After grappling with a way to review the gluttonously overwrought special effects orgy, Avatar, I decided to simply pose a few of the most pressing issues that sprang up as I watched this overblown, but ultimately forgettable film. By the way, before I get into it, I must comment on the second inadequate attempt on Sam Worthington’s part to accomplish a successful American accent. Nice work, Sammy, you’re as linguistically dexterous as Brad Pitt or Sean Connery. But don’t sweat it, because at least you have become the official mascot actor for the “hey, I’m part human, part not human. Boo hoo, where do I belong?” role. Way to go.
Warning. I will be revealing stupid plot points and giving away the lame ending in the following list. Just wanted to get that out in the open.
- Plot hole alert: I cannot abide the premise that human beings, with all their technology and weaponry, hurtled that much manpower and equipment through space for 6 years at God knows what speed (aka pretty effing far away from earth), yet they are having a hard time controlling these blue people who use arrows! Yes, that’s right, arrows! Really? Really, James Cameron?
- When Jake gets separated: If they did in fact spend so much money on these Avatars (as they made sure to say a bunch of times in the beginning of the film), then why couldn’t they install some kind of communication device inside the thing that wouldn’t be ripped off or destroyed by water (and yes, I understand that tracking devices don’t work on Pandora because of the b.s. “Temporal Flux”. Another crock, Mr. C). If the consciousness sync works all over the friggin’ planet, then why couldn’t they install a com device to talk to each other!
- The helicopter escape: Right now, in 2010, tons of cars have OnStar systems that can tap into your ride and shut it off if someone steals it (I’ve seen the commercials). You’re telling me that 150 years from now, they can spend all this money on some military weapon and not install some kind of similar safety function inside it, just in case the blue guys- excuse me, the Na’vi try to jack one? Bull.
- Aggravating character: That little helicopter lizard. Fucking useless.
- Another aggravating character: That marine who shouted “Get some!” more than once. It’s 2154 and this guy is shouting a phrase from 150 years ago. That would be like me yelling “Avast, ye mateys!” before getting in a bar fight. I wished they could have killed him twice.
- Aggravating foley: Those fricking Ekarns or whatever they’re called (the flying things the blu- the Na’vi cruise around on) sound exactly like velociraptors. Stop raiding Speilberg’s closet.
- When Jake is passed out and can’t be woken up: How exactly did these blue idiots not have any clue that the Avatars were somehow linked up to their human counterpart. They call them Dreamwalkers, for crap’s sake! When he is out on the ground and those dozers are crashing through the forest (which was ridiculously designed, by the way), why does she keep trying to wake him up? Shake his ass, and if he is out cold, it must mean he’s out with his humans, and probably double-crossing you. Grace spent time with them and taught them English, but she never mentioned that? What?
- Plot hole alert, part dos: I really can’t abide the fact that all those marines, with all their guns and technology, could go up against some blue people with arrows, and lose! If the marines had just finished the job they started when they blew the shit out of their entire home, obviously not caring about preserving life, then why didn’t they just exterminate them and get it over with? Why did they let them go and run to the big tree to sing like Whoville Whos after the Grinch stole their Christmas? Why did they let them get all pissed off and join pathetically small forces with the other clans? And also, why did the humans not assume that the Na’vi would retaliate without Jake’s help? Did they think they would turn blue tale and run into the forest, never to bother them again? What are they, new?
- B.S. alert: The end sucks anyway because the humans are just going to come back in a few years and massacre them all, unless the blue guys discover and develop gunpowder technology at record speeds. Or they could pull a Bin Laden and hides in caves, I guess.
- What the F*#@?: Michelle Rodriguez, in the biggest act of stupidity in the film, makes the only modern weapon available to the Na’vi as conspicuous as possible by splashing it with copious amount of war paint! Come on, the first thing you get in the military (after the haircut) is a standard issue camouflage uniform. Camouflage! Just put a small X or something on it, if you really want to feel like part of the team. That way, you can attack in the chaos and blend in. You get an F, Rodriguez.
While I have other issues with the film (why did the Colonel in the mecha-warrior pull out a knife from the leg compartment when he lost his gun? Why did they build it with a knife? Just build it with another gun!), I was mostly disappointed with the poor script writing and the lame plot. Most of the sources of tension in the film (the Temporal Flux crap; Jake’s separation from Grace; the failure by the marines to finish the job when they went to bomb the tree house) seemed only to be there to service the plot and build false tension, not because they actually made sense. The humans were essentially caricatures, and every single scene in the film fell into the George Lucas “let’s cram as much shit into every scene” trap. Once the spectacle of the 3D wears off, you are left with a lot of CG that really isn’t much better than Lord of the Rings. There, I said it. If Peter Jackson made LOTR today, Weta's 3D would be knocking us on our asses right now, guaranteed. I apologize for the length of this review, but I feel I just had to get it out there. And while I usually wouldn’t review a movie that isn’t very well written, I feel compelled to dispel some of the undeserved hype orbiting this filmic zeitgeist. Go ahead and see it, but buyer beware. Fancy special effects can't make up of for a lack of plot and poor script writing.