Thoughts on the Oscars

Basket! 20 points! Contrary to what so many others theorized, The Hurt Locker took home Best Picture AND Best Director for Katheryn Bigelow. Mo’Nique and Waltz were expected, and while I don’t wholeheartedly approve, Bullock and Bridges got their due. But let’s pass over some other obvious ones (Like Special Effects, Animated Feature, etc.), and dive into some surprises.

It seems as though the film that is generally expected to win Best Foreign Language Feature loses. Last year, it was Waltz with Bashir to Departures, and this year it was The White Ribbon to El Secreto de Sus Ojos. This is also true to the short films, which went to Logorama for Best Animated and The New Tenants for best Live-Action. While I didn’t see any of those films, the categories were just a few surprises in a night chock-full of them in bigger categories.

The Writing awards legitimately shocked me. Best Adapted went to Precious, and Best Original went to Hurt Locker. Those categories were expected (and should have) gone to Up in the Air and Inglourious Basterds, respectively. Not to say that I didn’t like the screenplay for Precious, but Up in the Air had snappier, wittier dialogue, which usually wins the category if nominated. As for Hurt Locker, I don’t remember the screenplay standing out that much. Really, the performances carried that film. I guess I’d have to watch it again and see, but that was a big shocker.

Costume Design went to The Young Victoria. You know, here’s something that I really don’t understand. Why do these Victorian period pieces win this category year after year? Is it really so difficult to design an old-fashioned dress? To me, they really all look the same. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus had really cool-looking, original, diverse costumes, and it deserved the category.

I now appreciate Tom Hanks a thousand times more. After that truly dull interpretive dance session to the Best Original Score nominees, and 5 people coming out and praising all of the acting nominees for 20 minutes, and Bridges and Bullock’s absurdly long acceptance speeches, I was ready for the worst for the Best Picture nominees. However, Hanks did something unexpected and incredible. He walked on, said that the last time the Academy had 10 nominees, Casablanca won, and then opened the envelope and read the winner.

In fact, the entire ceremony felt like that. Very streamlined and slick. Although very few of the jokes were funny (Ben Stiller stood out in his Na’vi costume), there were very few of them. They got to the good categories very quickly, and left the boring, technical ones to be quickly shuffled off in the last third of the broadcast. In fact, the Acting awards felt like padding, whereas usually that’s how the whole ceremony feels. Can we do it this way next year as well, please?

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Substance Over Style: A Review of “Alice in Wonderland”

Maybe this review is a bit skewed, as I had a horrendous theater-going experience. Not only were several teenagers (who I am certain were high) cracking “That’s What She Said” jokes after every line, in the middle I attempted to use the bathroom, and dove flat on my face in front of the entire theater (we were sitting in the front row). For half the film, my knee was in atrocious pain, and it was around that point that the film started to go downhill. Coincidence? No. This “Wonderland” is wonderless.

First, a comment about certain performances. The only aspect of the film that worried me going in was Johnny Depp. While I do enjoy his work, for the past few years he has been typecast in roles that basically require him to be loopy, zany, and wacky, Sweeney Todd being the exception that proves the rule, and even that role wasn’t exactly a straightforward dramatic one. To many, the role of the Mad Hatter might seem like the perfect fit for him. However, I was concerned that he would be strange just for the sake of being strange. And to some extent, I was right. The Hatter is quite strange, but in a way, he’s one of the more grounded characters in Wonderland. In fact, I enjoyed the character quite a bit, and I use the word character loosely in this film. Depp gives a performance which is delightfully wacky, and yet oddly down-to-earth. Helena Bonham Carter is deliciously evil as the Red Queen, but Anne Hathaway’s White Queen floats around the film as if in a trance, her hands always raised in an airy, princessy sort of way. This is possibly a Burton touch, a sort of parody of the typical Disney princess, but I’m more inclined to believe that this was one of many moments in which Burton sold out his vision to Disney. Crispin Glover is oddly restrained as the Knave, and his character seems incomplete. Of the few things that he does, none of them make any sense. In a strange sort of way, he’s the film’s most complex character, and they never have any reason why he does anything. I loved the voice acting. Alan Rickman as the Caterpillar and Stephen Fry as the Cheshire Cat were my personal favorites. But what about Alice herself, newcomer Mia Wasikowski? She gives the worst performance of the movie. She lazily stumbles through the beautiful CG landscapes looking incredibly bored by the proceedings. There is never any emotional urgency in her voice, which causes the audience to care less and less about what happens. Though the real faults are in Alice’s character. While at the beginning, whilst among uptight Victorian stereotypes, she stands out as imaginative and with her head in the clouds, this is negated once she arrives in Wonderland. In fact, up until the very end, she has to, for no apparent reason, struggle to believe everything around her. This is in stark contrast to the Alice that we see at the beginning of the film, and was probably added because executives think that viewers are morons, and Alice’s confusion allows other characters to explain certain things to her, and by extension, the audience.

