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BoBo1946's avatar

Have you seen Avatar? If so, did you like it? Why?

Asked by BoBo1946 (15285points) June 27th, 2010

Watched the movie, “Avatar,” yesterday and thought it was a great movie. Loved the visual effects.

Also, how would rate this movie on your list of great movies? (In my top ten.)

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52 Answers

Seaofclouds's avatar

I liked it a lot. It’s in my top 10. I liked the visuals and I actually liked the story as well.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Seaofclouds ditto…thought it was awesome! Would liked to have seen it in the theater. Watched it at home.

janbb's avatar

I really found it just o.k.; the plot was very borrowed (think Pocahontas) and the special effects to me were fair to middling. Nowhere near any top ten list of mine.

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

Voiced my opinion earlier on question about ‘blockbusters’ that you hate. I think it’s garbage & an insult to those who wait 10 years for a movie that needed special effects to ‘wow’ you. Stolen story/plot line from Fern Gully, Pocahontas & Atalntis. Over-hyped, over budgeted & still stirs up anger inside of me when people talk about it. :)

In my list of movies, this doesn’t even register as a movie for consideration, even in my list of worst movies. Avatar was just a big blue void in the movie business. Wasted everyones time…but James C. will still get his fat paycheck so he can make Avatar 2 – in 4D.

Whew… I’m all riled up now. I need to go cut down some trees to calm myself.

chyna's avatar

@rpmpseudonym Don’t hold back, tell us what you really think of Avatar.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@BoBo1946 We went to see it in the theater. It think it looked even better on screen than it does on my tv.

Mat74UK's avatar

I saw it in 3D at the cinema and it was a feast for the eyes. although the plot was ripped straight from Pocahontas see here

mrentropy's avatar

I didn’t hate it, but I don’t think I’d ever have a desire to see it again. It was… just another movie.

Bluefreedom's avatar

One of the best science fiction movies ever made. It was terrific watching it in IMAX 3-D.

marinelife's avatar

I thought the story was to derivavtive and predictable, but I liked the world he imagined and the special effects. My husband dubbed it “Dances with Pteradactyls!”

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

While it doesn’t stir up the anger in me like @rpmpseudonym, I actually got up and walked out of the movie. I rarely do that.

The plot was infantile. The acting was sub-par. The special effects were ho-hum.

I really disliked it.

MissAnthrope's avatar

The story was not that special and pretty obviously allegorical in relation to the whole Native American/White Man story. However, I have a pretty strong affinity for Native Americans, so I was able to get into the story and the world pretty well (going along for the ride without thinking too much). The visuals, the world, the effects, all of that, I loved. I thought that part of it was awesome. I was very impressed at how far 3-D has come, from the old blue and red glasses you used to get. Also that it’s no longer totally gimmicky, like things flying out at you randomly just to make it ‘3-D’, but that it feels truly 3-D, like you’re in the scene in the film. I find that really cool and very immersive.

The Na’vi were pretty cool, as well. I thought they were beautiful and graceful, and I enjoyed watching them just move around. The fantasy aspect was cool, too. Plus, it has Sigourney Weaver in it, and I will pretty much watch anything she’s in. :)

Anyway, Avatar is not really my ‘best film ever’ or anything, but I had a great time watching it (twice, due to really poor seating the first time), and enjoyed every moment.

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

Just to give some rational reason to my anger… (I promise I’ll stop after this).. Avatar – The build up.. the anticipation..the massive budget…the cutting edge technology…the ten year wait..the big name writer/director..some big name stars…all of this should have amounted to a movie that would change Hollywood as we know it. It was building up to be a movie that would change the industry & would break the mold of old 35mm & digital rules. But it didn’t. It seriously wasted everyones time. Yes, it is the highest grossing movie, but it’s popularity & cash flow doesn’t define its effect on the movie business. Avatar was.. just another movie. It came, it went, now it’s gone (except for the occasional Fluther question). The only somewhat usable thing to come from the process, was the camera he designed to view CGI in real time during live action filming… but really, that’s not a game changer. A great story isn’t created with a fancy camera.

So, as a fan & fellow worker of the industry, this was just a half billion dollar slap to the face. James C. took the money, made a mediocre/lazy film at best & let the hype do the work. For those 10 years he shelved the project (waiting for the technology to catch up) James C. should have been working the screenwriter part of his job, perfecting the story & creating the greatest tale ever told (what Pixar seems to do every 365 days, bless you Pixar). Instead, he just let the trite story sit & now he has a bank account big enough to build a real Pandora.

