|2009 USA, UK Avatar|
The problem with, like, solidly professional filmmakers who make big ass films like this is that they often rely on cardboard cutout stereotypes for character development. For every beautiful set piece, every touching ritual or philosophical bit of soul candy in Avatar, and there are lots of them, there are moments of groan out loud, eye-rolling plot points and dialog. I understand the need for expediency when creating a brand new world and trying to tell a story within it (within the running time of a movie) but that doesn't mean it's exempt from taking hits for it. If you are the type to overlook things like this, like so many seeds in a watermelon, then you will probably enjoy this movie, a lot. And by 'things like this' I mean almost all the moments and characters in the film that are negative in some way. The Colonel, why is he so shiny? Maybe there are tools like him in real life but he seems more irratating than badass. As good as Giovanni Ribisi is, he really goes dumpster diving for this role. Sigourney Weaver plays an ultimately good character, and it's actually developed pretty well, but every time she has to act tough, or act like a bitch, I sighed silently in protest of the script. The same is true of Tsu'tey, the jilted heir.
Creating conflict and character development in films is tough. At almost three hours, the film didn't feel long to me at all. I was never bored and if some of the blunt shallowness could have been presented in a more ripened form by extending the running time I would have been happier, overall.
I don't mind one bit that Avatar is a story that we've heard before and will hear again. That's the nature of good stories, educational fables. They keep getting retold. All in all, Avatar has some incredibly beautiful scenes and some very uplifting and touching moments and if you're not a film creep like me who prefers character studies to fantasy and action, you will love this movie.
Summary: In the future, Jake, a paraplegic war veteran, is brought to another planet, Pandora, which is inhabited by the Na'vi, a humanoid race with their own language and culture. Those from Earth find themselves at odds with each other and the local culture.