Thursday, January 14, 2010

The old story

Curiously, Avatar may be a conscious expression of the
subconscious yearning for a new story that may be
behind the outbursts of rage and frustration referred to in
my last blog; hence, possibly, its box-office success. But
alas, it’s a truly appalling movie. I agree with Peter Calder
and indeed Karl du Fresne about its utter inanity and
internal inconsistency even by its own standards; and I
find Judy Callingham’s enthusiasm for it inexplicable.
She acknowledges that it’s formulaic but loves it all the
same. Well, yes, sometimes formula does the trick, like a
good detective story or an airport thriller. But $300 million
(at least) of formula? Come on. (Not to mention the $30m
tax break kindly donated to the cost of production by the
New Zealand taxpayer.) Above all, it’s a titanic failure of
the imagination. I think James Cameron’s Terminator
films are great fun, terrific action movies, but it seems he
used up all the imagination he had on them, and had none
left for Titanic, let alone Avatar. Yes, there is some
significance in the fact that the greenies are the goodies, as
it were, but that’s not exactly new either—think Dances
with Wolves
for a start—and in any case the idea is barely
developed before being discarded almost contemptuously.

[spoiler alert]

The supposedly unspoiled tribe of beautiful people at one
with nature triumph in the end because why? They’re way
better at (as Calder says) ‘blowing shit up.’ Brute force wins
the day again, and the last frame shows the greens on top
with guns in their hands. Meet the new boss—same as the
old boss. Imagine that.

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Giovanni said...

I think that line of Jackson's that Calder used in his review about film not even needing to be good anymore was a killer.

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