-Done.

BoBo1946's avatar

such a mixture of reviews on this one!

DominicX's avatar

I never saw much of the hype, so when I saw it, I hadn’t heard much about it. Saw it, loved it, now have it on DVD. Is it the greatest movie ever? No. Does it deserve a spot on the upper half of the Top 250 movies of all time on IMDb? Probably not, to be honest. But I liked it.

filmfann's avatar

Terrific special effects, rehashed plot from Dances With Wolves.
South Park got it right by calling it Dances With Smurfs.

ipso's avatar

The movie suffered significantly from overly drawn characters. The bad guys were so bad they were bad-bad. Dear GOD was that General a bad man. That almost destroyed the film for me.

And the allusions to feathered native American Indians yelping and riding bareback with bows and arrows was distracting from what otherwise would have been a pristine, entirely unique, world. (Was this movie intended to be a modern Western?) That aspect was unimaginative – which is a devastating allegation in this context – and in direct contrast to the ultra imaginative set design. At one point I was sure I was watching a remake of Pocahontas (1995) miscast with African Americans.

But the spectacle of really good 3D and technical execution carried the day. It was spectacular! – at points even transcendent! To say the special effects were “ho-hum” ^ is retarded. Well.., maybe you saw the movie in 2D on a 20 inch screen, or just have no ability whatsoever to comprehend what you just saw relative to everything that came before it.

I’m not a huge fan of the movie, but I find it interesting that every person I know who truly dislikes the film really does not like the pagan worldview glorified in the movie. That is extremely threatening to them. Their congregation is in cahoots to denounce the movie. I’m curious if they are carrying that ax to grind. maybe only one here

The other thing is just straight hatred and mistrust of success. “How can this possibly be the highest grossing movie in the history of movies?” “What is he doing with all that money?” “No one deserves that much money.”

I think “hatred” of the movie comes from there – not as much the quality of product.

BoBo1946's avatar

@ipso yes, the general was “over the top!” Overall, i liked it!

Seek's avatar

It was exactly what it was supposed to be:

A very pretty movie, with a very predictable plot with just enough love story to attract the women and just enough action to appeal to the men.

It raised a lot of money, and sold a lot of merchandise.

I hated every minute of it.

The reactions of the characters to the major plot points of the movie was a major let down for me. I mean, girl watches her home burn down, her sacred place destroyed, and holds her father as he dies, and three minutes later she’s shouting “WOO HOO!” with a big smile on her face, having the time of her life flying this dragon around. Right.

Dances with Blue Fish-People.

MissAusten's avatar

@marinelife I totally agree with your husband! After we watched it, I told my husband, “That was like “Dances with Wolves in Space.”

I have to agree with the negatives here. Visually, the movie was good. I didn’t see it until it came out on DVD, so missed the 3D aspect of it. Maybe that would have made it better. While the special effects and scenery were impressive, the story ruined it for me. I didn’t hate it, but I will never watch it again. I didn’t understand all the hype, or all of the gushing reviews from people I know who saw it multiple times in the theater.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@ipso You wrote about me, “To say the special effects were “ho-hum” ^ is retarded.”

I was expressing my opinion. Your personal attack against me is insulting.

You have no idea where I saw the movie. You don’t know anything about my background. You don’t know anything about my at all.

You go on to say, ” Well.., maybe you saw the movie in 2D on a 20 inch screen, or just have no ability whatsoever to comprehend what you just saw relative to everything that came before it.”

Your insinuations about my educational background continue the insult.

MissAusten's avatar

Oh, I also get a little fed up with the “myth of the noble savage” theme. I was disappointed to see it played out so flagrantly, with absolutely no attempt at originality. :(

ipso's avatar

@hawaii_jake you are a square cat. I apologize for being insulting.

ragingloli's avatar

You mean “Pocahontas in Space”. Yeah I have. Good visual effects. The rest was substandard.
Watch this review made by an actual film maker why it was:
Here

janbb's avatar

I didn’t even think the special effects were that special. And I did see it in 3D IMAX.

Qingu's avatar

Avatar was the awesomest motherfucking movie I have ever seen.

