Avatar – Can’t you just enjoy it?

I watched the trailers, loved them in fact, and devoured the screenshots with hungry eyes. I was hooked on Avatar before I had seen it. The 3D thing didn’t matter to me, the storyline, settings and fresh new epicness were what I wanted to see.

With drink and popcorn in hand, prime seats grabbed, I donned my 3D specs and prepared to enjoy a movie I had been so eager to see I knew I was going to enjoy it regardless of the shit the critics were already throwing at it (more on that subject in a moment). I am happy to say I loved every last second of Avatar – the entire thing, opening credits to lights up was pure escapism, the very essence of what a night out at the movies is all about.

The bandwagon is rolling, jump on quick.

I have given this post a lot of thought. I have wanted to write a piece on Avatar since I left Pandora in the cinema a few months back. I figured that whatever I had to say someone else had probably already said it. What changed my mind was an incredibly immature dig at Avatar by someone I previously had some respect for as a film critic but now…I just feel pity for his attempt at humour; jumping on a very tired bandwagon with a pointless gesture.

I’m talking about Mark Kermode and his pathetic piece called The Science of 3D Explained, which is anything but and nothing more than a unamusing dig at Avatar. Now he might argue that he was just being ironic, but anyone with a working brain cell will clearly see that he has allowed his personal dislike of Avatar and anything filmed in 3D to get in the way of his professional work.

I have enjoyed Kermode’s balanced views and interest points but when he started waving smurfs on puppet strings to illustrate his point I lost all respect for him. Sorry Kermode but that was neither funny nor entertaining. It was the sort of thing those who grumble about the cost of the TV licence get very angry over; the BBC are wasting my annual fee on this crap? You get the idea.

Ever tried to be positive?

Take the overblown comment that Avatar has some resemblance to Smurfs. Yeah, okay, they’re both blue. End of discussion. If you really need to make a connection at all then that’s as far as the similarity goes. Making jokes obviously encourages the public to pay attention to what you say, and rather than produce praise it’s so much easier to throw out negativity. Bad news sells.

There are plenty of critics who knock Avatar (and other live action fantasy) for relying on CGI. So what if the directors use CGI?  What exactly is the big deal? It’s a medium for telling a story. I wonder if when silent movies changed to “talkies” that people grumbled about their being too much talking. Or how about when colour came along. Did critics bitch about the over use of colour and how black and white has always been okay for us?

Do all film critics think that a really great movie has to have zero CGI, no action and is basically a bunch of people talking really meaningful words at each other with some weird abstract camera angles thrown in? Bullshit. Good movies are ones that generate feeling, emotion, connection. The same way music moves you. What about “Up”? The first  20 minutes or so there was hardly any dialogue, yet the computer generated characters portrayed such emotion that even I had a lump in my throat at the old fellers anguish and loss. truly excellent escapism!

Stop over analysing films!

And will dumb critics desperate for acknowledgement and praise stop forcing this weird analysis on us! The general public is not interested in how the Na’vi are representative of Native Americans or any other small indigenous population. They don’t care how the bad army dudes reflect how the mighty multi-national corporations are raping the natural world. Seriously, 99.9% of cinema goers don’t care about that kind of stuff!

And please Mr Kermode, for the love of God, will you not be so childish as to knock the 3D glasses. You don’t need to move your head left to right in the cinema, just stare straight ahead and the screen won’t flicker will it! The 3D system isn’t perfect, and occasionally things don’t look quite right. But it’s exciting to watch something in a different format, even if you decide after that you don’t like it, that doesn’t mean it’s crap, that everyone else will agree with you either.

Cinema = escapism. Pure and simple.

Kermode seems to think that whatever spews out of his mouth is reflecting the general feeling of the public. Nah. Sorry mate, you’re wrong. Avatar made a lot of money partly due to hype, but like Titanic people went back time and again to watch it because they enjoyed it. It doesn’t matter no Oscar was awarded, Mrs Cameron’s boy is chuffed that people flocked to the flicks to see the movie he spent such a long time and effort and passion making.

Cameron doesn’t need the money. He shared a story with people. He enjoyed the creative process. It doesn’t matter what critics say about his films so long as he enjoyed making them and the public enjoy watching them.

When you go to the cinema you want entertainment, right?

A few hours of escapism? I know I keep using that word but it seems film critics can’t grasp that concept at all. I reckon that’s what most people want when they pay for their ticket. And generally speaking that’s what people get. Popcorn, drink, big screen, imagination….escape…. You forgot about other things in your life and drop into that world presented to you on the big screen.

Kermode’s talk about James Cameron not advancing the cinema is just waffle. He has advanced it a little, by showing that 3D can be a different medium for telling a tale. Other directors are making 3D films, driving a small portion of the economy forward and providing work for people, inspiring others – writers, directors, artists and so on.

When someone puts a lot of passion and enthusiasm into something like Avatar it makes me wonder why so many are willing and happy to pull it apart. Is it because they simply don’t have the creativity themselves yet secretly yearn for it? I suspect there is some aspect of jealously there somewhere.

I’m not sure how to round off this post as I feel I could waffle on for much much longer about Kermode and his critic buddies and their self-indulgent “listen to me, I’m a film critic, I demand to be heard” attitude.

But I’ll stop here. Like other movie goers I want my films to take me to a place I don’t see everyday. I want to enjoy the adventure of moving through a story. One that provides emotional highs and lows, laughter, tears, booming sounds and quiet whispers, epic performances and cheesy lines. I go to the cinema for entertainment and that’s what I get, regardless of how many egocentric critics try to persuade me otherwise.

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