Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Your Obligatory "Avatar" Review (Now Complete with Christian Fundamentalism!)

The Hendersons stepped out last night and caught an evening showing of this “Avatar” flick that the kids are talking about and we’re pleased to report that we had a pretty damned enjoyable time seeing it. It’s a helluva great spectacle, even if it can get a little overwhelming at times when the movie pretty much devolves into the “can you believe all the crazy shit we’re throwing at you?!!” trend of cinematography. A subtle movie this is not. It’s just a good rollicking epic with blue cat-like people set in a lush alien world.

Think "Lawrence of Arabia" in space and you’re on the right track. The prerequisite battle scene at the end of the flick is 20 minutes long and yes, it is assuredly mind-blowing. An immense and beautiful movie, “Avatar” is visually stunning—an experience probably very similar to what audiences felt seeing “Wizard of Oz” in Technicolor for the first time. Trust me, seeing this thing in IMAX 3D is absolutely the only way to watch this. Go check it out if you haven’t already. You'll be a far more entertained person for it and overall, a more valuable and productive member of society.

Speaking of productive, sometimes, after seeing a movie, I’ll scour the internet to get others’ takes on it just for giggles. There's an unwritten law that a movie this widely enjoyed absolutely has to attract the critical wrath of some recluse lunatics. This time, I’m pleased to report that I've hit the motherload of craziness. Via a site known as Movieguide, a Christian film review site that implores it’s visitors to “Help us bring God's light to an industry with much darkness,” I found this blurb:

AVATAR is a visually stunning, but slow, shallow and abhorrent, science fiction adventure pitting evil human capitalists against heroic, spiritually sensitive aliens on the planet Pandora, who worship a false diety and nature. Too graphically intense for children, AVATAR has an abhorrent New Age, pagan, anti-capitalist worldview that promotes goddess worship and the destruction of the human race.

Mmmmm, that's good crazy. I haven’t heard this sort of righteous indignation since “March of the Penguins” hit the theaters! Come on now, who wouldn’t enjoy watching blue aliens practice a religion that’s 50% Wiccan and 50% Al Gore? (humorless Christians, that’s who). I think we’d all benefit from a closer analysis of their review, don’t you agree? Continuing on…

If only someone had edited this movie, it may have been more interesting.

I’m pretty sure that after spending the better part of a decade making this movie, James Cameron took the time to edit it a few times. He’s the Howard Hughes of movie making for crying out loud. But it’s always enjoyable to learn that the full extent of Movieguide’s in depth cinematic criticism is: “just edit the freaking thing, that’ll fix it!”

Those who want to be blown away by special effects, or who are on drugs, may disagree.

Yes, and I most certainly do.

Great entertainment puts plot first, character second, dialogue third, idea forth, music fifth, and spectacle last, as Aristotle noted. James Cameron, the writer and director of AVATAR, reverses this. And, all too often, when you put spectacle first, you turn a great little movie like KING KONG into KING BORE.

Ha ha! A pun! An atrocious pun! But seriously now folks, visuals are more than enough to sustain a movie. Have you not seen “2001”? Couldn’t make it past the "Dawn of Man" opening segment minutes with all the monkeys, I’m guessing?

The Na’vi have a special hair like sexual appendage that enables them to physically connect in a spiritual, mental, and even sexual bond with the creatures they ride or fly.

I, like most other moviegoers who saw this, was thinking “oh neat, USB cords in their hair!” but leave it to those wholesome god-fearing types to find the kinky subtext in all this!

There are Na’vi versions of prayer and worship throughout the movie, which are presented as if they’re something noble and beautiful. In contrast, the only use humans have for God is to spit out his name in profanities.

Pardon me while I petition 20th Century Fox to cast Nick Nolte in the sequel. There were not nearly enough belligerent exclamations of “aw, Jesus Christ!” in the script for my liking.

This is a huge Christmas season movie. What audiences need to know is that the God profaned in this movie is real.

As opposed to the make-believe fluorescent Gaiaesque deity who is clearly the biggest threat to core Christian beliefs since Henry VIII went apeshit. Really? You people don’t have better fish to fry? Moving on, this is where the movie review pretty much devolves into a full blown Catholic mass:

The goddess and the spiritual concepts presented in the movie are fiction. The Spirit we need is the Spirit of Almighty God, our Creator, who is only available when we accept the loving gift of His redemption in the name of Jesus Christ, who is God made flesh, who died to pay the penalty for our sins and was raised from the dead to secure eternal life for each of us who accept Him. While we remain here, we are to be stewards of the other living things on earth, not equals.

Hm, yes. I see your point. And it is interesting. Counterpoint: Zoe Saldana is smoking hot.

The reality of life on earth is that there are millions of Christians who worship a loving and compassionate God. Christians who engage in free enterprise are not brutal and greedy. Many of them are kind and generous. They also support missionaries around the world who help the poor and the suffering.

Yep, that’s exactly what “Avatar” needed: Christian missionaries! Kindly folks who tell the blue skinned Na’vi that “yes, those USB cords in your hair are snazzy, but listen guys, I’m here to talk about Jesus.”

The major problem with this movie is that Cameron tells a story that hates people. This self-loathing eventually has the group think natives triumph over the evil human corporations and sends the humans back to a dying earth where they can all die.

Well, let’s be honest now, we do kind of suck. Have you seen photos of that massive floating garbage island in the Pacific lately? It’s twice the size of Texas and it isn’t exactly the Sistine Chapel…

Aside from the theological and philosophical problems with the movie, it is amazing so little attention was made to the dialogue and characters of the alien natives.