@ragingloli, do you field the same criticisms of Star Wars, which was every bit as derivative and predictable as Avatar, if not moreso? Both movie’s plots get the job done, the “job” being to present an astonishingly original and awesome “world” in a way that advances the art of cinema. Cinema is so much more than plot or characters; the “point” of a movie, I think, is to present the audience with a lucid-dream-like experience. The amount of artistry and skill that went into this movie more than makes up for any shortcomings its plot had, which weren’t that much in comparison to the vast majority of movies to begin with.

Qingu's avatar

By the way, “Dances with Wolves,” “Pocahontas,” “The Last Samurai” and many other stories are riffs on a mythic trope. There are countless works of literature that feature a similar plot setup, with an enemy outsider being taken in by “natives.”

Similarly, the plot to Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and almost every single fantasy book post-Tolkien and many sci-fi books, is also a mythic trope, called the monomyth.

ragingloli's avatar

@Qingu
Let me say that I am in no way a fan of “prince saves princess from evil wizard in space” Star Wars, but at least the characters were interesting and the plot was not sacrificed to overindulgent FX. (The original three, the new trilogy is bloody awful).
District 9 managed to absorb you into its world, too and it did so without sacrificing plot or characters to excessive visual effects. It was also a much better movie than Avatar.
The Star Trek TV Series, too, managed to draw you in with their great stories and characters, with visuals being complementary. Today’s movies have degenerated in a way that makes the visual effects an end in itself, a trend started incidentally by George Lucas the hack, and you end up with creative disasters like the Star Wars prequels or the bloody awful 2009 Star Trek movie.

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

Sorry to come back, (hush hush, I’ll make it quick) but @Qingu, if you really believe “Cinema is so much more than plot or characters” than I feel sorry for the quality of movies you have been watching. If people start the process of movie making & put story arcs & character development on the back burner… I’m sorry, but you have already failed the process without shooting a single frame.

Yes, a subcategory for films can be, to transport the viewer into a ‘lucid-dream-like experience”, but they can do so with great story & realistic characters.. Examples being, Across The Universe, Donnie Darko, The Fall, The Labyrinth, Pans Labyrinth, Big Fish, Spirited Away, The Fountain, The City of Lost Children, The Nines, Micmacs, Mirrormask.. I can keep going if you want, just ask & I will give you 50 more. Each one of these has the ability to transport you to another world without abandoning a thought provoking & well written story & characters you love or love to hate, that are more than just bad actors telling you the lines as if reading from the page.

Qingu's avatar

@ragingloli, I think Avatar’s characters can go pound-for-pound with the original Star Wars’ characters any day. Both had blank heroes (Luke was obnoxious even by 70’s standards). Han Solo was rad, but then so was Sigourney Weaver’s character—something which is often overlooked by critics, she’s one of the few positive scientist figures in cinema. Darth Vader was cool I guess, but most of that was his costume. Col. Quaritch had the single best entrance to a fight scene in movie history.

I find it amazing that you are critical of Avatar’s plot but not District 9, which is the exact same trope—an outsider becomes one with the natives—and an even more transparent political statement. District 9’s camerawork was also hackneyed and made me physically ill.

Finally, I think you have a pretty rosy view of the Star Trek series.

@rpmpseudonym, I think good plot and characters are necessary, but not sufficient, for a movie to be great. I thought Avatar had a good plot and character. It didn’t have great plot and characters—but neither did Star Wars, and I’d class both films as some of the greatest of all time.

Donnie Darko was lame

ragingloli's avatar

@Qingu
Political statements are fine in movies. In fact, they are the things that should be in movies. What matters is how you deliver the message.
What makes D9 different from your trope is that the protagonist does not actually become part of the alien culture. He does not mess around with one of their females, he does not become their greatest hero and he does not start to identify with the culture. What is happening is him being thrown onto the receiving end of the stick and doing everything he can to ensure his own damn survival. Even near the end, he willingly betrays his helper by hitting him over the head and tries to steal the space ship he built. The only reason he turns around at the end is his conscience forcing him. He was a selfish scumbag throughout the movie with a slight hint of redemption at the end. You will also notice that the aliens are not portrayed as harmonious, peace loving, beautiful people, like they are portrayed in Pocahontas/Avatar.
Instead they are ugly, violent insectoid monsters living in a shanty town, that crawl around in the garbage, get drunk, vomit on the street, have sex with human prostitutes, feed off cat food and kill people.
Both the aliens and the protagonist are portrayed in a way that you would normally hate them, but you start to root and care for them anyway, which is something that is quite hard to do.
On the other hand you have Avatar, where the characters are specifically designed in a way so you hate/love them. There you have the crew-cut wearing racist white military leader, the asshole greedy CEO and a 17th century mentality military full of bloodthirsty rednecks and on the other hand the peace loving, harmonious Na’vi. And notice the visual design: Large eyes, animal features like the nose and the ears and sexual features like their general body shape and the lips. Specifically designed so you find them cute and get a hard on for the females.
On the one side you have D9 which uses the plot itself to make you care about the characters and hate the villains, and on the other side you have Avatar which resorts to stereotypes to make you like/hate characters.

