Last week I was one of the few people on this planet who still hadn’t seen the movie Avatar. With its release on home video on Thursday, I decided it was time to see this much talked about film. When I was at the video store, the clerk that processed my rental told me it deserved every bit of hype and all the accolades the movie had received. He really liked it. I just politely nodded. When I got home, I tried very hard not to think about what the clerk had said as I slid the VHS tape into my VCR. Oh, one more thing. The lady in front of me was asking the same clerk if from a picture quality standpoint there was anything difference between the DVD version and the Blu-ray version. The clerk said he thought the Blu-ray version might have had brighter colours but it was essentially the same. Really? Really dude? You might want to get your eyes checked if you can’t notice nearly triple the vertical resolution. Sorry, I’m going off on a tangent here.
So anyways, as the movie started, I tried to keep an open mind, free of any expectations for the next two and a half hours. When the movie ended, I noticed something quite interesting. I wasn’t really wowed by the experience of watching Avatar. This is noteworthy because everything I’ve read in the media points to this being a movie which belongs in the “epic” category.
That’s not to say I found the movie to be bad either. Avatar is a good film, there is no doubt about that. Unfortunately, I just didn’t feel it lived up to the hype that other epic films succeeded in doing so. For example, I found all three of the Lord of the Rings movies to be much more satisfying to watch. I remember sitting in the theatre after each one of those films and just being stunned at how awesome it was as a piece of epic of entertainment.
Even measured among Cameron’s own films, it’s my opinion that Avatar isn’t even his best work. I’d put Terminator 2 and Aliens far above Avatar. After I saw Terminator 2 for the first time, it was my belief that Cameron had redefined what an epic summer blockbuster movie should be. I was just so blown away that he had combined revolutionary CGI with a story that dared to be so audacious in nature. The whole movie worked so well in almost every way.
I did not get the same feeling with Avatar. Yes, the visuals were certainly breathtaking. There was a lot of crazy new stuff that went into making the movie from a technical point of view. It’s two and a half hours of pretty pictures. I think where I found the most fault was the plot. The story was, at points, somewhat predictable. It also borrowed from other movies. A lot of people have noticed the similarities between Avatar and FernGully, the animated movie from the 1992. Also,Giovanni Ribisi’s character as the on-site administrator for the mining company was essentially the same as Paul Reiser’s character, Burke (Carter J.), in Aliens.
While Avatar is the most commercially successful movie in the history of the film, I don’t think it’s critical acclaim will match its box office.