I had heard so many raving reviews from my artsy-fartsy friends, especially the animation majors.
So I went expecting it to be beautiful, awesome, amazing, mind-blowing, stunning, life-changing, epic. I had also, somehow, managed not to see a single preview
This is what Avatar is like
Imagine I were to take a really big dog turd and cover it in diamonds. Big, flashy, fancy, brilliant-cut diamonds. I mean, I just plaster that turd with all the diamonds the surface can hold. Then I put this sparkling poo in a museum.
Everyone just keeps going on and and on about how beautiful the diamonds are. The diamonds are expertly cut. They're flawless stones. They're huge. They're practically glowing with fire, which apparently is very valuable in a diamond. Lovely diamonds. No one is complaining that there's the slightest problem with these gems.
But HELLO people! Those diamonds are still sitting on a great big pile of dog shit!!!!
I don't care how pretty Avatar looks, that doesn't change the fact that it is so. INCREDIBLY. boring. The plot is predictable and falls back on every cliche the Sci-Fi genre has to offer. It is PAINFULLY plodding and unoriginal. Half the movie screams "Look, we were able to make a guy fly a weird-looking animal! So we did it! No reason except LOOK WHAT WE CAN DO!!!" Kills the plot. Also, some of the dialogue is so stilted and awkward, inducing deep, mournful sighs of pain or snickers at inappropriate moments.
The characters are wooden and poorly developed. Sam Worthington, the actor who plays the main character Jake Scully, apparently went to the Kristen-Stewart-as-Bella-Monotone-Voice acting school, because he displays about as much personality as Twilight's dull and witless heroine. Giovanni Ribisi, who plays the CEO of the Evil Corporation (I don't even remember the name of the company, oops!) did an OK job, but every time he appeared onscreen I thought "You're Phoebe's little brother and you probably just want some ninja stars. GO AWAY."
Honestly. Even if the film looks nice - and yes, I begrudgingly admit that the world looked fabulous and it's really just amazing what they can do with computers now - you can't substitute that for a decent story. If the characters aren't compelling, then who gives a crap how beautifully their digital skin is rendered?