A while ago, my film, Avatar, previewed in front of a committee of people called “The Internet” and the general consensus was negative, which forced me to pre-apoloize for Avatar on this website (chud.com). You can read that here (â†there). Or you could just read this simple summation:
“Fuckin, Duh, bitches! I’m Sam Strange! I directed Avatar! Sorry it looks like a cartoon. Let me tell you why it cost so much money! You might like it more if you know how many of my balls are one the line with this one! Snootch-to-the-Bootch! Show me the Money!!! Blah Blah Blah…
That was a long time ago. By now, I’ve grown accustomed to the fact that Avatar will be a financial disaster. It has to be. Even if it is the highest grossing film of the year, it can’t even come close to covering the two-billion dollars and twenty-two lives the film cost, can it? For that shit, this flick needs Oprah, and Oprah and I have a troubled sexual history (I wrote a pie-graph on cracked.com about her weird labia).
But in our darkest despair a funny thing happened. People like the movie. After growing a vantage point where I do not give a shit, this positive energy throws me for a loop. I have no way to react except to say: “What the fuck is wrong with you!?”
It’s impossible for me to reconcile Internet hatred for a movie where vampires glitter in sunlight and play softball with Internet adoration for a movie where blue cat people glitter in moonlight and plug their hair into natural USB ports. I know I should defend the movie since I made it, but I can’t. It’s a piece of shit. That happens sometimes; you’re talking to the guy who made Kuffs, after all. But while I can plainly see the crappy film for what it is, many people seem to be freaking out over its greatness. A year from now, that’s retroactively going to retard you.
I just watched the film for the first time earlier today (watching movies is for professional editors and amateur rubes, so I didn’t get around to it until just now), and feel it’s my duty to tell you why it’s stupid. My investors might get pissed, but most of them already hung themselves so who gives a shit?
Like many movies, Avatar is a retelling of how awesome white people are. The blue people are pretty cool, but they do not reach their full potential until a white dude pretends to be one, kind of like how rap music didn’t really show its full potential until it was elevated by Vanilla Ice. Applying that metaphor to this film, Sam Waterson plays Vanilla Ice, Sigourney Weaver plays Rick Rubin, and Eminem plays himself.
When we first meet Sam Waterson, he’s pretty down on his luck. First off, his smart brother just died. Second, years of playing video games have left his cheeto-legs withered and useless to the point where he must wheel himself around in a chair with wheels. Is it motorized? No! This is the future, not a Radio Shack. The army shows up to offer him hundreds of dollars to pretend that twin DNA equals equal DNA.
They knock him out cold for five years, which he spends in a space coffin filled with floaty 3-D sweat, dead skin cells, discarded hairs, and wet dream consequence. When the trip is finally over, evil humans make fun of him: “Five years of space travel have atrophied your limbs, so you may have trouble walking. ‘Cept fer you, sit-n-spin! HAHAHA!”
Sit-n-spin rolls off the space-n-ship into a thoroughfare filled with CRAZY SHIT EVERYWHERE!!! There are a lot of these robot bodies for people called “mechs” which I ripped off from Alien 2, plus lots of bulldozers and SUV’s and Carl’s Jr. wrappers and framed photos of George W. Bush for him to wheel through.
Waterson eventually finds his way to a military briefing led by this film’s main bad guy, Gargamel, played with gusto by an ambitious group of steroids. He tries to scare off the new arrivals: “This place dangerous, faggots. They got injuns here can’t be killed with alcohol. Nope, they 10-foot tall cats. They’s hard to kill onnacounta their nine lives! Got arrows, too! Poison’uns!” Wow. Poison arrows? Better watch out while walking around in those machine-gun outfitted metal shells, Marines.
Soon, we begin to see how human occupation of this planet works. Space marines are there to blow shit up when the time comes, but there are also hippie scientists trying to make nice with the natives. Both factions serve a greedy corporation, led by Paul Reiser, whose ultimate goal is to mine the planet’s rich plotonium deposits.
Look, I realize these lines are pretty broadly drawn. The problem is that good writing costs money. We have this down to a science, now. Every dimension of pathos a character exhibits will cost you $25 million in ticket sales. Normally, you try to spend this on one or two 3-D characters, with everyone else in the film getting the 1-D treatment: naggy wives, jealous little brothers, evil lawyers, strict judges, noble teachers, etc. But now we’re spending Dimension money on images, too. As a result, your 3-D characters have to be knocked down to 2-D if you want to make money. But because this movie is 3-D out the ass, I had to go 1-D across the board. Sorry. Economically, the more visually complex the characters, the more their souls look like crayon smiley faces.
Anyway, Sam Waterson’s character serves as a rare bridge between the hippie and military camps, kind of like Johnny Cash. He’s there to be a science geek, but his heart will always be Semper Fine. Gargamel offers him real legs in exchange for any info that can help along genocide. Waterson’s like “I’ll agree to anything you say, sir, because your eye-balls hurt my face.”
