Tuesday, January 19, 2010
movie revew: Avatar
The good: Visually, this film is lovely. It's the first movie I've seen in 3D, so perhaps it was especially stunning for me. Pandora, the planet where much of the film takes place, is pretty cool looking, and 3D helps. There were lots of little touches enhanced by 3D. For seventy minutes, I was completely absorbed in the film and uttered the word "wow" more than once.
The bad: The story, the script and the length. James Cameron should never have full control of a script; he's not a writer. He's barely even a storyteller with this film. There's a good idea in there somewhere, but movies should not be a purely visual medium. I'm absolutely baffled the studio gave him (allegedly) $300 million and didn't insist on someone else writing the script. The film had zero depth, which is ironic given the visual depth. It went from lame to ridiculous. I rolled my eyes. I considered leaving. Thankfully, nomadreaderboy had a similar reaction, and we began making fun of it and laughing, which made the last two hours of the film moderately bearable.
Best picture? I'm baffled. I was baffled by the nomination, but the win is inexplicable. Movies are loveliest when they combine visual elements, acting and a moving story. Avatar had only one element of this trifecta.
Rating: 2.5 stars (out of 5 - I didn't like it, but I did love the visual elements)
Running time: a mind-numbing 162 minutes (it felt longer)
Release date: December 2009 (it's out in theaters now)
Source: I paid $13.75 to see it, so I kept my 3D glasses