The script is pretty awful. For every gleefully absurd moment such as the Mad Hatter making a tiny Alice even tinier, and then hiding her in a teacup, there is a scene in which the Red Queen ponders such Machiavellian philosophies as “Is it better to be feared or loved?”. This was likely done to disguise the poor plot and make people think that the film was “deep”. It fails, miserably.

I’m a big Burton fan, and throughout most of it, this is clearly a Burton film. He uses color better than any other filmmaker ever, in my opinion, and that definitely comes out here. The biggest burden on this film was the Disney corporation. While we do see touches of Burton’s trademark darkness (a bloody river full of heads, for example), Big Mouse made sure that the film was as kid friendly as they could persuade Burton to make it. Not to give anything away, but in the scene near the end where the Hatter does a bizarre hip-hop style dance, I was ready to leave the theater. That sort of thing is inexcusable.

I think my biggest problem was that the story was too straightforward. I mean, this is Alice in Wonderland we’re talking about, and all you can come up with is two feuding queens and the hero has to slay a dragon? The film basically plays as a typical fantasy story with about a billion really overt references to Alice in Wonderland. When adapting a story with such uniqueness, it is truly shameful to pick and choose various elements from it and throw them into a conventional script. Not even Tim Burton himself could save this film with his style. Because, in the end, this film is all about substance over style, when it should have been the other way around. I’m not faulting Burton for the film’s unoriginality, I just wish that he could have exerted more control over it, and perhaps turned it around. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this film. And if the other 9 films on my most anticipated of ’10 list are of this quality, then I might have to turn in my Quality Judgement card.

My 2010 Oscar Picks

As of tomorrow, February 28th, we’ll be but a week away from the 2010 Academy Awards in Hollywood. After careful consideration, I’ve made my picks in every category, except for the short films, as I have yet to see (or even hear of) any of them.

Keep in mind, this is not necessarily what I think WILL win, just what I think SHOULD or DESERVES to win. Here we go…

Leading Actor: Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker”

Although this category will probably end up going to Jeff Bridges, who is a great actor, Renner really deserves it for his work as bomb disposal technician Sergent William James. He is so nervy, and yet so calm under pressure. So headstrong, and yet so easily mistaken. Mostly, this comes from James being a great character, but Renner infuses it with such charisma that I have to give it to him.

Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds”

This is probably the surest thing happening at this year’s ceremony. Waltz has been lauded many times following the film’s premiere at Cannes in 2008, and he deserves it all. In his role as Hans Landa, the “Jew Hunter”, he completely subverts the idea of the Nazi villain, turning what easily could have been a simple Kick the Dog character into someone who is legitimately fun to watch. He is at once menacing and charming, something that not many actors can do, especially when playing villains. He’ll be taking home gold for sure.

Leading Actress: Carey Mulligan in “An Education”

To be honest, none of these performances are really outstanding. Gabourey Sidibe, Sandra Bullock, and Helen Mirren all turn in okay performances, and it seems like they’ll nominate Meryl Streep for just about anything these days. Carey Mulligan really brings it as Jenny, an uptight schoolgirl in 1960’s London, who strikes up a relationship with an older man (Peter Sarsgaard), who introduces her to his thrilling, con-artist lifestyle. She does a good job of showing how her character really changes, and, to be honest, not even she was outstanding. She was simply better than the rest.

