hang it over an open fire. You can pry my plasma television from my cold, dead, hands James Cameron. I need it so I can watch your other movies, the good ones, where robots blow things up, aliens eat Sigourney Weaver’s friends from the inside out, and Arnold Schwarzenegger rides a horse up an elevator just because he knows it’ll be awesome.
…You Have Ears
… You’ve Seen Any Of The Following
The best thing about Avatar is that even if you don’t see it, you have. It’s a borrowed storyline, done a hundred times over in a hundred different films. Some of them were even released this year. When you hear your friends talking about the story, you’ll be able to participate in the conversation. Just regurgitate the plot of any one of these movies and replace the name of the lead character with “Jake Sully”: Battle For Terra (pictured above), Delgo, Braveheart, Quigley Down Under, Dances With Wolves, the Battle for Endor sequence in Return of the Jedi, Ferngully: The Last Rainforest, Pocahantas. See? You’re covered. Why pay good money to see a movie you’ve already seen? Stay home and when your friends ask if you’ve seen it, say yes, then mutter something about how awesome it was when the Ewoks smashed that Imperial walker with giant logs. They’ll never notice. Yub yub.