Believe me bub, this will not discourage scores of nerds from painting themselves blue and walking around next year’s ComiCon speaking the Na’vi language.

Even the names of the exotic items are ridiculous. For instance, the rare mineral the earth needs to survive is called “unobtainium.” The planet AVATAR takes place on is Pandora. Pandora is a moon that orbits Polyphemus. Thus, most of the names sound like they came out of a midnight session where everyone was smoking dope.

As opposed to this insightful film review, which sounds as if it was penned by Dana Carvey’s Church Lady character from SNL.

Ultimately, AVATAR is bad news. What the people in the movie need to deliver them from their greed and the aliens in the movie need to deliver them from their severe group think is the loving salvation available only through the true God, Jesus Christ.

I get the feeling that 99.998% of this website’s visitors uttered a solemn “amen” under low breath after reading that last paragraph.

Cameron’s anti-capitalist ideology is more dangerous than Michael Moore, whose recent anti-capitalist documentary will be seen by far fewer people. The truth is that we live in amazing luxury today under capitalism, compared to what we’d have if we lived like Pandora’s aliens. Would you like to get up each morning from a hammock in a tree and hunt for food with a bow and arrow? Capitalism can be brutal and ugly if the capitalist is brutal and ugly, but so can every other economic system. Capitalism can be a beautiful thing in a nation where capitalists live by God’s golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Ugh, that last paragraph would’ve made even Regan cringe. Furthermore, I’m pretty sure that modern Capitalism and the value system you’re preaching are essentially antithetical. And I’m assuming that your interpretation of capitalism doesn’t have as much to do with rewarding success as it does with “I don’t want to pay taxes. Ever.”

If you want to live in a kinder, gentler, more compassionate world, don’t go hug a tree or look for some earthly version of an Earth goddess. Give your life to God through Jesus Christy and let Him use you to reach out to those trapped in selfishness, greed, pride, and hatred.

As of this post, they still haven’t corrected the typo “Jesus Christy” which tells you pretty much all you need to know about these people. (Unless “Jesus Christy” is actually what they’re referring to him as these days).

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Jean said...

I cannot understand why did this movie earning so much. Too thin on plot too loud on cosmetic.

Rickey Henderson said...

You're 100% right, "Old Dogs" was vastly superior to this movie in every way imaginable.

Avatar has a very clear plot, just not a terribly original one. It was sufficient for what the movie set out to accomplish. Besides, from the start, everybody knew it was going to be all about the visuals.

Mrs. Smitty said...

Jesus Christy? Are the writers of the review 4 years old? I want to see it just to be able to say "I'm a Christian and I liked Avatar!" Much to the dismay of (apparently) all of my Jesus Christy loving friends.

Bob "Melon" Melonosky said...

I believe that the Christians that reviewed Avatar are a recent sect that have accepted the Governor-Elect of New Jersey as their personal savior. His given name is Chris Christy but he makes his friends and hookers call him Jesus.

Bob said...

Is it better to exclaim: "Jesus Fucking Christy"?

Smitty said...

I too saw the movie and agree with your assessment: I knew in the first 10 minutes how the movie would end and who would live and die. This was Dances with Wolves in outer space. But what counted most was, despite cliche plot devices and a story that's been done to death, I enjoyed how this movie got me from point a to point b.

Plus, the Marine part of me loves the helicopters flinging rockets and gunship firing thousands of rounds needlessly into the air. And if the Marines ever develop those robot suits, I am fucking re-enlisting right the fuck away.

As for the insane review, these people are nuts. James Cameron is indeed a commie pinko, but his movies are entertaining as Hell, which is why the Christies hate them. I love how they see sex and anti-Americanism in everything they see. Harboring some feelings of your own there fellas?

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Chris C said...

Since I saw the previews and heard about the basic plotline, I figured Roller Coaster film.

Fun ride and worth the cost of admission. Nothing wrong with that. :) Can't wait to see it.

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Mr Furious said...

Is Zoe Soldana also Uhura? Since I'm months if not years behind the movie curve, Star Trek is the movie I watched last night...

Is there internet demand for reviews of films ten months after they were in the theater? Because I'm now prepared to satisfy that demand!

steves said...

I am a Christian and I liked this movie. For some reason, this movie managed to piss off both sides of the political spectrum. Besides the whining from the right that says the movie was anti-American, anti-corporation, and anti-military, there has been whining from the left that this is just another depiction of some native population that has to be rescued by the white man and that the movie was just flat out racist.

Who are these people? I suppose I should be glad that I don't see movies with them .

RMatlack said...

Jesus Fucking Christy! I got this off the interwebs and watched it with my kids. Of course, subjecting my children to this movie turned them immediately into capitalist hating heathens. And now, after years of nurturing anti-religion and anti-capitalist propaganda - getting nowhere with it - finally a movie comes along that fixes all my worries. My children are fully converted to the Na'vi religion - and are goddess loving heathens to the core. Thank you James Cameron, you are way cooler than Kirk Cameron will ever be. I am now a proud father!

As always, I learn something new reading your blogs. This Pacific Garbage Patch reminds me of this. Maybe we should drive/sail out there and ask it questions?

Arvid said...

"Would you like to get up each morning from a hammock in a tree and hunt for food with a bow and arrow?"

Actually... seeing how the Na'vi live (fully inclusive society, no religious strife, no crime, the need of a military limited to a handful of "warriors" to protect the tibe) I wouldn't really mind, they seem to enjoy it. Where do I sign up?

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kamagra said...

Avatar was one of the best movies of the last year specially if you watched on 3D. But it is like Sector 9. That it criticize some aspect of the society.