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:~: Thursday, January 21, 2010 :~:

Regurgitated Plot?

On Monday I went to see Avatar. I didn't see it in 3-d because 1) I'm cheap and 2) we took the kids and they never leave their glasses on (hence why I'm too cheap to pay for a 3-d movie for them). Maybe I missed something spectacular by only seeing it in 2-d -- I don't know -- but I do know this...I wasn't overly impressed.

My biases will show here. I had a hard time getting past the blue skin and the way the female lead hissed like a cat. And I had a REALLY hard time when the hero, human in an avatar body, started hissing like a cat. Huh? Hello...he's still human! I also thought the gung-ho military commander was over-the-top sterotypical (in a bad way) and that his motivations were really (and I mean really) weak. The movie was also way too long and way too predictable. But those were all minor annoyances compared to what really bugged me. No, what really bothered me was that I've watched this movie before.

Carrie Lofty sent me this short synopsis of the movie. I walked out of the theater thinking it reminded me too much of Dance With Wolves. But Carrie hit it spot on...this movie WAS Pocahontas, just done up with special effects.

Okay, I'm a writer. I realize that plots are reworked all the time. I know when you take a story down to its most basic elements, there are really only seven original plots:

Overcoming the monster
Rags to riches
The quest
Voyage and return
Comedy
Tragedy
Rebirth

I also know that all stories--books and movies--are simply variations on these seven original plots. But, come on. James Cameron, the movie god, couldn't give us anything more original than Pocahontas?

My dislikes aside, I guess in a way the success of this movie is really a plus for writers like me. If Avatar were a book, it would be shelved in sci-fi romance. It has all the elements of a single title romance: happy ending, bad guy gets it in the end, world is saved, hero finds true love, heroine teaches hero about what's most important in life. Those are the things *I* write about, and they're the things my fellow romance writers write about. I have a feeling if you asked James Cameron if Avatar is a romance, he'd probably say no, it's a sci-fi thriller. But you and I know the truth. And the next time someone bashes romance around me, I'll ask them if they enjoyed Avatar. Fodder for the romance genre is one thing I have to thank James Cameron for.

Labels: ,

8Comments:

Blogger Emmanuelle said...

Avatar a romance !! yay... Dh is dragging me to the theatre tomorrow to see it. Now I do have something to look farward to ;-)

1:54 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

You'll have to let me know if you like it, Emmanuelle. :)

2:46 PM  
Blogger jacabur1 said...

I have a serious question for you Elisabeth, did you like Titanic? That movie was hyped so long and so hard it made me ill every time saw a movie trailer and then of all people my DH insisted we go to the theatre to see it, all 3 hours of it in one sitting!!! Avatar was indeed pretty much Pocahontas with special effects but it was okay in places despite that and there will be maybe 3 movies in all so yes this particular sci-fi romance will be a hit with audiences for a while. Personally saw it at the movie theatre and will not watch again, but hey that is okay I am more a Terminator type gal anyway!!!


jackie b central texas

3:26 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

He's making more of them?

Oh, now why is that not a surprise.

Jackie - I did actually like Titanic. Which is weird because I don't usually like movies where one character dies. But I think it was because there was a happy ending at the end of her life when she saw Jack again. I saw the movie before the "hype" so I missed out on all that, so perhaps that had something to do with my perception. I do know that movies that get TONS of hype never live up to my expectations. Except Lord of the Rings. Man, that one rocked.

6:18 PM  
Blogger jacabur1 said...

More of the Avatar series is a possibility in an interview Cameron stated would like to make a trilogy along the lines of what George Lucas created when put out Star Wars or something like that. I think maybe 1 of them was plenty (if he would write a book trilogy about it would read it maybe.) I too love love love The Lord Of The Rings movies, read J R Tolkein in middle school almost 35 years ago and am a huge Middle Earth Frodo/Gandalf/Legolas and Aragon fan!

jackie b central texas

6:29 PM  
Blogger Jane said...

My cousin saw the movie and he really enjoyed it especially the corny, sappy parts.

2:13 PM  
Blogger azteclady said...

I'm so very torn on this one...

So much hype makes me doubtful the reality can deliver... and I'm definitely not shelling out ten bucks just to find out (though I prefer to think of myself as frugal rather than cheap :-P )

10:00 AM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Well, Azteclady, everyone I've talked to who saw it in 3-D really loved it. Even people I thought would see through the Pocahontas plot and hate it. So...I guess seeing it in 3-D makes all the difference.

Jane...my brother too. I had a nice little chat with him Sat. night about the movie. My 13 yr old nephew - who also thought it was the BEST movie he's ever seen didn't - look overly thrilled when I informed him it was a total romance. LOL

1:14 PM  

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