Somewhere in the not too distant future, mankind has taken to the stars to seek resources on new worlds. One such world, Pandora, is an Earth-like moon in orbit around a large gas giant planet. What sets this world apart is the indigenous culture - a race of 20 foot tall blue humanoids known as the Na'vi. The science team has been handling communications through the use of genetically engineered "Avatars", which the Na'vi refer to as Dreamwalkers. When Jake Sully, a crippled soldier, is given news of his brother's death on Pandora, he is offered the chance to take his place in exchange for surgery to restore the use of his legs. Jake turns out to be a natural fit for the Avatar program and thus sets in motion a chain of events that will eventually decide the fates of everyone on Pandora.

If you're a sci-fi fan of any sort, what better way to end the year than to go and see the movie which will set the bar for science fiction story telling and special effects for years to come. Not only does Avatar have a very deep and well thought out back story, but it is told mainly through the eyes of the Na'vi and Jake's avatar as they interact with each other. Through his eyes, you're presented all of the various deep rooted issues that make up the reasons for why we are currently locked in a stalemate for control of Pandora. Nearly every detail of the alien world is presented in stunning detail, from the Na'vi people themselves, with their blue skin, big green eyes, long tails, and a culture and history all their own, down to the most minuscule details of the plant life and environment. There are a number of encounters Jake has with local wildlife that are presented as he's still mastering control of his avatar, and even though they may not seem important at the time, those encounters turn out to be important details to keep track of later.

There is, as seems customary with 2009 releases, an underlying political message to be sent. I'm probably a bit over tuned to these sorts of things now, because I can see how if you're not really paying that much attention that you'd miss it entirely, aside from the overt environmentalist slant. Yes, the corporation mining the planet is evil and greedy, what corporation isn't at least one of those here? Aside from that and the other issue I won't mention so I don't plant ideas in your mind, everything else fit together properly and the story made sense. The cast is also top notch and did a great job in their roles. It's going to be awfully hard for James Cameron to top this in the future.

So if you're looking for something to cap the year with, this is it. Hands down. The best $10 and 2:40m you'll spend at the movies in 2009.

On the Horizon for 2010

The Book of Eli (Jan) - Yes, it's another post apocalyptic movie, but the last preview I saw for it was interesting enough to keep in mind for later.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (Feb) - Long ass title but the preview actually looked good. Basically the whole "whoa, I'm the son of a God?" plot.

Clash of the Titans (Mar) - Yep. A remake of the 60s or 70s movie of the same name. Maybe older, I don't know. The version I have in mind sucked really bad, but it looks like someone wised up this time around and may have produced something actually worth watching.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (Apr) - Freddy gets a full redo this time around. I'm not usually much on horror flicks, but for some reason I liked this one when it first released.

Iron Man 2 (May) - Yep, sequel time. I think we probably all know more or less what to expect. Hopefully it's at least as good as the first one.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (May) - For those of us old enough to remember, it was a halfway decent time waster of a video game. Well, the preview for this one was top notch quality movie material and is probably going to be well worth the trip.

Toy Story 3 (June) - The first two were great, provided nothing goes tits up here, this should be too.
"It is pointless to resist, my son." -- Darth Vader
"Resistance is futile." -- The Borg
"Mother's coming for me in the dragon ships. I don't like these itchy clothes, but I have to wear them or it frightens the fish." -- Thurindil

Well. I guess that's that then.

« Say Cheese: Making Paintings For Oblivion
Good Bye 2009 »

Posted on Dec 27, 2009 2:06 am by Samson in: | 11 comment(s) [Closed]
I'd heard good things about Avatar, but hadn't realized it was anywhere nearly good enough to get these sorts of raves from you. I guess I'll have to see it as soon as I can now.

The Book of Eli: Haven't heard anything about it yet.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief: Dude, I read this series for my kids. The books were really good but I had no idea they were making a movie out of it. Will definitely have to see this one.

Clash of the Titans: They're remaking this old "classic", could they possibly make it worse than the first time around? I guess it's another must see if only to find out if they got it right this time or actually managed to make it worse than the first time around.

A Nightmare on Elm Street: Again? No thanks.

Iron Man 2: So far it's looking like Hollywood may just have a good year ahead for us...

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time: Surprisingly, I always thought this game would've done better on the big screen than in the arcade, it'll be nice to see if Hollywood can pull it off, though with all the CGI miracles lately they've got plenty of easy solutions available to make something great out of this game series if they really want to.

Toy Story 3: All things considered, I've actually had more than enough of Buzz Lightyear and Cowboy Woody, but maybe it's because I actually have kids of my own and nieces/nephews all in that age range.. either way, can't honestly say I'm looking forward to this one anymore than I looked forward to Home Alone 3, and that one's release was the worst news of the year that year... :(

What can I say? I'm a sucker for really well done sci-fi.

One thing I didn't mention, Avatar is available in 3D. I'm not sure how good or bad the presentation is there, but folks are raving about it. I don't really like the whole 3D movie thing myself, so I was plenty satisfied seeing Avatar in 2D. Word also has it some people ended up nauseous from the 3D version, so I may have done myself a favor there if that means the effect was anything like the reaction I ended up with from Cloverfield.

I didn't say I was planning to go see the Freddy redo, just that it was one of the few horror flicks I actually liked. Most of them are just mindless junk, including the Friday the 13th crapfest.

