Fridge Logic is defined by TvTropes.org as plot holes and logical errors that you don’t think about until the movie is over, and you are staring into your fridge (after putting your snacks away) thinking about them. “Avatar”, the new film from director James Cameron, has a lot of Fridge Logic. Now, this one was actually written in a furious haze immediately after returning home from the film in December, and I’m re-posting it now, so the thing sounds quite a bit angrier than my other reviews. Note that I don’t even bother to introduce the film, I just get right into the flaws. It also contains spoilers, but I know I shouldn’t worry about that, as everybody and their mother has seen this film. However, I encourage you to read on.
First off, the story is a direct rip-off of Dances with Wolves, among other films, but I’ll ignore that for sake of fairness. The characters are flat and boring. Not a single person in this movie has anything resembling an arc. That’s partially the fault of Cameron himself, who is a good storyteller, but can’t actually write for crap. The dialogue is embarrassing. The acting is, at its best, mediocre. The worst of it comes from Giovanni Rabisi, who is given the most worthless, throwaway role in history. Because of this, he doesn’t even try. Also, the audience is expected to buy the most absurd love story ever put on film. There was no reason whatsoever for Jake (the main character) and Neytiri (the main alien) to fall in love. It does not serve the story in any way. In fact, Neytiri never does anything at all! The movie could have been an hour shorter if they had cut her out completely.
Also, the story had ENORMOUS plot holes that cannot be ignored. I won’t list them all, and maybe someone can explain these, but here are a couple that I noticed.
#1: At first, the Na’vi arrows merely scratch the airships, but later they shatter right through them!
#2: Quartich mentions early on about how there is no/low gravity on Pandora. What happened to that later on? I mean, we see mountains floating, but how come nothing else does?
#3: Unfair, perhaps, but if humans can’t breathe Pandora’s atmo (no oxygen) then how are there fires? Also, it has been established that there IS no atmosphere, as you can look up and see straight through to surrounding planets, and there are never any clouds (even though I think it rains at one point). And if there is no air, then how are the airships flying? We see rotors moving, but how? I suppose there could be other gases present on the planet, but an explanation would have been nice.
#4: A small nitpick, but how the HELL are waterfalls coming off of FLOATING MOUNTAINS? Where’s the water coming from?
#5: If the Na’vi are so much bigger than humans, then how could Jake just steal a gun and have it fit his avatar just fine? How did his huge Na’vi fingers fit the trigger?
#6: What’s so valuable about unobtanium? We assume that it can be used as an energy source, but the fact that Cameron never explains this is downright lazy. What makes it so valuable? Just that fact that it’s rare? And if it is so rare and so valuable, then why did the soldiers seem to have no regard for the safety of the deposit when destroying Hometree?
#7: Why even bother bringing Jake on in the first place? Yes, his DNA matched his brother’s and the avatar was super expensive and such, but would it really matter? Why risk their entire operation by bringing on an untrained military grunt to operate their super expensive science project?
#8: Is every human just an asshole? It seems that there are only 5 “good” humans in the entire universe. I mean, using context clues presented early on (Jake mentions that “he always heard so much about Pandora as a kid”) we can assume that this is mankind’s first encounter with aliens. We know that they are intelligent beings. What idiotic leader said “Sure, just blow the crap out of the planet, it’s not like there’s anything important on it!”? I had a similar problem with District 9 earlier this year. The only difference being that I liked District 9.
#9: Every single character is also an idiot. Giovanni Rabisi IMMEDIATELY dismisses anything that Grace says. Um, hello, she kind of knows everything there is to know about the aliens. Why would you not listen to everything she says? I suppose that this was part of his character, and I’ll buy that. But not when every character behaves the same way! Then it just appears lazy.
#10: James Cameron obviously wants this film to draw parallels with the Iraq War. He has the villain use terms like “fight terror with terror” and “shock and awe campaign”. However, these lines have nothing to do with what the villain does! He isn’t fighting terror with terror, as the Na’vi haven’t done jack to the humans. And there was nothing particularly shocking about his actions. He just did what he had been doing the entire film. These lines were only used to make that paper-thin allegory, and once again to prove that James Cameron is a lazy screenwriter.
But, in the end, the biggest problem was that I simply did not buy any of it. I didn’t believe that I was on an alien world, or that any of the characters would make the decisions that they did. I felt like I was in a movie theater the entire time. Not one single other movie this year has failed to draw me in on such a spectacular level. The film annoyed me more than anything else. I did not enjoy myself for one single solitary second.