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

@Qingu, okay, now I understand the conversation. I was arguing the mechanics of great movie making, which are standards set by the industry & how important they are. What you are talking about, is what makes you think a movie is great & why it’s not important for you to like it… which is subjective across the board. So, yes…a movie doesn’t need brilliant writing & characters that make you believe everything they say, for it to be consider a good movie…for you. You will like it regardless of these features, based on your taste. But you are aware that these elements are crucial in making a good movie. Okay, settled.

Quick note on District 9.. In every aspect that Avatar failed..Disctrict 9 excelled to the max. Story & character were so important & vital for District 9 to work effectively as a believable film. Avatar relied of fancy 3d & blue people – thats it. District 9 had to balance everything so perfectly, that a single line of dialog could disrupt the entire atmosphere. The big difference with District 9 & the other films with similar plot points..the guy in District 9 didn’t choose to be apart of their colony, he was forced beyond his control. Which makes for a better story & provides great character development (see where that comes in handy).

@ragingloli “Avatar which resorts to stereotypes to make you like/hate characters.” Slam dunk.

Qingu's avatar

@ragingloli, the white guy in District 9 is the only entity in the movie who gets to use the alien’s magic power armor; that strikes me as sillier than the white guy getting to get it on with one of the aliens.

The Na’vi were not portrayed as entirely harmonious; they are fairly ignorant and stubborn. (Though, I don’t think it’s entirely fair to judge the Na’vi as if they are merely an analogy for native Americans—they have special powers that the real native Americans lacked. They are more like elves than native Americans). I thought that the aliens in D9 did look “ugly,” but they had those big, wide adorable eyes, especially the intelligent alien.

It’s interesting that you are criticizing Avatar’s villains for being stereotypical when the colonel in D9 was just as stereotypical, less enjoyable to watch, and a worse actor. I mean seriously, the bad guys in D9 weren’t mustache-twirling evildoers? I had far less sympathy for D9’s corporate villain than I did for the corporate guy in Avatar; and Col. Quaritch, in another James Cameron movie, could easily have been the “hero.”

I wouldn’t mind your criticisms if they were consistent with your views on other movies. I think it’s pretty clear you have a double standard with Avatar.

@rpmpseudonym, I feel like Avatar is the movie version of the band Led Zeppelin. Led Zeppelin was fairly unoriginal, occasionally plagiarizing from older blues songs. But the style of their music was revolutionary, and “awesome” in a way that few things at the time could match. Awesomeness is an elusive quality in art, difficult to define, but it’s one that I think deserves appreciation.

meagan's avatar

I really hated it. I feel like if everyone would have been bombed and the Na’vi resembled Japanese people, it wouldn’t be acceptable.

So I’m not sure how everyone thinks that its okay to make a movie which is really based off of Native Americans and slaughter them in front of us. Maybe I took the movie too personally, but still… I couldn’t see the forest for the tress, I suppose.

Qingu's avatar

@meagan, I don’t understand your criticism. The movie wasn’t celebrating or advocating the bombing of the Na’vi or their real-world analogues.

meagan's avatar

@Qingu But Native people in history really were slaughtered by “the white man” for selfish reasons. Basing the Na’vi people off of American Indians… I really could have done without it.
I understand what everyone else is saying, how they enjoyed it, but it just left a bad aftertaste in my mouth.

It is a beautiful film.

Qingu's avatar

@meagan, but the movie is extremely critical of that slaughter. Almost preachy, some would say.

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

@Qingu, agreed. Art direction in Avatar, set a somewhat new standard in film… it’s why Mr. Cameron waited 10 years to do the film. So I would hope, postponing a movie for a decade, for the purpose of art direction..he would come out on top in that category. Some scenes in Avatar looked really good. Thats just mere aesthetics. A movie needs more substance than that. I can go to an art gallery if I want to look at pleasing pictures. When I watch a movie, I want every element to contain a quality of “awesomeness”, not just art direction, otherwise I will be bored out of my mind.

