Thursday, November 05, 2009

Trailer Trash Tuesday Thursday: Avatar (Take Two)

I was kind of amazed when the second Avatar trailer arrived with such little fanfare.At least compared to the avalanche of hype that greeted the debut of the first one. That one landed with a thud of mixed reactions (I was not a fan), so I can understand why they'd want to tamp down on the expectations for this second effort.

So without the hype to be resentful of, this mega-trailer (three and a half minutes!) certainly looked like a marked improvement. The rousing buildup felt suitably epic. Sam Worthington's bland hunkiness felt unassuming rather than desperately overrated. Stephen Lang appears to be in Michael Ironside drag, en route to a role that will earn him a lifetime residency in the good graces of Aint It Cool News and CHUD partisans. It felt like an actual story (not a particularly original one, but whatever) rather an excuse for self-aggrandizement. It may not have crawled it's way up to the very top of my Must See list, but its prospects definitely seemed a lot sunnier.

That was my thought process at the halfway mark of the trailer. Then the Na'vi showed up and everything went Ferngully. Again. Look, I'm sorry. And I know I'm not seeing this footage "as it's meant to be seen," in 3D IMAX with James Cameron gently massaging your balls. But it all looks so silly. And the more I see of the plot, with the invading military forces drilling for oil mining for fortune rocks, and Worthington embeds himself with the enemy, but falls in love and goes native until he's found out, and Giovanni Ribisi playing the heartless bureaucrat, and blah blah blah, the less interested I become.

After Titanic, it's become impossible to criticize James Cameron for his piss-poor scripting, because it was just so obvious, and because Titanic was amazing anyway. And while it's way too soon to say for sure, I wonder if Cameron didn't take those lessons to heart, in all the wrong ways. Despite the grandeur of the technical endeavor, the animated footage all looks too slight. Cartoony, not to get all irony-intensive about it. Weightless. Showy, Empty. Stupid.

You guys, there's a slight chance I may not be an Avatar guy.


DuchessKitty said...

Omigod, thank you! Ferngully, TOTALLY.
I never got to see the first trailer so this latest one is the only taste I've had of the film.
And I don't get the hype. At all. I mean, huh? Why did this movie cost so much money? And take a hundred years to make? I am completely flummoxed. The story seems really trite and boring. The only way I'm seeing this in the theater is if I get free tix. Otherwise I'll wait to rent it on Blu-ray and watch it on the boyfriend's 60in flat screen.

Vance said...

I saw the trailer and halfway through it, thought it was some cheesy sci-fi straight to DVD film. Then realized it was THE Avatar everyone was talking about.

That's it? Other than Sam Worthington (I like them like Wonder bread, the blander the better), this looks so cheese and I can't see it reaching beyond the geeks and making back its money.

Stephanie said...

And seriously, James Cameron: FIVE "from the director of" credits? Just when I thought his ego couldn't get any bigger, he suprises me.

Hee... Ferngully.

Jon said...

Joe, you couldn't be more on point about this. I was so amazingly underwhelmed by all the "Avatar"-related stuff I've seen. And this trailer is the capper. Counting "Ferngully", we've seen this story so many times before: soldier goes to exotic locale, meets local indigenous hottie, falls for her and her culture and fights against his former compatriots. ("Dancing With Wolves", "The Last Samurai", and many others, including "Ferngully"). Yawn, yawn, yawn.

Robert said...

And I do enjoy the "you need to see it in 3D" defense (which has been leveled by serious critics who seemingly have lost their minds). Because as we know, a good movie is one that's a big visual spectacle and has nothing to do with, you know, plot.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree. I mean, if this movie HAS to be seen in 3D and IMAX in order to not look silly, then they shouldn't expect it to be a monster hit. IMAX movie tickets are quite expensive and if people watching it on a regular screen find it stupid-looking, then what's the point?

The plot is not onlyl soooo overdone, but already done in fairly high-profile movies that everyone still remembers. Worthingdon looks rather bored and both he and Saldana can't seem to hold a steady accent.

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