‘Avatar’ lacks luster to be considered classic

Luke Bruce, Editor-in-Chief

When “Avatar” was released 10 years ago to American audiences it obviously hit massive highs in financial success. Following its release the movie held its reign as the highest grossing film for the last decade. However, audiences were ultimately duped to watch a movie that would be unmemorable years later.

“Avatar,” a film released in 2009, featured Sam Worthington as a paralyzed former Marine named Jake Sully. In the movie, Sully travels to an alien world and falls in love with a native woman. Further on, Sully goes against his human counterparts in hopes of saving the alien world.

When thinking about “Avatar,” there is never too much to remember. The storyline is foggy action that lacks the luster. It’s ultimately very basic and one that audiences have seen before. It is along the same lines as “Pocahontas and “Dances with Wolves,” and even seems to steal from movies like these. James Cameron wasn’t trying anything new here; he was simply creating a story that would attract, not endure. Too basic to capture audiences, this movie obviously fell back to its use of technology of the day. However, simple advancements in CGI animation are not enough to make a movie great.

Audiences were ultimately duped to watch a movie that would be unmemorable years later.

— Luke Bruce, 12

Take “Jurassic Park” for example. The movie had impressive special effects for its days of release. Most importantly, its storyline and script were original. Spielberg created a story people would remember years later because of its originality. This is not the same with “Avatar.” It is a story that movie-goers have seen before. It becomes overly predictable in each progression of the storyline. It is quite obvious the focus of the movie was what could be done with 3-D special effects, not the story. In true Jurassic fashion, Cameron and the producers were “so preoccupied with whether or not they could” create a movie solely for special effects, “they didn’t stop to think if they should” (“Jurassic Park”). To stand throughout time, a film must create a storyline as the main focus. “Avatar” clearly is no such example.

Furthermore, this predictable story creates predictable characters. Predictable characters lead to terrible acting. This applied in droves to Avatar. Every character’s lines sound like they belong more in a video game than ever in a movie. Worthington is annoying, and his acting is cliche and subpar at best. The worst parts of his act lie in his boring take on video logs. They are something to fall asleep to. Zoe Saldana’s acting is the best of the film, but is obviously not enough to pull the weight of Worthington’s downfalls. Everyone else and their performances are disappointing. What script writer would rationally think it would be a good idea to use “We’re not in Kansas anymore” for a “groundbreaking” movie? Also the line “nothing’s over while I’m breathing” sounds like a jump into a Call of Duty campaign, not to mention the first person action shots. Audiences are expecting a film, not a video game. Surely a movie with a $237 million budget could do better.

With its terrible dialogue the movie goes even deeper into a dark hole. No hole compares to that of where the movie fails the most. “Avatar” is lost in its own identity. It can feel and look like an animated movie, then completely not be one. When it tries to merge the real and the animated forms, it visually fails to do so. It creates two worlds that even when together, seem miles apart. Cameron seemed to want to create one world being torn, but instead tore his audience as they had to focus on either animation or live action. It would be best to just choose neither at this point.

It is quite obvious the focus of the movie was what could be done with 3-D special effects, not the story.

— Luke Bruce, 12

Despite terrible focus, the film does have great parts. The special effects were groundbreaking for the day, especially in 3-D. However, this has not aged well. As stated before, much of the CGI is simply video game animation as looked at today. Honestly, “Space Jam,” was likely a better job at incorporating animation with real people, and I would definitely take Jordan over Worthington any day.

This animation being one of them, “Avatar” could have been improved in so many aspects. The story should have been better, and the lines were definitely not even up to standard. If more time had been spent to truly create a dynamic story, “Avatar” would have definitely been a classic. Ten years later, it is apparent the film is anything but that.