Supporting Actress: Mo’Nique in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”

I’d be tempted to give this to Anna Kendrick for “Up in the Air”, if her performance hadn’t occasionally been almost farcical, but once again, this is pretty much a given. “Precious” wouldn’t be as shocking or horrifying as it ended up being if it wasn’t for Mo’Nique’s electrifying performance as the mother of the titular character. She does truly evil things, and unapologetically. Mo’Nique doesn’t flinch, even when doing really awful stuff. Being a comedic actress, this was probably quite difficult. She even tempts us to feel sorry for her at the end. Her ability to manipulate her audience is what really makes her deserve this one.

Animated Feature: “Up”

Is this one even a question? Of course it will win, because even great films like “Coraline” come nowhere near the level of intelligence or sheer quality that “Up” displays. The visuals are brilliant, yet simplistic (Take note, Mr. Cameron). The writing is hilarious, and yet very dark. Definitely deserves this one.

Art Direction: “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”
Cinematography: “The White Ribbon”

Both of these films are very different, yet visually brilliant. One is about a mind-blowing trek through a man’s psyche in order to fight the devil, and the other is a creepy, atmospheric allegory about the rise of fascism. “Imaginarium” succeeds in it’s ability to absorb us into it’s world, and never let go. The visuals are brilliant, and while the special effects aren’t great, they don’t need to be to tell a great story. (Again, take note, Mr. Cameron) On the contrary, “Ribbon” shows it’s brilliance through it’s simplicity. The black-and-white really helps the film feel old-fashioned, while the film-making style is actually quite modern and fresh (I should expect nothing less from Michael Haneke).

Costume Design: “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”
Makeup: “Star Trek”

Pretty much everything I just said about “Imaginarium” applies here as well. The costumes are big, bright, bold, and really fun to look at, just like the film itself. Now, I’m not sure exactly what “Il Divo” is, but I don’t think it’s the one to beat for Makeup. One thing that can usually be counted on in this category is that the big costume drama will take it home. But from what I saw of “The Young Victoria”, Hollywood is just showing me the same things that I’ve seen a million times before in films just like this. “Star Trek” had people with green skin, pointy ears, and rockin’ tattoos. Don’t be surprised to see this one take it home.

Original Score: “Up”
Original Song: “The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” from “Crazy Heart”

While I liked the music in “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and “Sherlock Holmes”, I barely noticed it in “The Hurt Locker”, and the music in”Avatar” was nothing special. The “Up” score, however, does the difficult job of perfectly capturing the movie. It is light as a feather (or a balloon), and then dark and foreboding. One of the few scores that is fun to listen to on its own. As for the Original Songs, “Take It All” wasn’t even the best song in “Nine”, I never saw “Paris 36”, and they left out “Friends on the Other Side”, the best song from “The Princess and the Frog”. Like the score from “Up”, “The Weary Kind” perfectly captures the character that Jeff Bridges plays. Melancholy, yet enjoyable to listen to.

Film Editing: “The Hurt Locker”
Sound Editing: “Star Trek”
Sound Mixing: “Star Trek”

If you want to know why I picked “Hurt Locker” for this award, look no further than the opening scene. It is edited with such ferocity and quickfire pacing that it truly benefited the tense atmosphere of the rest of the film. As for the sound awards, what can I say, I liked the sound effects in “Star Trek”. Everything from a phaser blast to a ship rocketing through space was perfect.

Visual Effects: “District 9”

This is where it gets interesting. Please direct all hate and criticism to the comments below, but “District 9” really deserves this one. I didn’t believe the special effects in “Avatar” for one single solitary second. You can’t just show me 10-foot-tall blue people and plants that glow in the dark and expect me to just buy it. To me, it looked really fake. “But Josh,” you say, “of course you would say that! Of course blue people are unbelievable, what did you expect!” I expected “District 9”. That film was shot on a tiny budget, and yet every single CGI alien or ship looked completely real. They all blended so well with the live-action backdrop of Johannesburg, and the actors did such a good job interacting with them, that I never thought for one second that it wasn’t real. It won’t win, but it definitely should.

Adapted Screenplay: “Up in the Air”

I loved this screenplay. The dialogue crackles so well, I could have been watching an Ernst Lubitch or a Billy Wilder. Although I’ve heard the character of Ryan Bingham differs from the book version, I don’t care. The jokes really work, and it put a smile on my face.

