Wednesday, January 13, 2010
AvatarAvatar, starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, and Sigourney Weaver, is fabulous!

It amazes me the criticisms that some can concoct about any movie. I don't go to a movie to look for what's wrong with it. I don't expect any movie to be perfect — nothing is. I don't go to a movie to be preached at. I don't go to a movie to hear propaganda. Movies, novels, short stories, stage plays, television shows, all have one main purpose: to entertain. If it entertains me without anything else getting in the way of that, then I like it. Period.

I think critics trump up all sorts of reasons to not just praise movies, novels, short stories, stage plays, television shows, etc, but also to criticise them, because they seem to think that they'd short change their audience with a simple: I loved it. Go see it. Their frequently inflated reviews often serve only to justify their existence and purpose as reviewers.

Yes, I love movies that make me think. I'm not one who generally goes for mindless entertainment, but neither is there anything necessarily wrong with it, either.

One opinion I read faulted the film for being 'superficial' in trying to make several points, thus making its message 'diffuse.' 'It can't seem,' the author said, 'to decide if it is about environmentalism, colonialism, the war on terror, and so on -- phrases like "shock & awe" really throw you out of the movie by jarring you away from the story.' (The bit about 'shock & awe' may have been 'jarring' for the author of this opinion, but it wasn't for me. Many movies and television shows often use current terminology to make their stories easier for the audience to relate to. If the phrases don't fit the story, then, yes, there can be a problem. In this case, however, 'shock & awe' was quite appropriate, I think.)

In my opinion, this movie's message was quite clear, and it was successfully conveyed, too, and without being didactic — a huge plus! There were minor messages included in this visual concert, to be sure, but considering that it was 2½ hours long and that the point of any movie, really, is to entertain and not to educate, I think calling its treatment of those messages — both major and minor — 'superficial' is expecting a bit much. Roger Ebert says, 'It has a flat-out Green and anti-war message' — if you've not seen the movie, I wouldn't recommend following that link — and I agree with him.

In my view, any story — no matter what the medium — if it is handled well, conveys at least two different messages: that of the protagonist and that of the antagonist. As to taking sides, that all depends on point-of-view. Prose — novels and short stories — is, by nature, thoroughly imbued with point-of-view. A point-of-view has to be chosen. It can't be avoided. Movies, however, have more difficulty with point-of-view, as they tend to border more on reportage when compared to prose fiction. Movies are closer to a story viewed by an uninterested observer; their point-of-view is conveyed through actor portrayal (which can be subject to viewer interpretation and so isn't always reliable), through focus on given characters, and, more importantly — because this is the most reliable — through the message conveyed by the resolution of the story conflict. This is might be called an unfair comparison, but I think not. Each storytelling medium has its advantages and disadvantages and there is nothing 'unfair' in pointing them out. It's no more 'unfair' to point out that movies are more like reportage than to point out the disadvantage that prose has in having to rely solely on letters and words to create pictures in a reader's mind. Movies are more effective at that than prose for obvious reasons.

This is criticism of criticism, obviously, because I think too much of it is too damned self-important for it's own good.

This is a good movie. It's entertaining. The feats achieved through its 3D effects are well-worth the additional price you'll pay for the ticket.

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Garrulus' Travels

Canada ::: England ::: France ::: Germany ::: Greece ::: Guam* ::: Ireland ::: Italy ::: Japan ::: Philippines* ::: Portugal ::: Scotland ::: South Vietnam* ::: Spain ::: Thailand ::: Turkey* ::: Wake Island* ::: Wales :::

Greece — countries where I've lived
Portugal — countries I've visited
* — airport layovers

Goals 2010

  • Find a Job
    date hired: —

  • Lose Weight
    GOAL: 150-159 lbs (68,0 – 72,1 kgs)
    current weight: 192 lbs (87,0 kgs)

  • Write 250,000 words
    53,177 | 21.27% compl.

  • Mythology Course
    date started: Mar 31
    date completed: —

  • Read 30-40 books
    — 20-27 must be fiction —
    11 — fiction
    7 — non-fiction
    18 — TOTAL READ

  • Learn Portuguese
    Complete Hugo Portuguese course
    date started: —
    date completed: —
    vocabulary words: —
    verbs: —

  • Life Goals
    goal achieved: —

  • Folding Bicycle
    Dahon JetStream P8
    date purchased: —

  • MacBook Pro
    13" 2.26GHz MacBook Pro
    date purchased: —

  • Manual Typewriter
    Corona Sterling/Silent of 1940s
    date purchased: —

  • 4 x 6 Index Card Cabinet
    date purchased: —

  • Metal Bulletin Board
    8 Umbra 12" x 12" Tiles
    date purchased: —

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