Friday, June 4, 2010

Off topic rant: Avatar sucked.

Husband here...

After a lousy day dealing with clients, followed by a typically rough toddler bedtime, I thought Wife and I could enjoy watching Avatar, which came yesterday from Netflix.

Six months or so I'd waited to see it. Work and kid responsibilities wouldn't let me get to the IMAX to see it when it first came out.

And damn me if it didn't just put the capper on a horrible day. The movie simply blows goats. Even though it was from Netflix, I feel like I should demand my money back from someone.

Fine, it had decent effects. But that's cost of entry for any big-budget sci-fi flick.


This post deals well with some of my basic objections, notably about the little battlemechs--and their idiotic knives:

Then there's the issue that humanity in the movie had mastered gene splicing to the point that they could make a human-Navi hybrid...but they couldn't figure out how to exploit the brain-to-brain interface that was apparently common to every single plant and animal on Pandora? That is a goldmine right there...they're still controlling their knife-wielding battlemechs with hand gestures.

But what really kept bugging me was one line--about how Unobtanium (whatever it is and whatever it does) was worth "20 million a kilo." Now, assuming they're talking U.S. dollars (and it would be silly to say they're not; otherwise why quote a figure to audiences in 2009?), it's straightforward to figure out what that means in modern terms.

Assume a fairly tame, consistent 3% level of inflation in the 144 years from today until 2154 when the movie is set. Thanks to the magic of compounding, that $20M/kg is only $283,445/kg today. By way of comparison, gold today is $39,195/kg. So Unobtanium is worth about 7.2 times what gold is worth.

For this they go to the trouble of interstellar travel? (Forget about costs of extraction and any qualms about oppressing the natives...) Ridiculous. Even if you assume space elevators (never shown/mentioned) to at least reduce the cost of getting cargo to and from Earth orbit.

Jam together any 3 episodes of Battlestar Galactica together and you have a better (and shorter) movie with a more coherent backstory. Yes, even if "Black Market" is one of the three.

One star. Shame on you, Mr. Cameron.


What A Card said...

Oh my gosh, we watched Avatar tonight, too, and I was so disappointed. Bunch of visual wanking with no story to back it up. The "sci fi/fantasy" was like a bunch of third graders sat around saying "and then there were dragon-pterodactyl thingies!" "Yeah, yeah, and, um, the mountains, they, uh, FLOAT!" "And big skinless dog-rats that hiss!" "Soooo cool, guys!"

The sci-fi lacked science and the fantasy lacked anything fantastic. Ugh.

At least we got it from Netflix, too, and I can console myself we only wasted 3 hours and not the money to have seen it in the theater. And to be fair, it sure was purdy...

A. said...

Did MommyEsq make it through the entire movie? I would think she'd crash halfway through given it's length.

Your post backs up my complete lack of interest in seeing Avatar. I have nothing against sci-fi movies (finally saw the newest Star Trek and loved it), but this one looked ridiculous to me.

T. said...

Apparently last night was the night to watch Avatar, because we watched it too! We TOTALLY agree with you - the movie kind of sucked. The story itself was sooo generic - like a conglomeration of several different kids movies. The special effects were good, I guess. I am not a special effects person. Oh well, at least it was Netflix!

Mommy, Esq. said...

It was horrible - what didn't make sense is that if Earth were dying we'd just come back en mass and conquer the planet - hopefully with the interface technology that Husband referred to. We did note some scenes that probably would have benefited from 3-D viewing but overall it was a eco-terrorist movie without any solutions (really, there was NO WAY to co-exist?).

Anonymous said...

Thank you for confirming my suspicions. I now feel justified in refusing to watch.

Donna said...

I saw it at the theater and I have to say I did enjoy it, but I have to admit that I was already primed - I knew the plot was extremely simplex and that it was a plot done a million times (much better - can you say Dances with Wolves). We went to see the eye candy - popcorn movie - expecting nothing for the brain. It worked for me - plus we saw it 3D which was extremely rewarding for a theater experience.

Jordan said...

Well I saw it in the theatre on opening night and I liked it a little more than you all did. The 3D stuff was really immersive and you just can't get that experience at home.

Nancy said...

I saw it in the theater as well. The 3D was KICK-ASS and totally made up for the lack of story. Okay, so maybe it actually *distracted* from the lack of story ;)

I have no desire to see it in non-3D form...the story wasn't great, and without the shiny distracting stuff...? no thanks.

(However, if it ever comes back to theaters to show off all that 3D stuff again, I'd *highly* recommend seeing it that way!)