Monday, 25 January 2010

Why The Fuss Over Avatar?

So Avatar has now overtaken Titanic in the international box office, and is catching up fast in the US domestic market. I reckon by one or two weeks it'll finally sink Titanic's 12 year record.

Really though, I don't get this fanaticism over Avatar. Sure, it's a great film with stunning visual effects and a wonderfully imagined fantasy world. But it really isn't the sort of film I want to watch over and over again. One time would have been enough for me, because while I thought it was a good film, I didn't think it would be as great the second time around, and did not feel the urge to watch it again.

Don't get me wrong, I'm the sort of person who would watch a movie numerous times in the cinema. I watched all three Lord Of the Rings movies at least 5-7 times each in the cinema. I've watched almost every Pixar movie hundreds of times. I watched Transformers again and again because it was FUN. I watched The Dark Knight countless times because it was BRILLIANT. And each subsequent time I watched those movies never diminished my liking of the movie. Rather, every time I watched those movies again, it only made me want to watch it again.

Not so Avatar. After the first time, I did not feel the urge to go watch it again. It wasn't because of the insane crowds, or that it was bad. I just felt it was a great movie that looked really good, but had a pretty piss-poor story with cliched characters/dialogue, and a lot of waffling around in between. The action in the end was excellent, but I wasn't willing to sit through 2 hours of character and story development just to get to that part again.

Sure enough, when I eventually DID go to watch it a second time last week with LL; I found myself thinking the following thoughts as I sat through the movie again:

  • "OH NO, I'll have to sit through two hours of boring story build-up before we get to the good part."
  • "GAH, the whole first part is just people EXPLAINING to the audience what the whole movie is about."
  • "Eh, that Neytiri isn't wearing anything other than those beads. How come still cannot see anything wan?"
  • "Oh geez, the dialogue quite cliche also hor?"
  • "Seriously, James. Shock and Awe? Pre-Emptive Strike? Fighting Terror with Terror? Not one for subtle criticism, are you?"
  • "Holy Celine Dion in a paperbag, that is one shitty Leona Lewis song."
Maybe I'm just being cynical or jaded. But I don't get how people are going on and on about the movie like it's the greatest movie of all time. It's a good movie, yes, but it ain't GREAT. But here we have people getting withdrawal symptoms from 'leaving Pandora'; and others gushing over how excellent the movie is because the world is SO PRETTY and because it has a 'message' for us all.

Really? The movie is great because it LOOKS PRETTY? Since when is a movie a 'must watch' because it 'looks pretty'? God forbid studios will now make movies that 'look pretty' and forget all about good stories.

Then again, maybe it was just me. After all, Transformers had no story and had real crappy dialogue, but hey, I still watched it hundreds of times because it appealed to my nostalgia and my inner fanboy. Maybe Avatar has something that appeals to people's inner Smurf or tree hugger.

James Cameron is a genius, I'll give him that. The dude's got the TOP TWO biggest movies of ALL TIME. Just why those two movies are so big is beyond the understanding of mere mortals. Titanic was understandable. Before there was Twilight, there was Leo, whose face was on every adolescent girl's wall. And for the grown men, there was Kate Winslet's boobs, as well as that small matter of a BIG sinking ship.

Avatar? I guess it caters to the broadest demographic possible - not too deep or violent so the young ones can enjoy it (there are Avatar TOYS , fer gawds sake); and not too shallow so the adults can like it as well. Plus it's got all that hype about industry-changing 3D graphics, and of course, it DOES look pretty. I still don't get why people are going back again and again to watch it though.

Oh well, I guess we should be glad it's Avatar that's making the big bucks and overtaking The Dark Knight, Return of The King at the top of the box office. I mean, can you imagine if one of the Twilight movies did that? Brrrr....


Anonymous said...

funny. this coming from the guy who LUUUUUURVES Transformers. :P

-- Guo

eyeris said...

I know. haha.

JenKin Yat said...

i still havent watch it..bravo..

lishun said...

my thoughts EXACTLY. thank you!!

spiller said...

yeah, can they just make a short version of the last hour part? haha.

i seriously hope Avatar will not win Best Picture or Best Director.

the Basterds FTW!

Zhi Wei said...

finally somebody says it

Jon Chu said...

I agree. The script was so-so. Could've been better. The plot was somewhat like Pocahontas.

But heck, you gotta give it to James. Like what you said, thank goodness it is not Twilight that overtook the great movies man. Thank goodness, thank heavens!

LL said... thing u need to go thru for ur gf... ;p


Han said...

Like your 'preview' of Avatar :) IMHO, Avatar is definitely one of the best movies of all-time (falls in my Top 10 fav) but somehow I cannot shake the weak storyline, or rather a copy of many other not-so-good films into one blockbuster. Pocahontas In Space or even Battle for Terra 2 :)

But I gotta tell you, dude...Transformers is so not for me although I am a great cartoon and universe fan. The story is too weak and it's Michael Bay's typical way of making quick bucks out of us all :) HAHA!

Keep the reviews coming.