Monday, March 8, 2010

Post-Ocar Night Ruminations

I fucking hate award shows. There is a definite self indulgent quality to an industry honoring itself in a lavish production broadcast around the world and the bullshit that is used to draw out what should be a simple process over several hours just makes events like the Oscars unwatchable to me. It also does not help that the selection of films tends to be biased towards films released late in the year and the choices of both nominees and winners often mystify me. So yeah , I don't care much for the Oscars and never watch it. I watched a movie on DVD and then caught some syndicated Seinfeld reruns.

So the Hurtlocker beat Avatar eh? I have not seen the Hurtlocker so I can't judge whether it is really a good movie or not, but it strike me as a better choice for best picture than Avatar which I have also not seen. Wait a minute? You didn't see Avatar? Don't you like scifi films? You are a space cadet are you not? Well yes, I am but there is something about Avatar that really turns me off. Besides the ridiculous hype and popularity it just strikes me as dumb movie that overly relies on new technology. If Avatar was not being hyped up as the Jazz Singer of 3D, would it be anywhere near as popular as it is? If it was not in 3D would people be leaving this film depressed that it is over? I somehow doubt it.

3D is of course a gimmick(and not a new one) to get people into the theaters in an era where theatrical films face greater competition from home entertainment. There is nothing new in this. When tv first started catching on they started making movies in wider aspect ratios (try watching Ben Hur letter boxed on an old 4:3 tv) and you had experiments with larger screen formats like Cinerama. This brings to mind another sci fi film, 2001 A Space Odyssey. Like Avatar (I suppose) 2001 is a film that really is made for a theater and I imagine watching it in Cinerama would be a real treat. Watching it on an old square tv hooked up to a VCR would simply not do because 2001 truly is visual and aural storytelling. There really is not much in the way of characterization and dialogue ( though there a few memorable lines uttered by a certain famous computer). That does not mean that the film lacks a story though. It is in fact one of the best science fiction stories ever filmed. It is a very unusual story that spans millions of years and in the end leaves quite a lot open to interpretation by the audience, but it is also an original story that had not been seen a million times at the time of its making and I have a hard time thinking of any films since that have really tried to do what 2001 did.

So what is Avatar's story about? Well I haven't seen it, but going from the trailer it does not strike me as a movie with much going on that isn't seen in the trailer. It is obviously a rip off of Dances with Wolves with weird looking blue aliens in place of Indians. It is obvious that the cigar chomping marine general piloting the mech is the bad guy. It is clear that there is going to be a battle between the blue people and the marines. It seems probable that since this film is appealing to commercial sentiment,that the blue people will win despite being primitives armed with spears going up against U.S. Marines armed with machine guns, mechs, and helicopter gun ships. I also imagine the that the film depicts the blue aliens as stereotypical noble savages who live in perfect harmony with nature. I don't hate Dances with Wolves, but I don't need to a see a cgi version of it with a weaker story and acting glossed up with 3D and with a bunch of gaia crap thrown in that makes me want to eat an Orca to compensate.

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