The bottom line, it’s well worth seeing with a couple of caveats below.

The Good:

  • The most amazing visuals that I’ve seen in a movie. The imagery is like seeing great science fiction paintings come to life.
  • The 3d on a 4k digital projection is by far the best I’ve ever seen. It does take a bit to get used to and there are moments that look somewhat video game-like.

The Bad:

  • The story is pretty pedestrian and has a lot of cliches
  • Most of the characters are two dimensional
  • I would have liked aliens that were a little more alien and a little less “thinly veiled Native Americans”

The Really Bad:

Like the Dude said:

The Dude: I don’t see any connection to Vietnam, Walter.

Walter Sobchak: Well, there isn’t a literal connection, Dude.

The Dude: Walter, face it, there isn’t any connection.

  1. The Vietcong weren’t primarily armed with bows and arrows.
  2. To imply (as this film seems to) that Al Qaeda and/or the Taliban were just innocent people sitting on a resource we wanted to steal is ridiculous.
  3. To imply further that Al Qaeda or the Taliban were just declared terrorists (despite doing nothing to provoke us) to justify attacking them is outright offensive.
  4. “Daisy Cutters?” Seriously? Afraid that the audience wouldn’t get your subtle effort at analogy?

The class and race politics in Avatar are almost of caricature of rich, white, liberal guilt and self-loathing.

  • Business (and the military**) = universally bad (hate nature, greedy, lie, cheat, steal)
  • Shamanistic and low technology people = universally good (love nature, peaceful – except, of course, when righteously killing the above)

** Except for the female soldier of color.

The Bottom Line

James Cameron spent tens of thousands of hours to build one of the most beautiful and engaging worlds yet seen in the movies. Unfortunately, he should have spent a weekend with a real science fiction author to come up with a story deserving of that world.


Comanche Hill

The personal blog of Mark Morga.

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