Avatar: Mind-Numbing Hollywood Strikes Again

Perhaps I was naive to get caught up in the hype. But I swear to you. I swear to you that reputable people told me to go see this movie. That I would enjoy it. That is was a must do.

These are people who know I don’t go see movies. That I average maybe one a year, at best. That I hate the whole experience of being locked in a theater with inconsiderate strangers, kissing teenagers and 25 minutes of previews. The smell of shitty popcorn and the incessant smacking on Red Hots and Mike N Ikes.

They knew how I felt. And yet they still urged me to go. They said it would be worth it.


I had high hopes. I slotted it in for date night and held Sal’s hand while we walked into the theater. I even smiled through all the previews and felt optimistic. I was happy. A movie theater! A childhood rite of passage!  I’m a teenager again!

And then the movie started.

I can’t decide what was worse – the shitty writing, the shitty acting, or the mind-numbing recycled plot-line with heavy-handed attempts at “deep” messaging.

It was like a bad mash-up of Dances With Wolves, Jurassic Park, and every awful “save the planet” action flick that has ever been made.  If you’re going to make a movie that terrible and that long then where the hell was Kevin Costner for crying out loud? And, while I’m at it – was that Rachel Ray flying the fighter jet?

If they’d thrown just two more bad Hollywood cliches into the mix, it might have been hilarious as parody.

“Oh, but the special effects!” they’re crying.

I know, I know. The movie wasn’t supposed to be a heady experience. And, I’ll admit – the visual experience was stunning. But, to tell you the truth, I could have done with a 30 minute highlight reel and two hours of my life back.

As it was, I think Sal and I both set an eye-rolling record. The poorly scripted and painfully predictable romance scene, the evil villain who just. would. not. die. The overwrought “pre-eminent force” speech scene with the faces of all those mindless, crazed and glazed military personnel nodding and smiling in agreement.

Don’t even get me started on the whole mildly offensive stereotypical representation of the “gentle savage” indigenous people.

…I really wanted to love Avatar.  Honest.

Instead, I left the theater feeling numb and jilted, trying to block out the memory of a whole night’s worth of bad lines like “You’re not the only one with a gun, bitch.” and “This ain’t over as long as I’m still breathin’”

But hey, at least I got to catch a steamy blue-alien sex scene, right?

Nothing better than blue alien sex.

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  1. Whenever anybody tells me to go see that movie, that I really need to go SEE IT RIGHT NOW, I think back to Titanic and how normally awesome people flipped a bit for that movie too, and I saw it and thought it was the worst piece of tripe ever.
    I remember Oprah yelling, “Rose! Rose! I LOVE Rose!”
    I am so happy that you wrote this post and saved me from a painful 3 hours and permanent eye-roll-itis.

  2. THANK YOU for this. I am exactly the same with movies. I see about one a year, if I am that adventurous. I have not seen Avatar… in 3D at IMAX or any other worthy or not venue… and now I know better. Thank you for saving me (or my date as it were) the money!

  3. As trite as Avatar is, Titanic is far worse.

  4. Ha! My roommate has gone to see it thrice now, and begs me to join him each time. Even my mother (who should know better) fell for it. Thanks for reminding me why I have resisted the hype!

    (And Titanic? That was my first date ever. ‘Shudder’)

  5. Its a kids movie really. Such a predictable story line.

    I hear you, I really do, but dont knock the popcorn!

  6. I’m glad that I didn’t read your review before seeing Avatar. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  7. You probably would have enjoyed it anyway. Things like this seem to fall into either you love it or hate it category.

    But you did say it yourself best on your blog – not an original plot.

  8. LOL Brian. AWOO!

    Sigh…Makes me wonder, Heidi, which movies you *did* like in 2009. I’d like a blog post.

    And, did you have your “3D” goggles on?

  9. Well, like i Said, I don’t see a lot of movies. The last movie that I saw in the theater (in the Baghdad WAY after it was released) was Slumdog Millionaire and *I fucking loved every second of it*

    I did not watch Avatar in 3D. That show started at 8:30pm and I wouldn’t have gotten home until, like, 1AM – which would probably have killed me.

    I’m old. Like dirt.

  10. I hate to say it, but the 3D is what made the movie. So sure the visuals were good, but 3D IMAX is the main reason I liked it. The story and acting as you said, terrible.

    You might find this funny, speaking of ripping of a plot


  11. I saw this last Friday night and, after the “WOW TECHNOLOGY” high wore off, I felt the same way about the substance of the film and realized that I had unconsciously been compiling a list of plot gaps in my head.

    If you haven’t read Roger Ebert’s commentary on Slate, its pretty funny:


  12. I saw it in 3D and liked it so much I saw it again in 3D Imax. I agree that it’s a rerun story and not very deep, but it is so visually dynamic. I’m thinking about going again.
    Heidi, leave all your baggage at the door and just enjoy it for what is is, a visual feast…
    Say “Hi” to Sal and everyone else for me…

  13. Oh yes. Just got to this. When it comes to movies, I distrust all but about three people. And not even they could convince me to see this movie.

  14. A ten-year-old told me “It’s like Pocahantas, but with better effects.” I’ve seen my last James Cameron movie. I thought the lead characters of Titanic were two of the most uninteresting love interests in cinematic history. I was ready for them all to drown just to get back to the rest of my life. And now this. And the money keeps rolling in, encouraging Cameron to believe he has a gift.
    The redeeming point of this movie–strong contender for what we’ll be for our annual Valentine’s Day Famous Couples party. We’ll either host as “Jake in the wheel chair and the blue alien chick with magic pony tail”, or as Tiger Woods and his wife. Last year’s “upper and lower GI” was a low point in our creative endeavors.

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