It’s that time of year again. . . the end. The time of year that my film nerd friends start pestering me for a top ten of the year list. So, I make a mad dash to the theater, line up my Netflix queue, and watch 2009 movies like crazy. Anything that seems interesting, even if bad. Yes, I may even watch Transformers 2. But not Boondock Saints 2, Christ no! My life isn’t that tedious yet.

So. . . Precious (The full title of which is Precious: Based On The Movie “Push” by David Bourla: Ballistic: Music and Lyrics by Tim Rice and Alan Menken). Let’s get this out of the way first; I really enjoyed this movie. I was sad when it wanted me to be sad, and happy when it wanted me to be happy. That being said, is it a “good” movie? I’m not entirely sure.

Precious is essentially a circus freak show. I “oooh!” and “aaahhh!” as they pull the curtain back on “Illiterate Teenager Girl Impregnated By Her Father” or “Inbred Down’s Syndrome Child”. But imagine, if you will, the biggest shock moments removed from this story; Essentially it’s just a standard “Troubled kid with potential meets Christ-like Teacher” story.

Much like 500 Days Of Summer, the direction felt like an audition reel. Putting Precious and her mother into a Vittorio De Sica movie is cute, but does it really serve the narrative? I can understand the attachment that the lead girl has in Heavenly Creatures to Orson Welles, but is Precious really into Sophia Loren movies? It feels more flashy than honest.

And Avatar. Oh, Avatar. What can I say? You know how God is sometimes referred to as being “great AND terrible”? Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

But, to elucidate; The great aspects, combined with the terrible aspects, created a zero sum for me. Everything good about it is also everything that’s bad. . .

It has a nice, simple story!

The story is REALLY simple.

The 3D fx are neat!

The 3D fx are distracting and completely drew me out of the story.

Speaking of story. . . Space Injuns (Which should have been the title)?!??!! I know we’re painting in broad strokes right now, and Cameron wants to make sure that everyone gets this, but in addition to the horseback riding and arrow shooting did he also have to make Wes Studi the leader of the tribe?

The acting was beside the point, but mostly pretty flat or arch. The bad guys were straight up Disney villains. The computer fx, while nice, were hardly the revolution that the film’s hype machine was promising (Not that I ever bought into the hype). No, the aliens are not “photo real”. The 3D didn’t really impress me that much. It still looks like a pop out book, or like ghost characters walking around.

Strange that, to date, the best 3D fx I’ve seen in the theater were on House Of Wax, which is a half century old now. Maybe it looks better in IMAX, which unfortunately I didn’t get to see it on.

Meh. I didn’t hate it, but it’s certainly my least favorite of the Camerons I’ve seen (Still haven’t got around to Piranha 2 yet). Got real bored during the final battle. If some 8 year old says this is the greatest movie he’s ever seen, I may begrudge him that. It’s just a little too familiar and simplistic for me.