Avatar: A Debate

Resolved: Avatar is the best movie of the year, and the best film to hit theaters in years.

Affirmative: James Cameron’s technical work on Avatar is that which only comes around but maybe once every generation: revolutionary. His use of motion capture and 3D camera work will change the way movies are made for years to come. The use of 3D as enhanced ‘depth of field’ techniques can really help call attention to certain elements on screen to enhance the suspense or drama.

Pandora is a creative wonder; from the floating mountains, to the lush luminous plant life, and the wild and scary creatures that roam the landscape. Not to mention the Na’vi, the 10 feet tall humanoids, are as intriguing as they are intimidating. Cameron has created a truly lasting world that everyone can enjoy.

Negative: The first issue at hand is the writing. The characters are clichés, the concept is nothing short of stolen, and the terminology is insultingly lazy.


Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribisi) – the money hungry executive who only cares about the bottom line regardless of what or who is in his way. (And how creative is ‘SELFridge’?)

Trudy Chacon (Michelle Rodriguez) – the plays-by-her-own-rules female helicopter pilot that “didn’t sign up for” shooting natives down with gunfire. (TRUdy?)

Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang) – the ultimate tough guy / badass marine, I can’t find the words to explain how cheesy his opening dialogue is so I’ll just include an example, "As head of security it is my job to keep you alive. I will not succeed." There was another one about eating your eyes for Jujubes that was so outlandish I really don’t know how Lang kept a straight face while delivering it.

Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver) – the veteran botanical scientist/sociologist who doesn’t agree with what the company she works for is trying to do, so she wants to stop them any way she can. While she’s dying and being carried through the ‘Tree of Souls’ area, she utters the line, “I’d love to get a sample of this.”


I’ll let other sources argue this one:





If you can't read this click here


(Source: avatarsucks.com )

And I would be misleading if I didn’t say this all started because of a South Park episode:

Which points out that the story is a total rip off of Dances With Wolves which came out in 1990. For those of you who haven’t seen it, the plot as it is summed up on imdb: Lt. John Dunbar, exiled to a remote western Civil War outpost, befriends wolves and Indians, making him an intolerable aberration in the military.


All I have to say is ‘Unobtanium’.

Affirmative: OK, I’ll admit that some of the writing is a little shaky, but you can’t expect Charlie Kaufman from James Cameron. It’s never about the amazing story or plot twists or anything fancy like that. It’s about the action, the cinematography, and the world of Pandora. Cameron tried to make a movie to appeal to all audiences. You have to give him credit for that. When a movie is given that type of budget, they have to try not to exclude any demographic.

Negative: I understand that it is the job of the studios to try to make the film appeal to as wide an audience as possible. This is a technique that is referred to by most filmmakers as ‘ruining’ a film. But my assumption is that Cameron had complete control – he is given this because he has proven, as the director of the top grossing movie of all time, that he can do this without studio intervention.

My problem with this is that appealing to the masses has another name: Pandering. Pandering is what studios do, it’s what networks do, and the ultimate result of pandering is bacterial phenomenon of reality television, such as ‘The Hills’ and ‘Jersey Shore’.

Furthermore, it is possible to not exclude the masses and tell a cohesive story with interesting characters and well written dialogue. Ask J.J. Abrams, director of Star Trek, the summer blockbuster from 2009. He had immense pressure from ‘trekkies’ on how he would expand the franchise, meanwhile attempting to not lose the attention of those who have never even experienced the ‘Star Trek’ world in any way. It seems as though the common agreement is that he succeeded and this achievement is very impressive to me.

Affirmative: Why do you hate? Can’t you just go to the theaters and have a good time?

Negative: I wanted to love Avatar badly. Before seeing it, I did want to write a review and I wanted to shower it with praise, but I cannot. My biggest problem with the whole thing is that while Cameron used innovative tangible materials (cameras, computers, software, and other technology) he lacked ANY innovation in the intangibles (story, characters, message).

My overall feeling is – what is the point of using groundbreaking filmmaking techniques that, according to the hype, has been a work in progress for 10 YEARS until the production of Avatar, and not put the same kind of effort in the story which these techniques are exhibiting. Personally, I think it is an insult.

No comments:

Post a Comment