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Zettel Film Reviews » Avatar – Bambification of Aboriginal narrative

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Avatar – Bambification of Aboriginal narrative

great body - but the tail's gotta go

great body - but the tail's gotta go

Film, performance, screenplay, art

Technical, Effects, Art direction

Avatar – James Cameron

Avatar sucks: the bambification of an aboriginal narrative. A sentimentalised pastiche of a Native American stereotype. The Na’vi sound like Hollywindians and worship an Earth-mother who looks like a fibre-optic willow tree spiritually reified by tinsellated dandelion-seed-like Christmas tree baubles that slo-mo around looking for some dumb, blue, 9 foot schmuck to intone vapid inanities about them. If this stuff wasn’t so peurile it would be insulting – to its plagiarized source material and its bespectacled watcher victims. 3-D: Dire, Dumb and Daft.

Expenditure bigger than the economy of a medium-sized state and an army of technical wizards marginally less numerous than the population of New Jersey contrive to produce absolutely startling, mind-boggling, sometimes adrenaline-rushing visuals: bereft of resonance, devoid of allusion, mind-numbingly literal. What you see is what you get: technically dazzling; aesthetically dead.

The political and moral tone of this tosh makes the white-hat, black-hat westerns of yore acquire a Chomskyan depth. A caricature Nazi-cool, testosterone-fuelled General of the testicle-grabbing school of hearts-and-minds garnering is of course bent on Na’vi-cide and is shocked that Sigourney Weaver’s wimpy scientists are not awed by his adumbration of the gobsmackingly bleedin’ obvious necessity to destroy this new planet with the same rigorous military/industrial efficiency they achieved on Earth. One down, one to go. Genocide rules OK. “We’ll meet again…don’t know where…don’t know when…..”

The future of movies? Yeah: in the same way as the Burj Dubai building is the future of human scale, low-cost social housing.

Avatar is a slot-machine movie: unpredictable in an utterly predictable way: like a computer game with state of the art graphics and absolutely nothing else. Gaudy and flashy, with a Strictly Come Dancing glitteriness. Any fool can play as well as any other – no skill, no insight, no mental effort required. Breathtaking and banal; thrilling and trivial. Masterfully artless and witless. Guaranteed a butt-full of Oscars.

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