Monday, June 7, 2010

Movie Review - Avatar

(Formatting may not work here...sorry.)
This is something new. I don't usually "review" movies on ye old blog, but hey I can do what I want.
I had read some really bad reviews about this movie. I won't link to any of them, because I can't remember exactly where I read them and that would take a really, really long time with my slow internet. Essentially most of the reviews that I read in Christian/Catholic media labeled this movie as "anti-Christian" and "anti-military". One article I read went pretty in depth about how this movie was aimed at our youth to turn them from God to "Mother Earth" and paint the United States Military as the "Evil Force" ruling us all. I decided I wasn't going to see it.
Months later, there was a preview for it on one of the movies we did own (I can't remember which one). Wobbers "just had to see" this movie. "Mom, it looks soooooooo cool!" I was like "sure, whatever". He tried to get me to buy it. He tried to get his grandma(s) to buy it (I informed them not to).
Finally, another Catholic blogger reviewed it on her blog and I decided maybe it wasn't so bad. She said "appropriate for teens, beautiful scenery, entertaining". Ok. But I still ain't buying it.
So I told Wobbs he could request it from the library. "That'll take forever Mom!!" And it did. But this week, it was our turn with the movie.
Here's what I think:
The movie was loooooooong. Really long.
The scenery was beautiful. Really, really pretty and very exciting to look at.
The story was entertaining, if not predictable.
I didn't really get a "turn from God to Mother Earth" vibe from this movie. There was some tree-hugging kind of crap talk going on, but it didn't seem like indoctrination to me. I just took it as "in this future fantasy world, these aliens feel attuned to the world around them, ok fine, nice story".
I also didn't really feel like the movie was "anit-military". Yes, the "bad guys" are the US Marines, particularly one giant a-hole commander. But I didn't feel like it was trying to push on the viewers that the military in general is bad or sucks. I just felt like it was showing me that in particular this certain commander was a giant jerk and cared about nothing but whatever his "commands" are and what gets him money.
Actually, speaking of of the characters in the movie talk about how this mineral they want to mine from the alien planet is worth about $20million/kilo. But they never talk about why they need it, or why the military is involved, or who makes the money, the government (?) or some private company (?). There are a lot of unanswered questions about the state of Earth in this futuristic world. Is just the United States interested in this mission? Is the whole planet falling apart and we need this stuff? What gives?
Obviously, James Cameron isn't really happy with the state of America right now. Maybe he wanted to push this through to us with this movie. I don't know. But I really found the movie non-offensive and just an entertaining story. It wasn't "the best movie I've ever seen", but it was good. (I don't know that as a parent I would invest 3 hours into watching it again. I just don't have that kind of time.)
Wobbers says, "It's was totally awesome!! It was the best movie I've ever seen. It's my new favorite movie."
It is rated PG-13 for "intense epic battle sequences and warfare, sensuality, language, and some smoking".
Yes to epic battle sequences and warfare. Sensuality? There's a kissing scene and then the aliens "mate", but the camera fades for that. Language....hmmm. Maybe some swearing, but swearing doesn't always catch my radar (too ingrained into everyday language for me to notice, sad I know). Smoking....yes. There is a character who smokes. Not sure why that affects the rating but I guess it does.
Very, very beautiful looking planet they created. Neat animals you'd never imagine. Ok for big kids. :)


Anonymous said...

Interesting. I've had no desire to see this movie at all. Still don't, but who knows... we're running out of choices.

I can see why military people (and promilitary) people might get offended... we don't like to see the military, which is full of selfless individuals, "represented" by an "a-hole" (and there are some in the real military. Heck, remember the Fort Hood shooting? That guy was pretty much an a-hole. Yup.) It's kind of how I felt when we watched Hairspray... Penny's mom, her rosary, her insanity... that gave me kind of an "oh, come on!" feeling... "I'm a Catholic mom who prays the rosary and I've never tied my daughter to the bed!" I'd never write a whole review of Hairspray based on that (I enjoyed it over all... who wouldn't enjoy seeing John Travolta dancing in heels?) but the Penny's mom scenes did leave me feeling a bit ... I don't know, aggravated? Something. At the same time, the character was to be extreme to be funny and make "a point" (not sure what the point is... all catholic women are psycho? Penny's mom is psycho?) So, yeah, I can get that some people are sensitive to it. I don't know how I'd feel about it in Avatar. I don't even know if I'll ever have a "feeling" about it. As I said, I'm really not interested in the movie anyway.

Thanks for balancing out the reviews! :)

Anonymous said...

I had the same reaction. My husband and i went to see it in 3d in the theaters, and the 3D part was probably what made it good. I was watching for the stuff I had heard, tree-hugging, anti-american etc. While I can see where one could get that, the fact that it happens in a totally fantasy world, it doesn't seem that relevant. I heard in an interview with James Cameron (Is that the right name?) that he meant it to be a statement political and environmental, but I was too busy enjoying it to notice. I am very conservative when it comes to the movies I allow my kids to see, but I agree with your assessment. If I had teen age kids, I might own it.

Anonymous said...

Yeah... the Penny's mom thing... if we can not take it too seriously, it's pretty funny. (that is not to "unsay" that it gave me some sort of a kinda negative reaction, but it was easily put into perspective when it is all said and done.) We really enjoy Hairspray. It's PG. You should watch it. John Travolta is a hoot as Edna.

"I left my iron on"