Speaking Truth to James Cameron

I’ve been hiding from most people these days.

Not from the usual retreat into my hermitage as I’m generally wont to do – oh no. I’ve become somewhat of a pariah.

Here’s the thing – I didn’t like Avatar.

Maybe you’ve heard of it? From the man that gave us the 90’s cutting edge Terminator 2, Avatar is James Cameron’s latest technological magnum opus.

I should pause here, in case you haven’t seen the film, and as they say on the Internets: Spoiler Alert!

Is it a pretty movie? Absolutely. This film is the next step in modern 3-D. Admittedly, there is some delight to be had flapping your hands at floating blossoms hovering in an alien landscape.

Plus, when you get down to brass tacks, I’m a sucker for advances in technology. So if the movie studios want to crank out some three dimensions, I’m all for it.

Unfortunately for Mr. Cameron, I judge a film not just on the pretty pictures, but also the storytelling, characters and acting. (I guess I’m a little koo-koo that way.)

All of those qualities were non-existent in Avatar. Plus, the themes explored in Avatar had already been covered very recently. And in a far more thought-provoking and intelligent way at that.

(District 9, anyone?)

The only thing missing to make Avatar, “Fern Gully in space” was a wacky bat.

When I try to explain this to people, I’m on the receiving end of many a hairy eyeball, with exclamations of: “Just enjoy it for what it was!” or “It’s mindless entertainment!” and my personal favourite: “But the CGI is amazing!”

I can only repeat this so many times: “Pretty pictures do not a film make!”

We’ve been suckered down this “latest advancements in computer generated imagery” road before. Allow me to summarize this point in two words: Jar-Jar Binks.

‘Nuff said.

So now, because I have the gall to enjoy film based on all its creative angles, I get pegged as a cynic.

To be perfectly honest, as an audience member — for whatever type of entertainment — I hop into that seat with good expectations. I was the one who made the conscious choice to check that something out. I spent the money. My plan was to be entertained. We’re talking about the best of intentions here – really!

So, if I walk out not liking it, I feel completely fine with bitching about it.

I actually can’t get back the hours I spent watching The Phantom Menace, but I can sure vent my frustrations in lieu of a refund.

This is the fun in consuming any creative work. Art’s inherent subjectivity is what lends to some of the best conversation … or so I’d like to think.

And if it makes any difference to the new James Cameron fans, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Aliens.

Can I come outside now?

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