Ah, Avatar… how long we’ve awaited your soulful kiss.
There isn’t a lot to say about this that isn’t already being said. Of course, we all knew it would be like that. Avatar was destined to be a highly talked about movie and the only real problem with that is how disproportionate it will be to discussion about movies that deserve it more.
For my part, Avatar is going to be a movie I have a hard time taking seriously due to the attitudes of its faithful. And the dumb shit they say, without irony, as the movie is being discussed. I’m not even talking about the people who got so into it that they were already backlashing or apologizing before the first trailer hit. I’m talking about otherwise sensible people turned into raving, blinders-on dumbasses by a visually arresting but ultimately shallow and predictable vanity project.
Seriously, as we came out of the premiere here in Bridge City I pointed out some of the things that took me out of the movie on a continual basis: every single “big” moment is totally predictable, there are no three-dimensional characters in the movie, the “noble savage” routine is downright insulting, etc. Generally, all of the same problems that widely read folks like Devin Faraci and Clarence Beaks have already described. Now as I was pointing these issues out, one of my friends said it was a “total game-changer, a downright cinematic revolution”. He meant it. He said these ridiculous words aloud. He was not joking. I could have puked. I dismissed him, but he was not the only Avatard present. The other friend repeatedly told me that he didn’t care about the subtext or what could be read into it, he found it enjoyable and just wanted to enjoy the movie James Cameron had made. Um… what? Then he said I was trying to make him feel bad for liking it by bringing up the “white guilt” protrayal of aboriginals, something with which Avatar deals and without ambiguity.
I remember similar sorts of attitudes on display with the Star Wars prequels, Batman Begins, and King Kong. In terms of Faraci’s predictions about where Avatar is going to fit in with the cinematic geneology in a few months, it is the kinds of shit being flung during the preliminary after-movie discussions that convinces me the most. Avatar really will be another King Kong.
It’s really too bad. I was sold for the first act or so of the movie. I even know the moment where I was first taken in: the sequence where Sully and others are being awoken from stasis within the transport ship. Too bad the movie seemed like it was trying to make me roll my eyes for so much of the rest of its running time.
Mission accomplished, Avatar. Too bad I can’t care enough about you to keep rolling my eyes. That said, I’m sure there’ll be enough people in conversations about you to keep my eyes rolling for a while to come.