Original Screenplay: “Inglourious Basterds”

As Adam Kempanaar likes to say about the opening scene of this film, “They’ll be studying this script for decades.” And he’s probably right. It manages to be, all at once, funny, disturbing, thrilling, tense, and surprising. Tarantino is truly a master at the top of his game, and the film would be nowhere without his dialogue.

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker”

Every inch of this film is dripping with suspense and tenacity, and that’s due in big part to Bigelow’s directing. She really reigns in her actors and prevents them from going too over-the-top in certain emotional scenes, where it could have ruined the film. It is clear that she controls every bit of the film, and nothing on screen is ever accidental. She really, really deserves it.

BEST PICTURE

As you may know, the Academy is doing something different this year. They are allowing TEN Best Picture nominees, up from the usual five. Now, instead of Academy members simply voting for their favorite film, they are asking them to rank all ten films, from least favorite to favorite. Presumably, the film with the most #1 votes will win. In honor of that new practice, I will do the same.

10. “Avatar”. I’m still bitter about the fact that this film got nominated and “Moon” wasn’t.

9. “The Blind Side”. Certainly not a terrible film, it just has no place amongst these other nominees. It plays like a brighter, more optimistic version of “Precious”.

8. “An Education”. To be honest, I haven’t even seen this one, but it probably won’t win, so I’ll put it here.

7. “A Serious Man”. Starts off bizzarly, but moves slowly into a darkly, dryly funny film about Jewish life in the 70’s.

6. “District 9”. Take the best premise for a film I’ve heard since “The Matrix”, and turn it into a standard buddy film by the end? It left me feeling a bit disappointed about the last half-hour, but it was still a very good film.

5. “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”. The scariest film this year, and it wasn’t even of the horror genre. Disturbing throughout, yet ends on a slightly optimistic note.

4. “Up”. Surprisingly dark and mature, but also funny and heartwarming. Comes close to being a perfect film, if it wasn’t for Russel’s strangely cliche backstory.

3. “Up in the Air”. At the end of the day, what makes this film really work is good old-fashioned screen chemistry, combined with a great script. The direction, however, was uninspired.

2. “Inglourious Basterds”. This movie is ALL Tarantino, and that’s not a bad thing. Everything about this film is totally riveting. Brutal, unforgiving, and surprising up until the final moments, this movie was superb.

1. “The Hurt Locker”. A side of war that hasn’t truly been explored, that of the people who defuse IED’s. Thrilling, heart-pounding, but not really an action film. More of a character study than anything else. And that makes it all the scarier, for fear of what may happen to these characters that we slowly come to care for. Even better, the film isn’t pandering to anybody, so anything really can happen to them. It isn’t guaranteeing us a happy ending. The acting, directing, writing, cinematography, EVERYTHING that could possibly make a movie great is here in this film. It might just be the perfect movie.

All the Best Demigods Have Daddy Issues: A Review of “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief”

Where do I even start? I wanted to like this one, I honestly did. I went in hoping that it would be good. However, it wasn’t.

First off, in case you saw this coming, it’s true. This is basically a Harry Potter ripoff with worse production values. The plot is literally almost identical, like Avatar/Dances With Wolves/Pocahontas identical. But I digress. I won’t even go into detail about it, because if you know even the basic plot of Harry Potter, you’ve got Percy Jackson. One of the worst crimes that the film commits is not attempting to disguise that fact.

The acting is hit or miss. The kid who plays Percy, Logan Lerman (who you may recognize as that kid from Hoot and 3:10 to Yuma) does an acceptable job, but like everybody else, the script gives him nothing to work with. The same is true of Brandon T. Jackson, who is a good comedic actor, but has some awful one liners. The line “The health department should come in here and give this place an F!” is played for laughs. Alexandra Daddario is awful, and even though she’s a main character, she has about ten lines.

