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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Space Remains of the Space Day in 3D. In Space.

In the alterna-world of Facebook, I have ragged on Avatar.  Not so much because it's not a fantastic visceral experience, full of awe and wonder, but because it is also godawful.  I am not recommending that people not see it.  It's fantastic.  It's just that it is simultaneously terrible.  The phrase "written and directed by James Cameron" is a little like a proud mother proclaiming in the same sentence that she has just given birth to and horribly mutilated a lovely newborn child.  The movie blows your mind at the same time that it deals a mortal insult to your intelligence.  

Well, Jeff Lipshaw has responded to those criticisms, and presumably others of like kind, in fine fashion.  Here's his post, and my title pretty well says it all.  It's a nice diversion.  Needless to say, however, I'm sticking by my guns.  (An apt metaphor in this case.  Cameron's respect for the oneness of nature, the sacredness of all life, and blah blah blah is roughly one inch thick and easily overmatched by his love of sweet bloody revenge.)  An action or sci-fi movie should be judged on its own merits and by its own standards, but it does not have to be high art to have at least a serviceable plot, dialogue, characterization, music, and acting, does it?  Just think of Tarkovsky's Solaris, or the shootout scene in My Dinner With Andre (which, I believe, is only available as a deleted scene on DVD, alas).

Posted by Paul Horwitz on December 23, 2009 at 01:51 PM in Paul Horwitz | Permalink


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Well put. Saw it this afternoon. I was simultaneously bored and over-stimulated (exacerbated by checking emails under a protective tent I created with my coat so as not to annoy anyone). It was visually stunning--I forgot about the glasses, and felt enveloped in the 3D world, but the plot was so pedestrian, and the ham-handed attempts at political overtones just plain silly. And, may I nominate the usually excellent Steven Lang for worst actor of the year as the overzealous army guy?

I was a bit gobsmacked when the audience broke into rousing applause at the end. But, I suppose the visuals overcome the script in the long run

Posted by: Tom Dillickrath | Dec 23, 2009 9:51:05 PM

As I mentioned over on Pandora, I mean Facebook, this should come with a disclaimer that I have notoriously pedestrian and bourgeois tastes in entertainment. I listen to "soft rock" (with the exception of "Bubbly" by Colbie Caillat, which takes even me over the edge), own a CD with both Pachelbel's Canon and the Adagio by Albinoni (the classical equivalent of Bubbly by Colbie Caillat), read Dick Francis "racing" mysteries, and have no clue what Steve Bainbridge is talking about when he reviews wine (I buy the "2 for $20" stuff in the front rack of the United Liquors store in Porter Square, and just enjoyed a fine bottle of Goat Do Roam - no joke - a South African vintage).

Posted by: Jeff Lipshaw | Dec 23, 2009 3:45:39 PM

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