Absent from the big screen for over a decade now, Oscar-winning director James Cameron returns armed with a reported half-billion dollars, a story he’s been desperate to tell for 15 years, and the very latest in cutting-edge visual technology. The result is “Avatar,” a sanctimonious thud of a movie so infested with one-dimensional characters and PC clichés that not a single plot turn – small or large – surprises.
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I call it the “liberal tell,” where the early and obvious politics of the film gives away the entire story before the second act begins, and “Avatar” might be the sorriest example of this yet. For all the time and money and technology that went into its making, the thing that matters most – character and story – are strictly Afterschool Special.What a crushing disappointment from one of our most original and imaginative filmmakers.
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Set in 2154, “Avatar” is a thinly disguised, heavy-handed and simplistic sci-fi fantasy/allegory critical of America from our founding straight through to the Iraq War. Sam Worthington is Jake Sully, a paraplegic Marine Corporal sent to the planet Pandora after the untimely death of his brother. In a plot-thread built up to promise much that never pays off, Sully has none of the training his brother benefitted by: years of schooling in the Avatar Program to prepare him to infiltrate the indigenous species of Pandora called the Na’vi, who are the only things between Earth’s RDA (Resources Development Administration) and a precious energy resource “ironically” called Unobtainium.
Read More: by John Nolte, Big Hollywood