Tag Archives: Movie

Avatar

I finally watched Avatar, because some people wouldn’t shut up about how great the movie is. I normally avoid mega-hits like this as if they were the plague, but I tried to be unbiased going in. And guess what? It was a terrible movie: Terrible characters, weak pacing, crappy story, bad world-building, predictable plot, and a garbage pop song after the inevitable and totally obvious ending.

Last time I listen to your advice, Internet!

There are some specks of light in the deep darkness that is Avatar, though: The marine Colonel was cool (the actor basically revisited this role in Terra Nova, where he was also one of the few highlights). Some of the visuals were very impressive, especially the landscape. And the Mecha were pretty awesome; use these for a Starship Troopers remake, please.

I gotta say I am in awe that this thing became a blockbuster. Marketing, I guess, coupled with the inherent stupidity of the unwashed masses – the same reasons Harry Potter became a hit.

Some specifics:

  • The movie couldn’t decisde what it wanted to be, and in the end turned out to be Science Fantasy. You know, a fairy tale. Definitely not science fiction, no matter how far you stretch the term.
  • Unobtanium is a sci fi joke. Don’t make a joke a central plot point, unless you intend to go for silly. It may seem cool at the moment you write it, but the joke quickly wears itself out.
  • Floating mountains? Yeah. Okay. Outland called and wants its pebbles back.
  • If the guidance systems and even simple radar do not work, then how can the electronics needed to connect Sully to his Avatar work? This is a plot hole big enough to fly an entire fleet of those big-ass transport planes through
  • A daisy cutter is an actual bomb, the BLU-82. Why do they have to use palettes of dynamite 140 years in the future, if they have access to pretty much every other toy in the catalogue?
  • None of the Na’vi should have survived the felling of the Home Tree, and frankly, the movie would have been better for it.
  • Please hide your native Americans and their alien horses better next time, or at least don’t claim hitherto unseen heights of world-building if you can’t deliver

Oh well, at least now I can talk back the next time someone tries to coerce me into watching something.

John Carter of Mars

I knew that a John Carter of Mars movie was being filmed – I didn’t know they had already released a trailer. Behold:

Now, I am a huge Edgar Rice Burroughs / Barsoom fan. Considering my Arnaron setting, this is probably not a surprise to my readers. I do realize that the worldbuilding for Barsoom is naive (at best; the phrase “thrown together” comes to mind) but it’s a strong archetype, and the stories are an easy, fun read. Besides, wouldn’t it have been exciting if Mars had turned out to be littered with ancient ruins?

There are a few nits I have to pick with the trailer though.

  • The Green Men of Mars look retarded. What are those things off the sides of their heads? Makes them look like puppies. Strange, evil, twisted, alien puppies, but still puppies.
  • The John Carter actor displays the Charisma of a loaf of bread in the trailer. He doesn’t look butch enough to be John Carter, either.
  • Dejah Toris looks like a “competent woman” in the trailer. Okay, a useless damsel in distress is probably less exciting to watch, and of all the dramatic license they could have taken this is not the worst. But John Carter saves the princess; it’s what he does. I surely hope that they didn’t make her too competent.
  • On that subject, she doesn’t quite look red enough.
  • And on that subject, nothing does! This is not a nit, it’s gonna be a gripe. The landscape does not look like Mars. Seriously guys, it’s the American West. When John Carter wakes up I first thought this was still on Earth. “He is supposed to be lay in a cave, not the desert, damn it!”, I thought – until I realized he was already on Mars. The fake looking plants kind of gave this away. The following shots, with the ruins and so on, they all look like Earth. They are nice shots, yes. But seriously, in this age of computer effects, couldn’t they have tinted everything in Mars colors? I am not even talking about the fake Viking colors we associate with Mars. Make it true-color Mars!

It’s still a definite “must see” for me, of course. And perhaps I should dust off my Barsoom pastiches before 2012…