Avatar (2009) 1.89/5 (5)


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Rating: The Bad- 58.5
Genre: Science Fiction
Duration: 162 mins
Director: James Cameron
Stars: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver

A paraplegic Marine takes his brother’s place on a mission to integrate with the indigenous life on dangerous planet. However, after becoming attached to a particular tribe he finds his former loyalties to the military tested as they take command of the mission and with it, a much sterner approach to the aliens.

Before anything else, one must firstly acknowledge the quality of this mega-blockbuster’s visual effects. With or without the 3D this film looks spectacular. The world of Pandora and the indigenous tribes are brought to life in such rich detail that you really do get the feeling that you are right there in the middle of everything. The action is also very good and there are some really well crafted action scenes that use the expanded physical possibilities of the alien world to great effect. Add the 3D experience on top of all that and this movie becomes an awesome visual experience.

However, despite all this, when one is forced to objectively review Avatar as a film, there can be no escaping the realisation that there are some fundamental and critical problems which even the visuals cannot compensate for. In many ways, Avatar is “Dances with Alien Wolves” but with inexcusable writing problems. The characters are all uninteresting (despite Sigourney Weaver’s best efforts) and are all variations on cliched action movie themes. The dialogue is clunky at the best of times and downright awful at others. The story is wafer thin with seriously trite plots and sub-plots. Concerning the wider plot, there are gaping holes in the logic and, as if to confirm the audience’s suspicions that the story was indeed an afterthought to an otherwise technological project, they come up with the idea of a magic tree to encapsulate a crudely conveyed hack environmental “message”. This hack emotionality and the battle sequences which attempt to drive it home like a rusty nail are certainly the most jarring problems with the movie. One of the most unforgivable things a film-maker can do is to disrespect the audience by trying to dupe the them into thinking the film is of weight when it’s really just a crass load of nonsense. It could be argued that Avatar imparts a simplistic “message” in far too childish a manner to be guilty of that crime and that the writers simply devoted too little attention to the script to be aware of the mistakes they were making. However, given that it took almost a decade to make this film, there can simply be no excuses for having overlooked something as crucial as the story.

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2 thoughts on “Avatar (2009)”

  1. Another nice review. Agreed, the story is wafer thin and I stand by the opinion that the film only made the success it did through its visual merit. Can he fool an audience with it twice thou…………….Im guessing yes.

    1. Thanks again. Yes, I think the hordes will keep going back 🙂
      In fairness, the experience probably has some novel value at the moment but I suppose it will wear off after a while. At least, I hope so. I’d hate to see cinema diverge down the primacy of technology road – tho it could happen.

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