“Awesomeness is an elusive quality in art, difficult to define, but it’s one that I think deserves appreciation” – It did. Avatar won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects & Best Art Direction. But to whom does the Oscar go to (in same year), for what I consider to be the better qualities in movies? Hurt Locker won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, Best Director & Best Picture(with 3 or 4 other wins). Remember a great movie starts out as 12 size font on a page. A great story is the basis for any great movie. If the writing is a mess – everything else will fall apart & never come together.

I’ve said enough on the subject. We’ll agree to disagree on the matter. It’s obvious we both know that it takes a lot to make a good movie & even more effort to make a movie that would be liked by all. Let’s just hope that for James C.‘s next movie he will spend a lot more time crafting a brilliant & original story & less time worrying about the CGI & whether blue people will come across as ‘real’.

meagan's avatar

@Qingu I know that. But still, its just not something I would enjoy.

Qingu's avatar

@rpmpseudonym, Avatar’s awesomeness isn’t just in pleasing pictures. It’s awesomely directed. The fight scenes are flippin’ awesome. The climactic battle is the coolest fight I have ever seen except perhaps for the ones in Terminator 2, and those are dated now. The battles—unlike most movies, especially CGI—have weight to them. There is believable gravity. People aren’t just randomly flying all over the place. Cameron shows where everything is in the frame; everything moves believably, feels heavy. When Jake shatters the mecha’s windshield, it feels absolutely real. It is extremely difficult to direct good action scenes, and many in Avatar were the best I’ve ever seen. (The exceptions were early on—running away from the panther thing, fighting the pack of wolf-things; I didn’t like those that much.)

But even apart from the action—I think it’s unfair to dismiss the world Cameron created as “mere aesthetics.” Even if nobody was fighting, the world was utterly, hauntingly beautiful. There’s nothing “mere” about it. Many people, if not most, go to see fantasy/sci-fi movies to escape into another world. Avatar’s world was more fully realized, more immersive, and more beautiful than any other in the history of cinema. CGI is only part of it—hundreds of artists poured talent into this, into the overall designs and the nitty-gritty details, and Cameron (as a director) had to figure out the ideal way to frame each shot.

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

@Qingu, okay. A simple recommendation…add a bit more variety into your movie watching. Your current & past examples are not the best reflection of specific scene references. Avatar certainly isn’t the best representation of cinematic effects, but with what movies you have possibly seen, maybe it is. From my back catalog of films I have seen in my life time so far…Avatar ranks really low with it’s achievements when compared to what I have seen. In the past 5 years, yes, Avatar has done pretty good in consideration, but go back another 10, 30, 50, 100 years in film history & Avatar becomes pretty weak. So give some breadth to your movie experiences & see what else is out there. You will find some truly great things. I’m pretty burnt out from this topic, so you have yourself a good day & continue to enjoy the movies & fight for your opinions, I’ve enjoyed this little crossfire. Until we meet again on another Fluther topic (maybe in agreement next time :) talk with you soon. It’s been fun.

Qingu's avatar

I used to be a pretty big film buff, dude(tte). When we meet again, perhaps you’d care to drop the condescension? :)

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

@Qingu, Apologies if my writings carried the weight of a condescending tone. Never my intent.

Guess what?! Found a subject we agree on. I see you commented in the post about Mario games. I too think Mario is video game genius & Zelda is right up there with it. We can get along. :)

Qingu's avatar

Hrmph. If you like awesome videogames then why don’t you like awesome movies?

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

@Qingu Two very different mediums, with two very different sets of guidelines when considering ‘greatness’, all of which is for another post, not here. :) Let’s just pray the day comes when Mario & Link can go on an adventure together, with Yoshi & Epona as their trusty steeds. (Brawl series don’t count)

BoBo1946's avatar

who is winning this one?

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

@BoBo1946, James Cameron won this one. In the end, he is filthy rich & I still do my own laundry. :)

mattbrowne's avatar

One of the best movies ever.

BoBo1946's avatar

@mattbrowne totally agree…a few on this question did not think so! that is what makes the world swirl!

mattbrowne's avatar

Of course the story as such can be seen as good, instead of very good or excellent. Still, I like the notion of a paralyzed hero displaying bravery and heroism.

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