However, the kids are completely outclassed by the adult actors. This movie is basically an enormous game of “Hey, It’s That Guy!”. “Isn’t that Steve Coogan as Hades? And Pierce Brosnan as a centaur? Sean Bean as Zeus? Rosario Dawson? Catherine Keener? Uma Thurman? Kevin McKidd? Joe Pantoliano? Too bad these great actors are given NOTHING TO DO! Steve Coogan, one of the funniest actors working today, is given 3 minutes of unfunny screentime, before the equally mistreated Rosario Dawson knocks him cold. Pierce Brosnan, while pretty good, is nearly unrecognizable under that enormous beard. Kevin McKidd and Sean Bean are totally wasted. Catherine Keener is basically just reprising her role from Where the Wild Things Are. Joe Pantoliano is there for no other reason except to be an enormous jerk. Although Uma Thurman’s cameo as Medusa caught me off guard. She’s clearly having a ton of fun, and completely hams it up. “ALLLLLLLLLLLL YOU HAVE TO DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…IS LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOK…”

The writing is pretty bad. Only a few lines really work, mostly because Logan Lerman does an excellent job selling them (while Brandon T. Jackson doesn’t try at all). The screenwriter’s previous work consists of Cheaper by the Dozen, Cheaper by the Dozen 2, and an episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, so perhaps this was to be expected. The direction was nothing spectacular. A monkey could have directed this film. The special effects were good…in 1993. Now they look cheap.The editing was amateurish at best. Is there really no other way to end a scene than with a fade out/fade in?

A big problem with the film was its inability to trust its audience. Exposition is laid out clumsily and obviously. Several visuals are shown an unnecessary amount of times. As if we didn’t understand that AOEHNA was supposed to be Greek for ATHENA, not that it was that important anyway, the film shows the letters translating themselves into English. Not only is this trick used several times, but after the word is translated, a character feels the need to READ IT OUT LOUD FOR US.

Overall, this film was forgettable. It wasn’t boring, but it commits the single worst crime that any film can commit. I was aware, at all times, that I was watching a movie. It was not engrossing in the least. This film will be quickly forgotten, and I think that you can forget about a sequel. It doesn’t even feel like a missed opportunity. This film couldn’t ever have been that good. It fell flat on it’s face.

Revenge for a Brit Playing Batman: A Review of “Sherlock Holmes”

This is a very difficult review to write. On one hand, I greatly enjoyed myself. The performances carried the movie, and they were wonderful to behold. Special props to Mark Strong, who stole the show as Lord Blackwood, the film’s villain, but I’ll get to him later. This film seems to have all the elements of what is considered a “good movie”. So why do I feel like it missed the mark?

First of all, let me get this out of the way. The film is surprisingly faithful to the books. Holmes displays much the same character from Conan Doyle’s imagination. The writing for his character reminded me a lot of TV’s Dr. House, but this isn’t too surprising when we remember who inspired House. Jude Law’s turn as Watson was remarkably enjoyable. There was more focus on his character than I expected, and I was pleasantly surprised to see his character and his relationship with Holmes explored more in-depth than previous installments.

The script was imaginative, but somewhat unremarkable. The script was almost secondary to the chemistry between the characters. Holmes and Watson invented the “bromance”, and that is on full display here. Watson has a genuine concern for Holmes’ safety and health, and Holmes is concerned more for their friendship. This makes him out to be the more selfish of the two, and the scenes that stand out for me are the ones where Watson deals with that. I do wish that Holmes’ cocaine addiction had played a larger role in his character, just as I wished that Iron Man had commented more on Tony Stark’s alcoholism.

One problem I had was with the plot. Now, the plot wasn’t BAD, necessarily, but it took a backseat to the characters. It seemed like the plot only showed in certain scenes, but was always in the background, waiting until the end to really show itself. When you see the film as more of a character study, and less as a thriller, it works a lot better.

I won’t comment too much on Robert Downey Jr.’s performance, as the general feeling has already been put forth. He is fantastic, and a whole lot of fun to watch. But the real star of the show, as I mentioned before, is Mark Strong, as the villain Lord Blackwood. He gives the most nuanced villain performance of the year. Rather than just saying his lines in a menacing fashion, he gives facial cues and body movements that really make him more than just an evil plot. (I loved the plot by the way, but I won’t spoil it.)

So, what was my big problem with it? Simple. There wasn’t enough. This is an irresistible film. It pulled me in right off the bat, and kept me there for over 2 hours. And I wish that it was longer. The last 5 minutes of the movie are the first 5 minutes of the sequel, and I am eagerly awaiting it. At the very least, rent it. At the most, see it in theaters! I want a sequel!

And for those of you Britons who complain that American actor Robert Downey Jr. is playing the very British character, just consider it revenge for a Brit playing Batman.

Fridge Logic: A Review of “Avatar”

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.