Movie Review: Avatar

Movie Review: Avatar


PG-13 for intense battle sequences.
Running Time: 2 Hours 40 minutes

Avatar boasts as a live action film with a new generation of special effects taking the moviegoer into a world where a reluctant hero embarks on a journey of redemption and discovery as he leads an epic battle to save a civilization.

The story’s hero is Jake Sully, a former Marine confined to a wheelchair. Bitter and disillusioned, he’s still a warrior at heart. All Jake ever wanted was something worth fighting for. He suddenly finds himself in the place he least expected – a distant world. He’s been recruited to join an expedition to the moon Pandora, which corporate interests are strip-mining for a mineral worth $20 billion per kilogram on Earth.

But, once in his Avatar, Jake has a change of heart.

In The Words of Bill O’Reilly….

I will not drink of the Avatar Kool Aid crowd!

Movie critics everywhere are swooning over this new James Cameron flick. But, aside from the special effects, there’s nothing new here. I do admit some of the special effects are cool when you take into account that they were all done with CGI technology. But remember….

Special effects alone do not a movie make!

After four years of actual production work, and approximately $400 million in a production budget, Avatar jumps onto the screen in what could be described as a combination cartoon/real life cinematography. When the cartoon remains cartoon, and the real life remains real life, there are no glitches at all. However, when Cameron tries to combine the two in the same scene, it all becomes very cardboard with interaction between the two worlds. It appears he spent too much time and money on the cartoon Avatar aspect of the movie, and not enough time in molding the two worlds together.

Actually, while Cameron might be a good director, it’s evident he can’t work with real sets, real people and real action. He knows how to computer generate effects, but when it comes to filming in a real world, he obviously falls short.

It seems critics everywhere jumped on the hype of the movie and in turn screened the movie through rose-colored glasses. The bottom line is…

Avatar is an over-hyped, over-juiced, and under-written movie.

Of course this often happens when you have an Oscar-winning director. Yes, James Cameron won an award for directing Titanic. But, there’s absolutely nothing new here. Cameron also wrote Avatar and apparently he’s more concerned with big special effects than he is with originality.

Put quite simply – Avatar suffers from a bad case of predictability-itis.

A Political-Spiritual Agenda

Another issue with Avatar revolves around the underlying political agenda in the flick. This could have been a simple epic popcorn movie along the lines of 2012. The early hype for that movie pushed the whole Mayan calendar theme. But reality is, the movie dealt little with that concept. As a result, 2012 was simply a long epic popcorn movie with lots of mindless action. While I didn’t particularly like 2012 I gave them kudos for not trying to make a huge, in that case, theological statement.

Cameron should have left his politics sidelined and worked only for the epic popcorn movie genre. If he had done so, I would have been more kind to the verbose movie. But alas, Avatar depicts the human race as being nothing more than money hungry war mongers. Of course in this case, insert the phrase “American money hungry war mongers.” It’s not hard to tell that Cameron’s agenda is to show just how terrible we are when it comes to respecting other cultures. He paints the military as nothing more than a war machine looking for a fight and an excuse to blow everything up.

Then, on top of the political agenda, there’s also a huge push of pantheism in Avatar. The concept of spirituality goes far beyond an innocent spirituality.  Avatar has a blatant pantheistic bent to it where god is in everything. The earth, the trees, the soil. You name it, god is there. Then toss in a little bit of reincarnation with the closing statement of a second life, and you end up with a missionary training film for someone who wants to convert people to pantheism.

Don’t Get Caught Up In The Hype

Over all, while Avatar has it’s moments of brilliance, this is really a movie with more hype than anything else. Yes it came out of the gate like gangbusters making millions of dollars on it’s debut weekend. But will it have any staying power? Only time will tell.

I went into Avatar with an open mind. I do not like long movies. In my opinion, if a writer and a director can’t make a movie that falls into the 1 hour 45 minute to 2 hour bracket, they need to hit the editing room in a very heavy way. When a movie clocks in at 2 hours and 40 minutes, it better be one spectacular movie.

Avatar simply does not fall into the spectacular movie category.

It’s too long on special effects, too long on agenda, and too short on creativity when it comes to story and plot line. As for the rating, yes, it’s PG-13 but I have to say it is not family-friendly. When it comes to the number of Lloyds, I giving 2.5 out of 5. Right in the middle of the rating system for this mediocre movie.

Cautiously enjoy the show!
Dr. Rus

About the Author

Dr. Rus has 30+ years experience in the field of communication. He takes this experience, and his passion to encourage others to positively effect their environment, when providing insight and movie reviews.