At this point, we’re about two hours into this flick, so I guess it’s about time to introduce the Avatars. See, the science geeks have been growing native bodies, somehow (don’t worry about it). There’s one per geek, and they make you look like Teenage Mutant Ninja Llama versions of yourself (this is especially unsettling with Sigourney Weaver’s weird-ass avatar face). You sort of plug into one and control it with your mind. Instead of really explaining this, I just piggyback audiences’ cultural knowledge of The Matrix, The Lawnmower Man, and video games in general. Once hooked in, your job is to play basketball and pick flowers. But because Waterson is a marine at heart, his initial reaction is to break orders and do whatever the fuck he wants.
So he runs through the forest and almost gets killed by a lot of space-bears and space-lions and space-dogs and space-monkeys. BTW, if you ever want to make an Avatar animal, here’s what you do: 1. Take an Earth animal. 2. Shave it. 3. Cover it in black-light reactive paint. 4. Apply pressure and heat to the bone structure until it flows plastically like a metamorphic rock. 5. Reshape it so everything is longer and skinnier and sharper. Viola! You’re so creative!
While trying to stay alive, Waterson attracts the attention of a hot native princess named Stands With A Fist. Immediately she wants to kill him, but holds back when the forest communicates his importance by covering him with Forest Spirit / Soot Sprites. (If you rip-off a filmmaker no one watches, is it really a crime?)
Here’s where the film gets really stupid. Instead of killing him, she takes him home to chief daddy, Kicking Bird, played by a digital composite of Graham Greene, Gary Farmer, and Wes Studi. He’s pretty mad she brought home a Gamer but changes his tune when Waterson describes himself as a Warrior. Apparently, these cat people are VERY dumb. They don’t want to work with the nice nerds trying to help them but will totally teach their secrets to an openly militant man. Look, if pandas don’t want to fuck anymore, that’s their business. Maybe these cat people just weren’t meant to be.
At hour #3, we finally enter Act #2. Waterson goes through cat-training and –holy shit! — ends up a better cat person than the actual cat people. They have these space-birds; to get one you have to beat the shit out of it and rape it with your hair. That’s all well and good, but preying on these birds are space-eagles and they are fucking badass, so badass that whoever can hair-rape one gets to be King Shit of Space-cat Mountain (actually a tree). So whose got 2 thumbs and tames one so easily that it’s not even worth showing? Vanilla-fuckin-Ice, Baby!
At this point, Waterson’s about done with this human body, which is in a pod somewhere pooping and peeing itself. If you could run around like Michael Jordan by day, how eagerly would YOU return to your Wayne Knight nightshifts? Gargamel figures this out and starts killing the shit out of cats ahead of schedule. He knows that if his ace in the hole has turned into a rouge in the hole, that could be really bad for his hole.
Here’s where the film gets really stupid. The white folk blow up the huge cat-tree while the retarded fucking cats fight back by shooting metal helicopters with arrows. Kicking Bird gets killed. Stands With A Fist is Stands With A Pissed, and the clans main warrior, Wind In His Hair wants to kill Sam Waterson.
Instead of exploring this emotional rift, I just had my dude show up with his badass space-eagle and shut their mouths. Now as their leader, he hatches a really awesome plan. See, this is a big planet, yet we’ve only seen like 100 Avatar people. Waterson thinks he can convince the other 300 or so Avatar people on Pandora to band together and kick some white ass. Woo-Hoo! Guess what!? STILL they only fight with arrows and all get killed.
Here’s where the film gets really stupid. With shit-loads of dead cats all over the place, the planet finally decides to get off its ass and rid itself of white people. Basically, while the stupid cats bleed to death, all the other animals gang up and kill the white dudes. They literally pack up their shit and go home. Thanks, Pandora! (I think Pandora’s animals let all the cats die because they were sick and fucking tired of getting killed and then “thanked” for their sacrifice. Running down an animal and killing it for food is not a “thank you” kind of deal. They should be saying “I’m sorry.” If I were offering myself to you I wouldn’t run away, would I?)
Here’s where the film gets really stupid. Waterson is such a hero that the planet decides to give him his Avatar body permanently. Thus, his choice between new legs or a soul never really had anything on the line at all. Somehow, everyone who wants to be an Avatar simply needs to beg some stupid Hot Topic Weeping Willow called the Tree of Life, or the Tree of Spirits, or maybe it’s called the Spirit Tree of Living or some stupid shit. Enya named it, but I don’t have her pager number anymore.
So he gets to be a cat person permanently and have lots of hot hair-sex with Stands With A Fist. Everything works out perfectly because no one had to learn anything. What a great film!