Yeah, I guess with kids the Toy Story movies take on a whole new level of hell on Earth :P

I think I'd heard about Avatar being available in 3D also, but I'm with you in being glad that they're also running it in 2D. My experience with 3D has not been impressive yet with any movie, though I will say that Spy Kids 3 actually came fairly close... for just the 3-D effect usage.

I suppose when it first came out it was much better than a lot of what its genre usually produces, certainly so in comparison to Jason's bloodfest and pinhead and... but it wasn't enough to get me into the theater the first time so I'm pretty sure it won't get me into one now that money's so tight either.

Well, Toy Story's not quite as bad as the Home Alone series, but Home Alone didn't have the kids going nuts for movie related toys and, thankfully, also didn't have the kids quoting lines from the movie either. ;)

Considering Avatar's done box office topping nearly $300 million domestic in a week, I'd say they knew better than to only go with 3D. Nearly all those tickets were for the 2D. If 3D sales go up, it'll be because people go back for a second viewing to see if it's any better in 3D. If I knew the rough percentage of people getting sick watching, I might just do that myself.

What can I say about Home Alone? Nothing good. The first one stunk bad, thankfully I only ever saw it on satellite. Haven't gone out of my way to watch the other 3 after it, but I have caught bits and pieces.

If it's really all they implied in their marketing (it was advertised within an episode of Bones as well as being advertised to death via Burger King ads plus all the standard movie trailer ads), it might actually be pretty amazing in 3D, but frankly they've got the technology these days to make the 3D so realistic that I could easily see a lot of folks getting motion sickness, and I suspect the majority of would be fans have similar concerns, add to that all our collective past disappointments with 3-D movies and why go pay to see it in 3D while a standard 2D version is also in the theaters?

I really liked the reference to it that was in the movie Dogma:
www.imdb.com said:

Serendipity: I'm responsible for nineteen of the twenty top-grossing films of all time.
Bethany: Nineteen?
Serendipity: Yeah, the one about the kid, by himself in his house, burglars trying to get in and he fights them off? I had nothing to do with that one. Somebody sold their soul to Satan to get the grosses up on that piece of shit.

(Dogma happens to be a great movie if you can keep it all in context - it's meant to be a comedy, it's not really meant to bash gays or anything other than catholicism which is, of course, what it's being a satire of in the first place.)

<-- Loved Home Alone. Of course, it did come out when I was 9, so, you know.

Dogma was indeed a great movie, but then, Kevin Smith, so.

I'm pretty sure if Sarah has anything to say about it, we'll be off to see Avatar at some point.

And, as I was saying to Samson the other night, if there was ever a movie that deserved to be remade with modern effects, it's probably Clash of the Titans.

Home Alone, the original, was released in November of 1990, a week before my 20th birthday.. At the time, I was already a father (single parent on active duty at the time) of a 20 month old... The movie meant absolutely nothing to my child at the time, and was just horrendous to have to sit through for me at the time. *shrug*

You know, according to wikipedia, News Askew, Time Out London, and other sources (mostly pointing to the News Askew interview), it seems that Kevin's been considering making a sequel to Dogma for some time now, but this time around he's going after the Islamics... It's got a LOT of good potential if he can keep up the same level of comedy this time as the first time.

We'll have to try to come up with some money and a babysitter first, but it's looking like we'll also take in Avatar at the theater if we can.

You mean so the mighty Kraken (not to mention all the other monsters) can actually look realistic this time? ;) Personally, I think the actors could stand to be replaced too, this time with folks who can actually.. act... but that's just my thoughts. ;D

Well, if the guy actually does a satire of Islam, I might just go see it if for no other reason than to put money in his pocket. It's about time people stopped treating them as some kind of special case that's illegal to offend. Where's the outrage when someone pees in a cup, tosses a crucifix in, and calls it art? Yet they scream and holler about someone doing a comic strip about Mohamed?

To put it more into perspective, it's one of the main reasons I didn't go see 2012. I found out that they destroyed religious icons with reckless abandon in that movie - except for anything Islamic. The reason? They were scared to offend them. So I kept my $8 for something that had actual value. And you know what? From what I gather the movie did terrible at the box office. Nevermind the fact that it was completely over the top to begin with, but perhaps this whole lets treat the Muslims as though they're too dangerous to poke fun at attitude also had something to do with it.

And yes, previews for Clash of the Titans promise a much more realistic looking Kraken.

Unfortunately, his main reason for not doing the sequel to Dogma in the interview was that he's concerned for the safety of his family if the radical Islamic community were to get upset by his movie. But, to his credit, I don't think he's afraid to offend them, just of what the repercussions might be from the extremists (the ones our government is calling terrorists) when he does.

Well, like I said the first time, I'm not sure I can imagine Hollywood remaking Clash of the Titans and actually making it worse, though I suppose there may well be some folks in Hollywood with enough "talent" to pull that off...

Thanks for the review of Avatar. Never knew what the title meant. Sounds like it might be worth braving a matinee once the kids go back to school.

(You've probably never wondered why I spend so much time on-line, because you're here, too. It's a combination of agrora and agri phobias. I hate empty spaces, but it's worse when they're full. As Les says, I don't go out because of the bugs and the buggers.)

Dogma was great.

*LOL* Nice Sandi. I'd suggest you seek treatment as phobias are unhealthy and irrational fears, by definition, but, in this case, I think you might be onto something.. a bit like the cliche that says just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you. ;)

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