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Pseudo-Intellectual Superiority-Complex Wannabe Movie Critics - STOP IT
Angry
j_wingless
     So I am sick and freaking tired of hearing people go on about how terrible a movie is and then proceeding to reveal that their checklist of what makes a movie awesome shouldn't have applied to that movie in the first place! OK.. that may have been a little hard to understand. Let me clarify with examples: Person I (for ignorant) says, "Wow, Avatar was such a stupid movie. It wasn't even original, the plot was basic. It was so awful how they had to blatantly bash the green peace, eco-friendly message into the viewers' face. 2 thumbs down for Pocahontas in space!"

     No. Thou shalt die in a fire. Then I will cut you.

     Movies like Avatar, Transformers, and Crank should not be expected to be the next Shawshank Redemption. I didn't go to Transformers expecting a cinematic version of Great Expectations. I went to Transformers for explosions, gratuitous fan service (IE: Megan Fox), giant robots, giant robots fighting, and various combinations of those things. I go to Jason Statham movies because I expect to see crazy stunt driving (that he himself does, the badass that he is) and over the top action scenes impossible in real life. 

     I didn't go see Avatar for a great sweeping epic story with all sorts of aesops and morals to learn. I went to Avatar for amazing graphics, giant THINGS (space ships and alien animals) fighting, action, and perhaps some hot furry alien action. O.o WHAT? Don't judge me! I'd go blue for some of those native chicks. Doesn't help that Neytiri was modeled after Zoe Saldana. Mmm.

     I digress.

     The people I hear who complain about Avatar being unoriginal should be shot in the face patronizingly pat on the head and then pushed into a corner to never be heard from again. I haven't seen an "original" idea, storyline, twist, or character in who-knows-how-long. Does something have to be original and completely new to impress me? Most of the people in that camp that I hear complain that Avatar is Pocahontas in space. That's a legitimate statement. It is indeed VERY similar to Pocahontas. It's not like that story is particularly original anyway. 

     Guy travels to strange land to do X, Y, and Z. Guy somehow gets stranded on his own and is forced to survive in the strangeness he finds himself in. Guy is rescued by possible love interest female native. Who may or may not struggle with wanting to end the threat of the intruder. Cue motivating factor to save his life (His looks, sign from the gods, maybe our heroin is a pacifist). Female native then takes guy back to tribe to care for him, or maybe to pronounce justice. Oh right she's a princess/chieftain's daughter/priestess/wizardess. Somehow guy gets to live and natives proceed to teach him how to survive in the strange land.....

     See where I'm going? Yes, it's a hilariously apt comparison. Does it hold any kind of judgmental merit? No, no it doesn't, aside from the aforementioned originality argument. Unless you hated Pocahontas... :\

     Surprisingly, even with all that flak Avatar takes, it's a surprisingly good movie anyway. The main aspects of the movie (based on it's genre and director) like the graphics, the action, the characters, even the humor; those things are all great. And very little is left up in the air by the end. The secondary aspects don't suffer by a long shot either. The plot is engaging and, aside from being unoriginal, very well executed. The character growth is believable, the movie goes at a good pace, and any perception of the underlying religious or philosophical themes as heavy handed are merely knee-jerk reactions by people set in opposite camps. Like mentioning creationism to an outspoken Darwinist, or denying "Gay Rights". (See those quotes, see what I did there?).

     The religious themes handled in the movie are made moot by the fact that the aliens are part of a FICTIONAL world set in a FICTIONAL universe. Their goddess is something they can tangibly touch and interact with. So no it's not sending a message of green peace or being eco friendly. Considering their goddess and, the world by extension, is basically a living, breathing entity, the message is actually simply one of "don't harm sentient creatures".

     Avatar wasn't some incredible movie that changed my outlook on movies forever. It didn't change how I look at drama, narration, character development, or even sci-fi. (Though the 3d glasses changed how I looked at the world for like 10 minutes after I took them off. My glasses + 3d glasses is fun painful.) Avatar was, however, a fun, engaging movie that had all the right points of good in it's favor. But bashing it on originality or "heavy handed" imagery is bull. The first one because it makes you sound like a pretentious prick who needs a good dick punching/ovary kicking lesson in how to enjoy stuff, the second because it makes you look like a knee-jerking fundamentalist. 

     I've heard well defended points of view from people who didn't like the movie. It's cool, I'm still friends with those people. :P I'm not saying you have to like it. I'm saying dislike it for real reasons, not for reasons which are just excuses to be pretentious and uppity. Someone complained to me that they couldn't get into a movie like that simply because, as a human (they are I've checked), they don't like movies which portray humans as the bad guys vs aliens or whatever may be the case. That's cool, that makes sense. I can get behind that logic. Someone told me they didn't think the main character would have realistically "betrayed" his people for a giant blue furry. I disagree (she's freakin' Zoe Saldana), but I see where they are coming from. Those are good reasons to dislike a movie. Being pretentious is a good way to get your baby makers punched. You've been warned.

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