Why I Won’t Be Seeing Avatar (Unless well okay I probably will but I WON’T LIKE IT)

November 13, 2009 at 6:00 am 12 comments

Anyone who’s ever spoken to me for more than a couple minutes is privy to my deep and abiding love of Titanic.  Similarly, Future Mr. Bettytron, a man of unparalleled taste and refinement, reserves his deepest affection for the film Aliens.  Thus, James Cameron’s new film has been the subject of much interest and debate in our household.

james-cameron

Great filmmaker, or GREATEST filmmaker?

I’ll get this out of the way right now- I think it looks terrible.  Not like, A-Brilliant-Director-Made-A-Slight-Misstep kind of bad, or even Well-I’d-Watch-It-If-It-Was-On-TV-On-A-Sunday-Afternoon bad, but eye-bleedingly, brain-searingly, stupid-makingly awful.  First, and I have to get this off my chest, the title font is Papyrus.  Fucking Papyrus!!  The font the quirky health food store run by a 70 year old woman down the street uses on their sign!  The fifth-grade report about Egypt title page font!

Screw you, Papyrus.

50% off all protein shakes!

“All right, Betty,” you may be saying now.  “Sure, he’s no typographical titan, but surely the film itself will not suffer from similar shoddy design!”  A-ha! This is where you are mistaken.  Sure, the CGI humans look pretty realistic, except for the moment you’ll experience every four seconds when you wonder why everyone suddenly looks like a video game character.  No, my problem is that the fantasy-magical-FernGully world looks like something a 12 year old drew in the back of his math notebook.   Actually, it looks like the front of a notebook I owned when I was only 7.  That’s right.  Lisa Frank.

lisa-frank

Goddamn Lisa Frank.

There’s a shot in the trailer of the sexy blue dreadlocked girl and the blue obvious-James-Cameron-stand-in gazing at one another under a waterfall that evokes nothing so much as a poster that ought to be adorning a pre-adolescent girl’s bedroom wall.  One thing it does NOT resemble is the latest, most groundbreaking blockbuster from the guy who brought us Terminator.

Now, I love trainwrecks.  I love terrible movies beyond reason, and I normally enjoy James Cameron’s brand of big, entertaining, slightly dim fun.  The reason I don’t think I can stomach going to see Avatar ever, not even if you buy my ticket and bribe me with cheesecake ice cream is this absurd interview with Playboy, where he explains his real priorities as a filmmaker:

PLAYBOY: We seem to need fantasy icons like Lara Croft and Wonder Woman, despite knowing they mess with our heads.
CAMERON: Most of men’s problems with women probably have to do with realizing women are real and most of them don’t look or act like Vampirella. A big recalibration happens when we’re forced to deal with real women, and there’s a certain geek population that would much rather deal with fantasy women than real women. Let’s face it: Real women are complicated. You can try your whole life and not understand them.

Maybe, and forgive me if I am being presumptious, but maybe the issue is that you’re trying to understand women as a whole, in one grand sweep, rather than realizing that individuals are going to have different ideas about things? Perhaps?  Maybe this gender-related blindspot is the reason you’ve been married five goddamn times?

PLAYBOY: How much did you get into calibrating your movie heroine’s hotness?
CAMERON: Right from the beginning I said, “She’s got to have tits,” even though that makes no sense because her race, the Na’vi, aren’t placental mammals. I designed her costumes based on a taparrabo, a loincloth thing worn by Mayan Indians. We go to another planet in this movie, so it would be stupid if she ran around in a Brazilian thong or a fur bikini like Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C.

Yeah.  That WOULD be stupid.

500x_custom_1258052957690_avatar-hi-res3-1024x575

Very well researched.

PLAYBOY: Are her breasts on view?
CAMERON: I came up with this free-floating, lion’s-mane-like array of feathers, and we strategically lit and angled shots to not draw attention to her breasts, but they’re right there. The animation uses a physics-based sim that takes into consideration gravity, air movement and the momentum of her hair, her top. We had a shot in which Neytiri falls into a specific position, and because she is lit by orange firelight, it lights up the nipples. That was good, except we’re going for a PG-13 rating, so we wound up having to fix it. We’ll have to put it on the special edition DVD; it will be a collector’s item. A Neytiri Playboy Centerfold would have been a good idea.

