Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Movie Review: Avatar

If there was ever a case for style over substance then James Cameron’s epic, sci-fi action adventure Avatar would certainly be it.  There’s no doubt that it’s a slice of visual, audio and cinematic excellence. In fact many a cinema goer is more than keen to tell anyone who cares to listen that ‘the only way to experience Avatar is in 3D’.  Well I can’t comment on ‘Avatar 3D’, but what I do know is that all the visual splendour and breathtaking special effects in the world can’t take away the fact that Avatar is as shallow, hackneyed and mind numbingly boring as movies come.

Essentially, and if we're honest, Avatar is nothing more than a tech demo from the world of cinema; a look at what the future might hold for visual and audio effects on the big screen. To see the many, many brilliant nuances that bring the world of Pandora and all that dwell therein to life is nothing short of spectacular, but to laud it as the Citizen Kane of the 21st Century when it’s anything but is laughable.

The story trips and stumbles from one clunky set piece to the next and never really finds its footing as it tries desperately to get you to care for, well, whoever is in need of caring I guess.  Worse still, the whole tale finds itself drowning in some of the most embarrassingly toe curling dialogue to grace a movie since Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first speech as Governor of California.  Trying to empathise with any of the characters, (whether it’s the two dimensional, stereotypical humans or the, quite frankly, painfully dim-witted blue skinned giants of Pandora, the Na’vi), is a tiresome task, one that actually leaves you feeling exhausted to the point that you no longer give a toss as to what happens to any of them.  In Star Wars when the Death Star blew up Princess Leia’s home planet of Alderaan they just got the wrong planet; it should have been Pandora.

At best Avatar is what a re-make of ‘Dances with Wolves’ would have looked liked had Disney been behind the wheel but had forgotten to add lovable characters, a musical score and a sprinkling of that Disney magic.  Arguable it’s entirely possibly to watch Cameron's visual spectaculaire! with the sound on mute and still have a complete grasp of what’s actually going on.

As for the film garnering critical acclaim from pretty much every film critic the world over?  Well, that can most certainly be put down to a case of the Emperors New Clothes.


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