Avatar: not as great as all that

I just saw an ad that they’re re-releasing Avatar with extra scenes. It’s being billed as the “greatest movie of all time!”

That is just plain ridiculous.

Now don’t get me wrong, Avatar was a beautiful movie, visually. It was fun to watch.

However, it was badly written with no plot or character development. People argue this with me, but give it a minute and think: after the first ten minutes, you knew exactly who was on which side and how the story would go. No one changed, no one grew (c’mon, you didn’t see the Jake thing a mile away?), and if you’ve seen any version of “Pocahontas” it should’ve taken you about half that long to get it. (I’m not the only one who thought so, either.)

So why does everyone go on and on about it?

Well, it touches on two hot-button topics: war and the environment. You can sum up Avatar as “War, Bad! Environment, Good!” and get the main point. The movie hits you over the head with this message, it’s so blunt.

In terms of bad writing, I offer the scene that first drew me out of the movie: when the character Grace, who has been living on Pandora for years with the mining operation, goes into a room with a man she has also known for years, they spend ten minutes explaining to each other why they are there. If they don’t know why they are there after all that time and need to explain it to one another, then they have some serious issues. No, it was just a plot dump of the worst kind. A cleaner method would have been for the new recruits to get a briefing… or for the people of Pandora to do some recon… or for Jake to stumble upon the lab and have to get an explanation…. or for us to discover it through the course of the movie. I could go on, but the point is that plot dumping is lazy writing. Basic writing technique is “Show, don’t tell” and this movie was nothing but “telling” in terms of plot.

So there’s my two cents. If you want a nickle’s worth, just let me know.

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