Monday, December 14, 2009

Avatar Not Blowing Everyone Away

Avatar reviews are popping all over the web right now, the majority of them raving and singing praises about James Cameron's long-awaited-years-in-the-making-sci-fi-epic-that-will-change-cinema-forever. But there are also a handful of reviews that are a bit more cautious, and less outright blown-away, usually pointing towards a crappy script as the film's chief failing. So being the annoying contrarian and cynic* that I am (I'm gonna go into the film with low expectations...), here are a few examples of mixed reaction reviews that I've come across to balance out all the positive ones:

9 First Impressions of Avatar - S. T. Vanairsdale's piece for Movieline is the loosest, wittiest one I've read so far weighing up the pros and cons of the film.

Epic Filmmaking, Epically Bad Dialogue - from, David Chen laments the script, which he says he can't describe as "anything but terrible".

Cinematical's Avatar review - well-written, even-handed review by Todd Gilchrist who says "it's neither the worst or best film of the year".

Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips, on his Talking Pictures column, says the first 90 minutes are terrific, and "the other 72 minutes, less and less terrific".

Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gives Avatar a B rating, claiming "as a movie, it all but evaporates as you watch it".

The always-amusing Mike D'Angelo tweeted: "Avatar ('09 Cameron): 51. Pretty evenly divided between engaging and stupid. Cool concept, lame script, some stunning F/X, I still hate 3-D."

Keith Phipps' review on his Celluloid Heroes blog wrote, "It never took me further than James Cameron’s laptop".

It's kind of ironic then that Cameron's toiled so much over the advancement of technology when his writing skills are - if what these reviews are indicating - rudimentary at best. Which is unsurprising I guess, coming from the guy who wrote Titanic. Anywho I'll reserve judgement until I've seen the film...

(*seriously though, I like reading a good take-down, especially if it makes you think twice about the film. And variety is the spice of life and all that jazz...)

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