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Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Avatar is an overrated, expensive, and average level film that is not as good as it is made out to be.

Avatar was hailed at the time of its release as a brilliant new addition to cinema, with its ground breaking CGI technology, to its heavily marketed 3d gimmick, It was seen as a successful film on many levels. Even I was impressed by it……for the first 5 months. Its was only after viewing It again on blue ray that I fully realised that the film was nothing more than a derivative, expensive, B grade film with a paint by numbers plot that is barely original by today’s standards.

The films story of a heavy military presence on an alien planet was a good set up for a genuine study of characters and the war ideology. But instead what we got was a sense of morals so thinly veiled that it comes off as pretentious rather than thought provoking. There is only good and bad in this film in terms of its characters morals, there is no grey ambiguity. The military is presented as completely arrogant and as the main antagonist, while the native Na’vi as the protagonists. The fact that the military is just straight up bad is one of the films major problems in my opinion, as its could have been a great exploration of how war can be fought with two different perspectives, but from the same people. The fact that in war there are those who fight for freedom and honour, but within that same sector, there are those who murder and destroy which in the process makes what their country stands for completely different.

Vietnam is a great example of this, as during that war there were a lot of massacres of innocent people at the hands of US troops. But this was only a small minority, not every single soldier. Avatar portrays it so that almost every soldier present in the film is some brainwashed patriotic moron. The films supposed allegory on the war on terror and the war in Afghanistan is so blatant in its symbolism that it barely counts as an allegory, its more of a plot point than anything.

The film utilises the worn out premise of the soldier that fights his own people, a premise done many times over the years. Its story is almost a exact copy of the one from Dances With Wolfs, and its themes are not balanced since there is no moral ambiguity, despite the fact that it references things that feature the exploration of moral ambiguity, such as Vietnam and Afghanistan. The film plays out like a watered down morality lesson for 5 year olds, and it patronises its audience with its bold observations of the American military, while showing disregard for the fact that not every soldier in the US army is a murderer.

James Cameron’s filmography includes The Terminator and Aliens, two films that had subtle allegory’s that encouraged though on some level. But James Cameron’s Avatar is not on the same level, as it makes its points so basic that it completely destroys the themes that it tries to convey. Films like Apocalypse Now have brilliant subtle themes and symbolism that is rewarding to analyse, and is at the same time a fascinating exploration into war hypocrisy and how an individual can change the conducts of war for their own agenda.

Overall I find James Cameron’s Avatar to be an overrated film that uses cliché and 1 dimensional characters to be its antagonists. Its story has been done many times before, and its themes ,symbolism, and allegories are so obvious and paper thin that they fail to convey on a level that is rewarding or thought provoking.

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