No Award for Avatar? No Surprise Here

No Award for Avatar? No Surprise Here

It may not be fashionable to diss Cameron’s highly acclaimed (and highly paid) “masterpiece,” Avatar, but after finally seeing it, I have to say that I didn’t see anything award-worthy aside from its CGI effects, which certainly isn’t cause for Best Picture.

I really had been excited to see the film. I hadn’t been able to see it before its video release due to some family emergencies that arose, and when we finally rented the film, my husband and I couldn’t wait to see what all the excitement was about. Both of us are big Lord of the Rings fans, environmentalists, and generally love movies, so we figured this would be the highlight of our weekend.

It was an okay movie. The effects and creatures in it were amazing, and we both love anything with fantasy elements and cool new beasts! I'll see any movie for these elements, and I did enjoy it for them and found it worth watching. That said, without these effects, the whole thing would have simply been a regurgitated Dances with Wolves, Pocahontas, or Ferngully in a lengthier, yawn-inducing form.

Where was the whole “ground-breaking” new concept I kept hearing about? Where was the amazing story? The acting was lackluster (and I normally love Sigourney Weaver, at least), the plot overused, the story bland and tiresome. A white guy comes in to help his fellow white guys infiltrate the natives, falls in love with one of them, and then “saves” them as, of course, they would be doomed forever without his help.

The effects were also something we’ve seen before—perhaps not the exact same creatures and planet, but certainly other creatures and worlds in everything from Final Fantasy to Shrek to Lord of the Rings. Honestly, I found Where the Wild Things Are to be much more ground-breaking and amazing than Avatar (it was my favorite film of the year as well, I’ll admit), and it wasn’t even nominated. Of those that were nominated, I felt that District 9 had earned best picture for the best overall plot, unique idea, directing, the whole shebang. To be fair, I have not yet seen The Hurt Locker.

Had Mr. Cameron wanted to something new and inspiring, he could have really done something revolutionary—he could have made the natives win their land without bloodshed, and instead with understanding and compassion. Imagine that! Or perhaps on their own terms rather than some impersonator’s? Maybe the natives could have been something incredibly different as well, instead of stereotyped tribes given tails and painted in blue. Could that powerful tree network have played a greater part somehow, making it a supernatural win rather than one of machine guns and war? Anything other than the same old story would’ve been great. I love environmental messages as much as the next treehugger, but when you start Steven Seagal-ing it up it pretty much loses its entire point, doesn’t it?