View Full Version : What makes Avatar a great [or not so great] film?
My two cents...
I have read some negative blogs and reviews about Avatar, but I think that Avatar is an outstanding movie. I really can't see why people are criticizing the lack of character development and story. Yes the high budget graphics were a real treat, but I think that the story itself was the true beauty of the film. James Cameron spent a significant amount of time developing the relationship between Jake and Neytiri. Sure, you can compare to a 23rd century version of Pocahontas, but to call Avatar “unoriginal” is simply untrue. Not every movie about an alien should be compared to Star Wars, and every great action- adventure needs the quintessential “bad guy” to make our hero shine. Sure parts of the film are a little predictable, but there must be conflict in order for there to be triumph. To really appreciate this movie you need to be open minded and look beyond the brilliantly colored graphics, wild creature designs and fantastic battle scenes in order to see the true meaning behind it.
12-28-2009, 10:52 PM
the only bad side to the movie is the cliche like ,story
the only bad side to the movie is the cliche like ,story
I found the movie cliche aswell but I think this is exactly what James Cameron was trying to achieve, still turned out EPIC in the end :) I can understand how some movie critics would not like it for me though it's my favorite movie of all times.
What about character development?
I thought that he did a great job!
What about character development?
I thought that he did a great job!
That aspect was awesome and that nobody can deny, I'm sure anyone can attest that they felt much stronger to Jake and Neytiri that they have had for any other movie chars for a long time
12-28-2009, 11:43 PM
I found the movie cliche aswell but I think this is exactly what James Cameron was trying to achieve, still turned out EPIC in the end :) I can understand how some movie critics would not like it for me though it's my favorite movie of all times.yeah but he could have made them fall in love in a more discrete way and that would have made less of a cliche and more enjoyable in my opinion
yeah but he could have made them fall in love in a more discrete way and that would have made less of a cliche and more enjoyable in my opinion
Might have been but it might not have appealed to such a large audience. People enjoy clear and simple things hehe
12-29-2009, 01:49 AM
Simple or not I sure as hell liked the story. The only other movie I felt that way about the characters was probably "Meet Joe Black"
12-29-2009, 02:08 AM
Just absolutly stunning.The landscapes were soo well done, that was the real reason for me why the movie is soo good.
maybe the story was quite basic but I liked it :)
12-29-2009, 03:01 AM
Yea it was cliche, you could say that at times the love story between Jake and Neytiri was corny... but in the end, it was perfect that way.
12-29-2009, 04:33 AM
yeah, normally I don't like movies with love stories, but this was simply perfect.
I guess there are only so many ways you can tell a love story.
12-30-2009, 09:15 PM
The scenery and "realistic" plot and technology made it great. We could see this scenario really happening in the near future and it makes us think its real.
12-31-2009, 11:07 PM
Avatar was a great film for many reasons.
1. pandora is beautiful and full of life
2. Jake + neytiri
3. all the actors did an amazing job with their role
01-01-2010, 08:02 AM
The basic story of the movie is somewhat cliche. However, I don't think it has ever been told in such a way. JC created a whole new world, one in which it seemed anything was possible. It was a world that appealed to everyone's love of adventure and new, exotic things. He created a normal set of characters that ended up doing extraordinary things. The character development was not lacking as so many have said but...hidden I guess. Character development didn't come through dialogue or long speeches. Just like the romance, it was recognizable through looks, facial expressions, and actions. It just made me feel, for 3 hours, like ANYTHING was possible, and that's what I miss everytime I walk out of the theatre, being in that world of Pandora.
01-01-2010, 08:56 AM
As the above poster has mentioned, James created an entire universe. A universe viewers can dive right into. The universe of Pandora. He created creatures, plants, beauty, and the bioluminscence of the night.
Pandora and its inhabitants look simply stunning on screen with the revolutionary technology. This is definitely the best looking film I've ever viewed, but although the 3d effects and looks are incredible, this is just one of many, many factors which make up the amazing film.
Many critics say the plot lacks substance. I disagree. Avatar has more substance than most movies do, you just have to look a little deeper to find it, and that's one of the things that makes it so special. There are no long, emotionless, stripped-of-depth speeches made. The characters' feeling are never revealed in obvious, bland ways like many generic movies... Instead Neytiri and Jake's burning desire for each other is chanelled into longing glances, expressions, and even little physical clues such as the handprint on Neytiri's chest (it's five-fingered so you KNOW it's Jake's).
There are so many intricate, tiny details in Avatar (eg. the handprint) that every time you watch it, you're bound to notice something new and outstanding. It keeps it so interesting, fresh and vibrant.
You can relate to the characters too, despite the fact some are 10ft tall and blue. You really are taken with Jake on his journey and it feels completely natural how his character develops into this epic hero because you're right there with him.
So what if the story is one we've heard before? Cameron tells it in a new way. An exciting, immersive way. The storyline has a bit of everything. Romance, action, drama, you name it.
Whether you're there for the touchy-feely romance, or the blistering combat, or just the thrill of the adventure, Avatar does it beautifully and emotionally.
I don't think I've ever felt so immersed in a movie as I did with Avatar. When I left the cinema onto those grotty, polluted streets, I felt a little like Jake waking up from his link. All I wanted to do was go back Pandora, back to Jake and Neytiri's world.
And that's still all I want to do now.
01-01-2010, 10:06 PM
About thirty lightyears ago, I heard about a new film with starships and aliens and wicked cool new effects. There was no internet, only the SF mags and word of mouth and the odd movie trailer and TV ad. I heard about it after it had already exploded onscreen with a Death Star sized bigbang. SF/fantasy fan that I am, I went. I went out of the theater going, "hmmmm, that was cool." I thought about it for a few days. Went back with more friends.