I never before knew how little interest I had in hearing James Cameron ruminate on CGI nipples.

PLAYBOY: So you’re okay with arousing PG-13 chubbies?
CAMERON: If such a thing should ­happen—and I’m not saying it will—that would be fine.

GROSS GROSS GROSS GROSS GROSS  AGH GET IT OFF GET IT OFF GET IT OFF

Ugh.  I recognize that some blame lay with Playboy for their predictably creepy questions, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to shake that image.  And THAT is why I won’t be going to see Avatar.  Except, hey, you know, 3D!!

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“Bad Romance,” Lady Gaga Dealbreaker

12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. alisaurus  |  November 13, 2009 at 10:27 am

    I think we all could’ve guessed that James Cameron was a nipple-obsessed perv who was clueless about women. Though he is enlightened enough to realize that “A woman’s heart is a deep ocean of secrets!” But that’s pretty much it.

    Reply
  • 2. parkrangerolivia  |  November 13, 2009 at 11:23 am

    omg, this article completes so many weird feelings I had when watching the avatar trailer. 1# what the fuck is james cameron doing directing this movie? #2, you addressed that niggling feeling of “hey…I’ve seen this before”…and yes, it was fern gulley! let’s hope there isnt any hazmat spraypaint hissing and bubbling into marked trees,
    and, lastly

    I always thought james cameron was kind of a sleaze. that moment can be traced back to the sex scene in titanic, when we see the handprint in the steamy car. overkill!
    also, i want that lisa frank/avatar binder.

    Reply
  • 3. Betty  |  November 13, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    “Over there, on the bed- uh, the couch”

    Reply
  • 4. seph  |  November 13, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    I was going to say that he was actually making a good point about the problems some men have going from fantasy women to real women, but then he suddenly went from that to “She’s got to have tits”.Um, okay.

    Reply
  • 5. Betty  |  November 13, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Yeah, in the greater context it seems like he’s saying it’s a problem that not all women are as hot as men expect them to be… like it’s our fault? Oh James.

    Reply
  • 6. alisaurus  |  November 13, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    I was thinking the same thing Betty.

    I.e…… “Like I’ve always said, women and machinery don’t mix!”

    Reply
  • 7. Citizen Snips  |  November 13, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    But Betty, don’t you understand that this GROUNDBREAKING FILM is going to CHANGE CINEMATIC HISTORY FOREVER, much like CITIZEN KANE and 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS did before it?

    Reply
  • 8. miranda  |  November 13, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    so his version of a real woman is … blue … with … spock ears? and … what.

    Reply
  • 9. Betty  |  November 13, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    She has to have tits, even though that doesn’t make sense! And it’d be STUPID for her to wear a fur bikini, since they’re on another planet, but a Mayan loincloth is logical! So, yes, the problem is WOMEN, James. Right.

    Also Tim told me this morning that he was mad at Kate Winslet for being afraid of almost drowning during a scene in Titanic? WHO IS THIS GUY

    Reply
  • 10. Disco Stu  |  November 15, 2009 at 2:16 am

    I wonder how often Cameron has heard the word “no” directed at him in the last decade or so? It’s like filmaking is his drug, and this is the big spiral that either gonna kill him or get him in rehab.

    Reply
  • 11. James Hastings-Trew  |  January 3, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    Get over it. Go see the movie. In 3D. It is an experience. I don’t want to spoil anything but there is a scene in there that is so intense that it makes the word “epic” inadequate to describe it.

    Reply
  • 12. BG  |  January 30, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Would that be the scene where the main character rapes a dragon? Is that the scene you’re talking about?

    I’m honestly not joking about that. Apparently the aliens have ponytails that let them jack in to other living things; trees, horses, dragons, and get the biological version of the Matrix. The only problem is, you find out later, that’s how they have sex with each other. So yeah, there’s an extended scene of the main character learning how to fuck a horse.

    This article also touches on my biggest problem with the movie, which I knew before I saw it. The whole time, I couldn’t shake the knowledge that I was watching someone’s EXACT FETISH in action.

    Reply

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