Friday, December 11, 2009

Hating on Avatar (Pre-release Edition)

We are a week away from the release of James Cameron's Avatar. The trailers for this movie pretty much play my psyche like a xylophone, so I can't wait to see it. Cameron's given us The Abyss, Terminator, Aliens, and Titanic (which to my mind would have been much better if aliens and terminators were in it), so I think expectations are pretty high. After all, the dude hasn't made a movie in ten years.

The marketing for this movie is as unescapable as coverage of Tiger Wood's harem. We pretty much keep ESPN on the TV all day long where I work, and I see a commercial for this movie once every half hour. Because sports fans are the target demographic for a sci-fi movie. I see ads for Avatar on almost every website I visit, too. Though admittedly, I visit a lot of nerd-oriented websites, so I shouldn't be surprised. It's the ones on the porn websites that I find a little disturbing.

The problem with this is the way the film's being marketed. So far, we've learned that it's James Cameron's first movie since Titanic, that it's got incredible CGI, and it's got Sigorney Weaver in it. But about the plot, I'm a bit fuzzy. As near as I can tell, it's about giant stompy robots beating up on blue Indians (sorry, Native Americans) and taking their land, which floats. Oh, and there's dragons in it. And Sigorney Weaver. There may or may not be a buffalo hunt; I'm unclear on the point. I'm hoping someone has a sick sense of humor, and cast Kevin Costner in a cameo role.

Since we've perfected our giant, stompy robot CGI technology, can we please remake Starship Troopers the way it was supposed to be made? That would be more giant, stompy robots, less rumination on the nature of violence. Honestly, it's like the director read the novel, completely missed the point, and made the movie anyway. How else to explain a movie about guys in battle-suits with exactly zero battle-suits? (Oh, and apparently, in the future, the space marines completely forget how to do things militarily, like set up a perimeter or establish a fire base). And now I'm harshing on the wrong movie....

I really wish Cameron had come up with a different name for his movie. Whenever I hear it, I think of the Japanese anime Avatar, the Last Airbender. Now I haven't seen this particular anime yet, mostly because I don't know what "airbending" is, and it doesn't appear to have quite the level of alien tentacle rape I usually demand. I don't know what "airbending" has to do with huge, blue cat aliens, either.

On the subject of the cat aliens, I'm a little creeped out by this, too. Unbeknownst to a large number of you out there, cat aliens appeal to a tiny, very disturbed segment of science fiction fandom. Unfortunately, I became acquainted with this through my involvement with Star Trek. The animated series featured a female cat alien. Almost once every few months, I'd get a disturbing e-mail asking me when we would provide more information on these aliens. And by "disturbing," I mean the letter would eventually turn to sex with the cat aliens. I was actually attending a Star Trek convention (purely for work purposes) when some guy brought the Q&A to a screeching halt with a question about how a human and one of these (again, animated) cat aliens might mate. As near as I can tell, cat aliens combine the worst of the fuzzie community with the worst of the sci-fi world. I hope Cameron likes being stalked by creepy fat guys in Avatar t-shirts and tape on their glasses, all hoping he's got a blue cat alien locked in his basement....

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