Avatar ★★½

"We're not in 2009 anymore"

Remember when Myst was the best-selling PC game of all-time for several years? All that hype? Well, last night I undertook my long overdue 2nd watch of Avatar, in 2D on the small screen...you know the rest.

I grew up adoring James Cameron's films, so was very hype for this on release, and the 3D no doubt helped. But even by DVD release, many of us just weren't interested enough to part with the cash (setting aside that many of us had no 3D-capable television at the time). And it is easy to see why. This is just terribly empty when you take away the event spectacular. Sure, there are some technical Oscars which the film deserved. But maybe they should have attended more to the often painful story and dialogue rather than filling the (often ugly anyway) frame. This is poor on multiple fronts, aging even more rapidly and viciously than the DeMille spectacles of the past. I hope to god that Avatar was an aberration for Cameron, that Avatar 2 will learn from the mistakes made here (after all, his track record with sequels deserves some acknowledgement). Yet one can only bemoan how this represents his sole fictional direction in 22 years, such a waste, such a tarnish on his legacy.

My second and last viewing. In retrospect, thank god The Hurt Locker conquered Avatar in the David & Goliath battle for the Oscar that year, somewhat redeeming an otherwise inept 2008-11 Best Picture era. Here's hoping Avatar 2 has a far superior script and less inflated runtime.

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