Style Over Substance in James Cameron’s Avatar

I’ve been putting off re-watching this movie for a long time. The first time around I admittedly bootlegged it because I refuse to give money to this project. I wasn’t nuts about the story, but I thought in terms of the visual, it was enough to keep me occupied, maybe not for two and a half hours, but at least for part of it. Mind you, this was the height of the whole Avatar craze so I thought that maybe I was being unfair to it and the hype had somehow affected my viewing of it.

The second time I borrowed it from a friend because I wasn’t even going to spend the money that goes towards Netflix for this one. Much to my surprise, the second time around nothing changed. I’m always willing to give films a second chance, but re-watching Avatar proved to be a huge mistake. It just succeeded in getting me worked up and pissed off, not for the reasons of the movie like the desecration of the earth or the slaughter of a native people. I’ve lived in America long enough to know my own history and to be pissed off. I didn’t need some over bloated big budget movie to tell me how to feel about the atrocities that America’s founded on.

See, let me start by telling you why I refuse to give money to Avatar. First and foremost, it’s the most successful movie ever so I’m sure James Cameron can live without my 11 bucks. Second and more importantly, James Cameron’s movies for the most part have always been about style over substance. Sure, the effects are cool but I’d rather have a low budget sincere effort from a filmmaker than what Avatar threw in my face.

I mean, sure it raised awareness about the genocide of a people (in a way at least) as well as the effects that our constant globalization has on environments, but let me put it this way. To me, the movie feels like a man gorging himself on caviar, sweetbreads and foie gras only to go out and make a movie about starving orphans in a third world. I’d be much more impressed with the effort if it actually showed an understanding of its preachy, self righteous material.

Also, releasing a bare bones DVD and blu ray on Earth Day while announcing explicit plans to re-release it with more special features in November to hit the holiday market? That doesn’t make you eco-friendly just because you did it on Earth Day. It’s wasteful and extravagant and money grubbing so quit pretending like you’re on the side of the little man James Cameron. For all intents and purposes, James Cameron IS the man that the little guy is always struggling against! Still, he does make a pretty movie… albeit a trite plot and hokey dialogue, but eh, it’s pretty enough.


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