All indications are that Avatar is a wonderful film.
Early reviews are trickling in and everyone seems to be praising James Cameron for immersing viewers in a lush 3D environment and telling them a beautiful story. The film currently has a 91 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. After a 12 year hiatus following the unparalleled success of Titanic, all indications are that Cameron has another blockbuster on his hands.
And yet, I have no interest in seeing the film.
The strangest thing is – I can’t really seem to figure out why.
It’s possible that it’s the weird blue cat people that live on Cameron’s magical land of Pandora. Something about them certainly does give me the willies.
Then again, it could also be the 161 minutes, 34 second run time, which guarantees that after you add in the endless parade of previews and commercials, chances are three-quarters of the way into the movie you will be urinating in your soda cup to keep from missing any of that lush 3D environment and beautiful story.
Or it’s possible that even though people are touting this film as some amazing new innovation, it really just looks like a three-hour video game. Now sure, seeing the visual effects on a giant movie screen may be slightly more impressive than playing Gears of War or Halo on my home television, but at least those games are kind enough not to tack on a tree-hugging story about how the white man is stealing all the natural resources from the majestic weird blue cat people and it’s up to the heroic, but tragically paralyzed, Marine to save them.
It could also be the fact that James Cameron himself is an insufferable ass. He’s been telling anyone who will listen just how groundbreaking and amazing Avatar is. And I still can’t shake the image of him at the podium accepting his Academy Award, arms outstretched, shouting: “I’m the king of the world.” Sure, Cameron has made great films, mainly Terminator, Terminator 2 and Aliens, but the first person telling you how great his films are is Cameron himself.
And also, Titanic sucked … there, I said it. It’s an overrated, pretentious, boring film. And ladies, no man who you met just days before is going to let you hog all the real estate on the floating debris while he freezes to death in the icy waters, so just give up that little fantasy now. Jesus, Lloyd Dobler was a more realistic and obtainable male archetype than Jack “Get swept away by my boyish good looks and ignore the fact that I play the same smug, annoying character in every fucking movie” Dawson.
Or maybe it’s that incredibly grating song, “I See You” by Leona Lewis … the one that actually makes me long for the days of “My Heart Will Go On.”
But honestly, I don’t think it is any of that. Sure, I may have a few biases against the film, but I fully admit that most of them are just me being nitpicky. I honestly believe Chris Hewitt, the reviewer for Empire, who wrote: “If you can let go of your version and embrace Cameron’s – if you’re not, in other words, one of those splenetic Internet fanboy types who’ve apparently made their minds up about Avatar before seeing it – then Avatar is a hugely rewarding experience: rich, soulful and exciting in the way that only comes from seeing a master artist at work.”
Now, I certainly don’t see myself as a “splenetic Internet fanboy” (and that’s mainly because I have no idea what the word “splenetic” means, since no normal human being has ever used it in a sentence before), but I see Hewitt’s point. And I do believe that all I would have to do is just give the film a chance and I would probably love it.
But I don’t want to give it a chance.
And I think it’s because everyone is telling me that it’s this must-see film. Reviewers make it sound like the next Citizen Kane; like my life will somehow be changed forever by seeing it. Perhaps I am in the minority here, but instead of being someone who has been eagerly anticipating the arrival of this film, I have just spent months reading about how I should be eagerly anticipating this movie, which just rubs me the wrong way. It just doesn’t seem organic to me. All of the praise and claims of it being a revolutionary film-going experience just ring hollow to me.
It’s like I can see the strings moving on this one. I can hear the hum of the hype machine. Or, to use a more colorful metaphor, it’s like someone took me on a tour of a meat packing plant and now that I know how the sausages are made, I’ve lost my appetite. All I can see is the hype – the full-on media blitz telling me that I should love this film and, as a result, I want to see it less and less.
Not that it matters one way or another. This film is going to do big business, whether I want to see it or not. It may not do Titanic numbers, but it’s going to make big money. And, at some point, even if it’s not until the film comes out on Netflix, I will probably break down and see it too.
After all, I still eat sausages.
Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact him at email@example.com.