Avatar (marketed as James Cameron's Avatar) is a 2009 American epic science fiction film directed, written, produced, and co-edited by James Cameron and stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, and Sigourney Weaver. The film is set in the mid-22nd century when humans are colonizing Pandora, a lush habitable moon of a gas giant in the Alpha Centauri star system, in order to mine the mineral unobtanium, a room-temperature superconductor. The expansion of the mining colony threatens the continued existence of a local tribe of Na'vi – a humanoid species indigenous to Pandora. The film's title refers to a genetically engineered Na'vi body operated from the brain of a remotely located human that is used to interact with the natives of Pandora.
This is the follow-up Reasons why Avatar Will Suck:
Reason #6: The avatars suck
Initial assessment: “An avatar has the power to turn an otherwise decent, functional person into either a raving idiot or a certifiable freakshow. Naming the movie after one implies similar debasement — such a flick is already fighting an uphill battle against suckitude.”
Reason #5: The giant power armor sucks
Initial assessment: “Because, you know, nobody is going to shoot or direct smashitude at the part of your automated steel battlesuit that is either glass or totally exposed, right? If they did, you’d want to encase it in something that would offer you meaningful protection, and that would be too smart.”
Reason #4: The cats with human boobs suck
Initial assessment: I’m not talking about Aesop/Fantastic Mr. Fox allegorical use of animals to represent people. I’m not talking about Maple Town / Care Bears style “Let’s make our characters animals so they are furry and cute and make good toys” either. I’m talking about this Victoria’s Calico Secret, cheesecake made with a saucer of milk craziness.
Reason #3: Sam Worthington sucks
Initial assessment: Oh, it’s not that Sam Worthington is some terrible actor. The fact that he’s at least a decent actor is part of why he sucks. Other than playing a robot in a steaming pile of crap, his main claim to fame is a super-artistic movie that won all sorts of awards, but that he worked on for seven years.
Reason #2: John Smith / Pocahontas stories suck
Initial assessment: Every version of the John Smith / Pocahontas story I’ve ever seen treats her as extremely exotic. She has magical powers, she can talk to animals, she has a Sisters of Avalon nature virgin sex goddess vibe going on, whatever. She’s almost always in some sort of slinky imagined Native American garb — more than she wore in real life when with her people, but as it is for the sake of provocation, not accuracy. Pocahontas as superhot crunchy sex spirit is so ingrained in the story that, if the woman isn’t depicted as sexually exotic, if that isn’t one of John Smith’s main motivations in wanting to be with her, it isn’t a Pocahontas story.
But if the chief quality of Pocahontas is that she is extremely different from John Smith to the point of not even qualifying as human in any way he can understand, then she fails to build a bridge between peoples — their relationship fails to serve as a lever for communication, mercy and understanding. She actually just further “otherizes” Native Americans and advances the notion that they are not people in the same way white folks are people.
Reason #1:Box offices metrics suck
There’s some talk that Avatar is going to unseat Titanic as the highest grossing movie ever. I find this repulsive, both because this is a terrible way to judge how good or bad a movie is, and because, well, I use it all the time myself (this past year specifically in reference to the dark iron horse Fast and Furious) and I don’t want Avatar to win.
But, my hypocrisy notwithstanding, there are some very important things to take into account regarding Avatar’s box office numbers.
And that means Avatar gets to take credit for a decade and a half of seismic global macroeconomic trends, thong-butted cat people and all.
That is, a movie with a ludditic, anticolonial, antiglobalization, anticapitalist message made by a major corporation gets to use the spread of global capitalism, technology and corporate supply chain management as proof that its computer-generated message about a nature goddess resonates with real people (who are also cats).
Overthinkers, I can think of few sentences I have ever written that have sucked more than that one.