I went back something like 25 times. Star Wars was one of those nifty turning points that introduced me to a whole new world: friends of like mind, SF cons, fantasy illustration, real world adventures that sprang out of all that.
That is the point of well told stories. They connect us. They inspire us. They teach us. They say something about our past. Our future. Our choices.
I like James Cameron films. Terminator 2 and Titanic are on my ten best list (although I think that may include several dozen by now). He understands Joseph Campbell's concept of The Hero Journey. He talks about the relationship between humans and technology; the use and abuse of it. The dangers we face if we blow it. Our relationship with each other and Nature. He's a Leo, born two days after me and one year earlier. He's definitely from the same planet.
And now here's our planet.
I heard about Avatar much the way I heard about Star Wars; after everybody else knew about it. Yeah, I have internet access now. I even check my email once a week or so. I blog or twiddle the website when I can. This week I was running sleddogs, hacking my way through work (unlike my Disney princess namesake, I hate food service), eating fattening PA Dutch food with relatives over Christmas, wrangling my friend's young, enthusiastic Malenois, ducks, free range chickens, horses, goats and other critters while Mona and Joe escaped to the great white north. I watched the great white north melt into mud before Mona could break a sled dog trail around her farm. I hashed out the rest of my Christmas presents ( I don't Mall anymore, mall, that's a verb, a four letter verb).
"I should probably see this." I said. "After all, it's James Cameron, how bad could it be."
I bought a black leather jacket at a yard sale and learned to play the Terminator theme on a Native American flute. I bought the action figures (uh, it's for my nephew). I asked Bob Ballard (the guy who found the Titanic) a more or less intelligent question at a program at the Baltimore Aquarium. I leapt off of several perfectly good floatin' boats in the midst of the Atlantic Ocean (well, we were out of sight of land) to look at the sunken boats. One of my dive buddies did that 'soaring on the bow/king of the world' move on the bow of one of those sunken boats. I went to the Titanic exhibit at the local museum, stood with my nose inches from things that had lain two and a half miles down in 375 atmospheres of pressure (that's how geeky this gets).
Yep, I'm a fan.
I considered that fact that this could be one more of those grand heartless fx extravaganzas. Blow lots of stuff up and nobody will notice there isn't a plot or character development.
Ok, I'll go watch stuff blow up for three hours, at least once.
The James Horner soundtrack hooked me from the beginning. After looking him up on Wikipedia (easier than going through my CD collection or my own memory banks) I realized he's scored a bunch of my favorite films. I love "Echoes" on National Public Radio; that sort of soundtracky, epic stuff with spacey electronics and indigenous instruments and voices. This soundtrack captures that quality; epic, emotion, eerie, otherworldy. Horner's a Leo too, born on the same day and two years earlier.
I could analyze the film for hours; it's a place you can get lost in. "Haven't got lost in the woods?" the badaxx Colonel says to Our Hero. Of course I have, I know those woods.
This is the archetypal Garden. This is the place we all remember (well, some of us do). This is the place Richard Louv talked about in "Last Child in the Woods". In his book he shows how this generation has become plugged into their 'avatars'; Game Boys and cell phones and computers. How they've lost the ability to run soundlessly through the forest, to read the trail, to bond with other living things, to just sit and look and feel and experience. Louv tells us the cure for ADD and a thousand other modern afflictions is to just go outside and play.
He's right. When the SAD felt like a space marine's backpack, I hitched up two dogs and slogged through a foot of snow on half a trail in a sunlit wood. I felt like I might keel over a few times. The dogs hadn't run more than in the dogyard all fall. I had sleazed off the rider and the stationary bike for weeks.
It was good! Ooooraahh!
The plot was described by someone as "trite". No, not trite, not stereotypal, archetypal. The Hero Journey. Sure, I knew how certain scenes, certain situations had to play out. I knew how I'd write them. Same way I know that stuff in a good Disney flick. I know the pattern, I've been over this trail before. But every time you go over the trail, it's different. Different animals have walked there, leaving different signs. Different weather, different seasons, different things blooming, fading, dying, rebirthing.
This is a rebirth of the Hero Journey.
Tolkien gave the old archetypes back their power. Rescued the Elves and Dwarves and Wizards and dark things from the nursery and made them tall and strong; a Force of Nature to be reckoned with. Lucas sent them to the far far away edges of the universe, and showed us that those tales are, well, universal. J.K. Rowling showed kids that they too had power, and must learn how to wield it.
Cameron has shown us the place we come from and that there is still time to change our course. Change our relationship with Nature, with technology, with other living things. Much of the film has already happened in real life: we know that, not from our history books, which always tell the tale from the viewpoint of the winners, but from listening to Native American, African, Australian Aboriginal, Polynesian and other indigenous authors/storytellers/bards/artists/teachers. (The excellent Wes Studi, a Native American actor, is the voice of Neytiri's father). The concept of communicating with animals (on levels beyond verbal) is not new to anyone who's ever worked with them. The concept of trees communicating chemically or electrically is not new to science. The idea of a world organism, the Earth as one big biosphere is not new either. What is new is putting it all into an action-packed, thrilling adventure that twelve year olds will absorb.
And maybe they'll go home and think about it.
Maybe they'll pick up a bow, because Neytiri made it look so cool. Maybe they'll try riding an earth horse. Or flight. Or diving into the clear waters that are still left. Or saving the rest.
01-01-2010, 10:07 PM
i think its the way the movie played out and all