Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Frank Review of "Avatar: An IMAX 3D Experience" (2009)

The Short Version? Guilty white guy and noble savages versus evil military, all in CGI.
What Is It? Action.
Who Is In It? The Terminator: Salvation guy, Uhura, Ripley, Letty, Frank Buffay Jr., and more
Should I See It? Yes.

What some people don't know is, Michael Jackson conceived love children with Jocelyn Wildenstein, and that in the future, their offspring will have an orgy with the Blue Man Group and an NBA team. After even more incestuous sex, they will spawn a race of nine foot tall navy cat people who can reenact the "Billie Jean" video wherever they step. Oh, and at some point somebody used R2-D2 as a marital aid, because they can cold jack into, like, the global wildlife mainframe, yo. But don't worry, because even in this far off time, the same old cliché evil corporation/military/Hollywood liberal bullshit will still be just as familiar as it was when you slept through that anti-Iraq war movie from 2003. But it's cool bro, because everything else got their own fuck on, so there's hammerhead rhino and shit to keep your eyes moving.

To summarize, Avatar works well as a fairy tale and the longest, most finely rendered video game cut scene yet. Everything but the environments looks like it's made of rubber, but the actors playing aliens/Avatars have their faces well integrated into the CGI. This is less true of Stephen Lang, whose obviously motion-capped role of Brigadier General Jack T. Ripper couldn't have been less of an animated farce. Guys like General Ripper make the flick look like sci-fi, but nobody this side of George Lucas could so completely fuck-up and stupefy such an inherently intellectual genre, so that's just window dressing for a ham-fisted parable.

Sam Worthington, who played a cyborg in an abandoned James Cameron franchise, is a dumb unethical self-important cypher in this third person RPG. That's because Michael Biehn got fat and old, and because Americans love Australians who can't quite handle American accents (see also: Mel Gibson, pre-2000.) Sigourney Weaver, who played the heroine in a prior James Cameron film, reprises her role as Dian Fossey, because she also got too old to star. She's the tough but fair scientist who will get killed in the second act to increase audience sympathy. Don't call it a spoiler, unless u r dum, because it could only have been more obvious if she were the black sidekick or the veteran in her last days on the job. Michelle Rodriguez, who played the Vasquez role in a knock-off of James Cameron's Aliens (but with zombies,) plays the Vasquez role in James Cameron's retread of Aliens and The Abyss (but with even more heavy handed politics than a Romero zombie flick.) Giovanni Ribisi plays Carter Burke, the corporate scumbag, because Paul Reiser was too busy cashing his Mad About You residuals checks. Ribisi forces a totally over the top accent, but I still respect him as a diverse actor who can play a range of roles. He just read the script, and as soon as he learned his company was kill-crazy hot in pursuit of the rare material "unobtainium," knew how to play this stupid cartoon shit.

Joel Moore doesn't play the Bill Paxton role, and I can't figure that out at all. Was Jack T. Ripper the Bill Paxton part? This would have been a better movie with that Bill Paxton magic. Zoe Saldana doesn't play anybody iconic. Was she in the Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio part? The Dark Angel part? I just remember she was blue, talked funny, and I was never quite sure if that was a shadow or a cyber-nipple under that flower. Oh wait, she's just fuckin' Pocahontas! Duh! That also explains Wes Studi as the Indian chief, and that guy as the Apache dude who had a hard-on for Pocahontas and totally had it in for John Smith. Didn't you know this was a Western? It's totally, totally a five-hundred-million dollar B-western. And you people thought that shit couldn't make money. How many times have you watched Tombstone, right? Maybe not five-hundred-million dollars worth of times, but only because Val Kilmer didn't cough at you in 3-mother fucking-D. If Tombstone looked like extra-articulated He-Man action figures three inches from your nose, it could have made a brazillian dollars.

You might think I'm calling Avatar a bad movie, but that's horse shit. I love a good western, and I dig a quality barbarian movie, and I especially love ridiculously well meaning so-unoriginal-its-practically-plagiarism scripts. I swear, Paul W.S. Anderson's Resident Evil is my favorite guilty pleasure, and I really liked Extinction too (but not Apocalypse, because I gots some taste, dude.) At nearly three hours, your resistance will melt by the sheer force of good intentions and Old Hollywood craftsmanship.Child soldiers in the Sudan know this story backwards-and-forwards, and would critique its naive politics, if they had time. But hey, these bitches won't chop their own arms off, right?

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